Mississippi State 9, Southeast Missouri State 5
--- by Tom Stephenson
In the opening game of the Starkville Regional, the SE Missouri State Redhawks got out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning, manufacturing a pair of runs as Mississippi State Bulldogs starter Dakota Hudson struggled with his command. Hudson walked two batters in the second inning alone and four in an outing that lasted merely 3.1 innings. Designated hitter Brent Rooker got one of those runs back on a solo homer in the bottom of the second, but SEMO plated two more in the top of the third to extend the lead to 4-1.
Then, after SEMO starter Joey Lucchesi retired the first two batters of the bottom of the third, Bulldogs Nathaniel Lowe and Gavin Collins reached on back-to-back singles before Rooker knocked his second homer of the day, a three-run shot that just barely cleared the centerfield fence at Dudy Noble Field to tie the game at 4. Hudson was pulled for reliever Ryan Rigby after a one-out walk in the fourth, and in a key moment in the game, Rigby worked out of jam in the fourth by inducing a groundout by SEMO cleanup hitter Garrett Gandolfo with two outs and the bases loaded.
The Redhawks would take the lead again, briefly, on a Chris Osborne RBI single in the top of the sixth. However, Mississippi State got a rally started in the bottom of the sixth after Jacob Robson reached on an error. Reid Humphreys and Ryan Gridley followed with singles to score Robson, and then Humphreys scored on a fielder's choice by pinch hitter Hunter Stovall. Stovall would later score on a wild pitch to extend State's lead to 7-5. State would tack on a pair of insurance runs in the eighth on an inside-the-park homer by catcher Jack Kruger, and the Bulldogs won by a final score of 9-5.
Reliever Daniel Brown (4-2) got the win after retiring the final batter of the 6th inning, pitching the final 3.1 innings for the Bulldogs. Mississippi State moves on to face the winner of Cal State Fullerton and Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
Florida 9, Bethune-Cookman 3
--- by Max Wildstein
The one-seeded Florida Gators, who also held the top overall national seed in the tournament, had no problem defeating four-seeded Bethune-Cookman, the winners of the MEAC, in the second game of the Gainesville Regional.
The Gators got off to a hot start in the first inning. After Florida starter Logan Shore set down Bethune-Cookman in order in the top of the first inning, JJ Schwarz worked a two-out walk. After that, Peter Alonso hit a two-run bomb to left field to give the Gators a two-run lead.
However, Florida did not stop there. Dalton Guthrie followed two straight one-out walks with a run-scoring double. A JJ Schwarz ground out to first base made the score 4-0 in favor of the Gators after two innings. Deacon Liput and Nelson Maldonado reached via a hit and an error later, and then Danny Reyes sneaked a ball under the left fielder's glove and ended up with a two-run triple to extend their lead to 6-0 after three innings.
Bethune-Cookman managed to scratch one across in the top of the fourth inning on a single to make it just a five-run deficit, but that did not last long. In the bottom frame, Peter Alonso struck again. With two outs, Alonso hit another moon shot, longer than his first home run in the first inning. This dinger gave the Gators a 7-1 lead over BCU to tighten their bite down on their opponent.
After two scoreless innings , Bethune-Cookman managed to get to Logan Shore in the seventh. After a strike out and a throwing error, Nate Sterijevski hit a deep triple to score Josten Heron from first base. Demetrius Sims singled to right field to score Nate Sterijevski from third base, as Bethune-Cookman hung a two-spot and made it a 7-3 lead for the Gators. However, back-to-back sacrifice flies gave the Gators a 9-3 lead, which would prove to be the final score.
The winning pitcher was the SEC Pitcher of the Year in Shore, who went 6.1 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits, while striking out four and walking two. BCU's Tyler Norris picked up the loss, after he allowed six runs (four earned) on five hits, while striking out two batters and walking three batters, over just 2.2 innings of work.
The Gators will advance to play Connecticut, who narrowed by Georgia Tech earlier Friday.
URI 5, South Carolina 4
--- by Michael Tate
With a balance between good hitting, defense, and pitching this was a serious candidate for game of the day.
The game kicked off with bang in the bottom of the first inning when Gamecocks leadoff hitter Gene Cone hit a solo homer to right field. After doubling to left center, Dom Thompson-Williams advanced to third on a wild pitch and eventually scored on the next at-bat courtesy of a two run homer to right from Alex Destino. The Gamecocks wound end the first inning with a hearty 3-0 over Rhode Island.
