Florida won a back-and-forth encounter with South Carolina to start the day. The 10th-ranked Gators bested the 18th-ranked Gamecocks 7-5 to move to 27-13 on the year and a 10-8 mark in league play to bring them to within two games of the lead held by the Kentucky Wildcats in the SEC East. In turn, it clinched the series win over the Gamecocks, who fell to 24-15 with their loss to the Gators. Things get desperate now for South Carolina who’ve fallen to 9-9 in SEC play and have a big series looming with aforementioned Kentucky next weekend.
As for the game, as mentioned, it was a volley. LT Tolbert got it started with an RBI double as the second batter of the game to bring in TJ Hopkins. Tolbert would later score after a sac groundout by Carlos Cortes. The Gators would answer two innings later with a run after Christian Hicks GIDP with the bases loaded that scored Ryan Larson. UF tied the game the following inning after Larson hit a sac groundout of his own that plated Deacon Liput.
After South Carolina retook the lead following a Cortes RBI double in the fifth, they padded their lead in the seventh in the form of a two-run home run by Chris Cullen. The Gators then manufactured a rally in the eighth that reached its boiling point four batters in as J.J. Schwarz blasted a grand slam to left. South Carolina was then promptly 1-2-3’d in the top of the ninth.
Following their 15-2 loss on Friday, Arkansas evened their series with Auburn with their 7-3 victory on Saturday. The victory keeps Arkansas’ hot month going as they improve to 11-4 in the 15 games they’ve played in April and 6-4 in the SEC contests they’ve been involved with. Auburn meanwhile seems to have hit a speed bump as they’re 7-6 in the 13 games they’ve played in April and 5-5 in the 10 SEC games they’ve played this month as well.
Auburn figured to be in control after they got out to a 3-0 lead after the first two innings. A sac fly by Daniel Robert and a single by Conor Davis did the damage in the first and then in the second inning, leading hitter Jonah Todd tacked on the third run. That would figure to be the last time Auburn would score all game. A massive three-run third inning from the Razorbacks tied the game up in the very next frame. Luke Bonfield got it started with a sac fly and then Jared Gates tied it up with one swing, socking a two-run homer.
Three innings later in the top of the sixth, the Hogs would continue to manufacture runs. Dominic Fletcher put them ahead on a sac fly and Jax Biggers, the very next batter, padded the lead with an RBI single. The game would stay 5-3 and Auburn would certainly have their chances, but saw all of them turn futile. Arkansas made them pay in the top of the ninth following a throwing error that let Gates reach base safely and scored Jordan McFarland. Three batters later, following another error, Carson Shaddy hit a single that brought Grant Koch home for the seventh and final run.
Cannon Chadwick was the pitcher of record for Arkansas while that honor was bestowed on Auburn’s Andrew Mitchell. Neither starter, Trevor Stephan and Davis Daniel, were given a decision.
Texas A&M got a big 3-1 win over Tennessee and clinched a series win as a result. A&M, 28-12 and 10-7 in the SEC now, stands two games back of Mississippi State and Arkansas in the loss column now after Saturday’s win. Tennessee’s dismal season continues on the flipside, as they’re sitting at 4-13, good for seventh (out of seven) in the SEC East.
(Don’t call me Baron) Corbin Martin dominated on the mound for the Aggies, allowing one run over eight innings of work. Six hits were scattered against him by the Vols batters but only one was good for extra bases (a double by Matt Waldren that also drove in the only run of the game for Tennessee). Martin struck out three and only issued one walk. Mitchell Kilkenny picked up the save after a clean ninth inning of work in which he allowed one hit and racked up a strikeout.
The Aggies offense mustered up one extra base hit (a double by Logan Foster) but were still productive in spots. Three different Aggie batters picked up RBI in the win including Braden Shewmake who nabbed his 44th of the season. Joel Davis and Austin Homan were the others credited with driving in runs in Saturday’s victory.
Ole Miss evened things up with Mizzou following their loss Friday, winning 3-1 over the Tigers. The Rebels improve to 24-15 with the victory and Mizzou, meanwhile, stands at 27-13. The two teams now currently sit with identical 8-9 records in SEC play and sit at sixth and fifth respectively in their divisions.
Ole Miss got the scoring started after a sac groundout by Tim Rowe in the first. They would remain deadlocked at 1-0 for the next four innings before the Rebels tacked on two more in the fifth. After a two-out walk by Tate Blackman, Will Golsan singled and advanced to second to put he and Blackman in scoring position. Colby Bortles would step up and deliver a two-RBI single to thrust their lead up to 3-0. Mizzou would have to wait until the ninth inning to score their only run of the game, which came off a solo home run by Trey Harris.
Ryan Rolison stepped on the mound and pieced together a decent enough outing. His control proved to be an issue, issuing five walks, but mixed in nine strikeouts and only one hit allowed in the six innings he worked. Will Ethridge and Dallas Woolfolk. Tanner Houck took the loss for the Tigers, throwing eight innings while allowing five hits, three earned runs, issuing three walks while striking out seven.
Vanderbilt and Georgia would go on to split a doubleheader on Saturday. The first meeting saw UGA skate away with a 1-0 victory, and the Commodores returned fire with an impressive 10-5 victory. The ‘Dores are now 25-16 on the year after the split, while the ‘Dawgs are exactly the opposite, sitting at 16-25. Vandy didn’t make much headway in the standings as they’re tied with South Carolina now at 9-9 in SEC play, three games back in the loss column to Kentucky and two back of Florida. Georgia, meanwhile, is essentially out of the running, standing with a 5-13 record in SEC play.
The lone run in the first game came off the bat of Cam Shepherd. Shepherd welcomed Commodores reliever Matt Ruppenthal into the game with a solo blast and after a pitcher’s duel nearly went the distance, that was the only run UGA needed to pick up the win. ‘Dawgs hurler Chase Adkins pitched eight strong innings, allowing only two hits, struck out six and issued two walks. Kevin Smith picked up the save with a clean ninth inning and two strikeouts to boot.
The second half of the doubleheader was not as kind to Georgia. Although the Bulldogs jumped out in front early thanks to some #WildPitchOffense, Vandy answered that run with three of their own in the top of the second. Jason Delay singled to tie the game at one and then Connor Kaiser put the ‘Dores in front with a two-run single a batter later.
Fight Georgia would, as the chipped away with a run in the second and then another int he third to tie the game, but again, the Commodores put up a three spot, this time in the fourth. Jeren Kendall walked with the bases loaded, scoring JJ Bleday and then Julian Infante knocked a two-run single to left. Infante came up large again two innings later with an RBI double to bring Kendall home, and Reed Hayes brought Infante in on a single that he failed to stretch to a double.
Georgia would answer for two more runs, but those would be the last they’d score. Insurance, in the form of an Ethan Paul homer and #PassedBallOffense in the ninth would be delivered in the seventh and ninth innings for the ‘Dores.
Today’s Baseball Schedule
|Arkansas vs. Texas A&M||Noon||SEC Network||WatchESPN|
|Kentucky vs. Florida||1 p.m.||SEC Network+||WatchESPN|
|Ole Miss vs. Auburn||2 p.m.||SEC Network+||WatchESPN|
|Alabama vs. Vanderbilt||2 p.m.||SEC Network+||WatchESPN|
|Missouri vs. Tennessee||2 p.m.||SEC Network+||WatchESPN|
|Georgia vs. South Carolina||3 p.m