After a scoreless second frame from both teams, South Carolina got back on the board. After infielder TJ Hopkins was walked, Thompson-Williams singled to right field advancing Hopkins to third in the process. Third baseman Jonah Bride singled to score Hopkins in the for the inning's lone run.
With the score now 4-0 in favor of South Carolina heading into the top of the fourth inning, Rhode Island needed to respond in a big way and the Rams did just that. Back-to-back homers from Ryan Olmo and Brett McManus to right and left field brought the score to 4-2. Rhode Island continued their comeback with more solid hitting in the fifth. With the bases loaded, McManus hit a single to center scoring Figueroa and Hess, bringing the score to 5-4 in favor of Rhode Island. Thanks to an incredible performance from their bullpen in the final innings of the game the Rams picked up the victory sending South Carolina to the brink.
With the loss, the Gamecocks will now face Duke tomorrow in an elimination game.
LSU 7, Utah Valley 1
-- by Tom Stephenson
After a six-and-a-half-hour rain delay, the LSU Tigers got to work quickly. Leadoff hitter Antoine Duplantis drew a walk, and then the second batter of the game, CF Jake Fraley, took a 3-2 pitch from Utah Valley starter Daniel Beddes deep into the right field bleachers, giving the Tigers a lead they would never relinquish.
Starting pitcher Jared Poche' scattered five hits over six innings, surrendering one run while striking out eight and walking none. The Wolverines' Justin Erlandson delivered the only blow with an RBI double in the top of the second, but LSU struck again in the bottom of the inning, as Beau Jordan drew a leadoff walk, stole second, and then came around to score on a Cole Freeman RBI single. The Tigers took advantage of wildness by Beddes, who walked four batters in a three-inning outing, again in the third, with a Greg Deichmann base hit scoring Kramer Robertson, but trail runner Bryce Jordan got thrown out at home to end the threat.
Robertson would score his second run of the game on a single by Bryce Jordan in the fifth inning. Deichmann completed the scoring in the seventh inning with a two-run homer off relief pitcher Evan Fresquez.
Poche' got the win to improve his record to 8-4. The Tigers advance to play Saturday night against the winner of Rice/Southeastern Louisiana, postponed until Saturday morning due to weather.
Utah 6, Ole Miss 5
--- by Christopher Novak
In an upset of somewhat grandiose proportion, Utah took down the Ole Miss Rebels 6-5 on Friday night.
The Utes faced a 5-2 deficit in the sixth inning after allowing four Rebels runs to cross the plate in the bottom of the fifth. In that ensuing inning, Utah sent nine batters to the plate and scored three runs to tie the game at 5-5. The big blow came by a two-run double by Josh Rose that scored Andre Jackson and Kellen Marruffo.
The game would remain scoreless as both teams didn't flinch for the next three innings. After heading to extras, Hunter Simmons finished up a whale of a day at the plate as he hit an RBI double to score Chandler Anderson. Simmons went 3-for-4 on the day, the beset mark of any hitter in the ball game.
Jayson Rose started the game and was peppered by the Ole Miss offense. He left after six innings of work having allowed five runs, issuing four walks and four hits. Riley Ottesen stepped in for relief and pitched three scoreless innings and struck out four. Dylan Drachler picked up the save after a clean 10th frame with two hits allowed and one strikeout.
Brady Bramlett would exit after five innings, striking out five and omitted three hits and two earned runs. Brady Feigl faced trouble and was tagged for three earned runs in just 0.2 innings, responsible for Utah's big sixth inning. Wyatt Short wound up being on the receiving end of Simmons' eventual game-winning double and was the pitcher of record.
Texas A&M 4, Binghamton 2
--- by Christopher Novak
The Aggies continued to ride their wave of success that was churned up last weekend during the SEC Tournament on Friday night as they picked up a 4-2 victory over Binghamton. Texas A&M moves on in the winner's bracket as a result as they will look to make it to the Super Regionals should they prove to be successful this weekend.
Aggies DH Jonathan Moroney went a perfect 3-for-3 with a walk on Friday night and muscled in two RBI and scored two runs of his own. Moroney went deep in the bottom of the second inning to plate the Aggies' first two runs of the game and provide enough offense to give them a boost. A run was later scored in that inning and a much-needed insurance run would be scored three innings later in the fifth after Austin Homan knocked an RBI single.
Kyle Simonds stood tall for 5.1 innings, allowing just four hits whilst on the mound. Simonds threw five strikeouts, issued just one walk and allowed two runs - one earned - and two HBP. After Andrew Vinson pitched well in relief, Mark Ecker notched the save after a clean ninth inning of work that included a strikeout and a hit allowed.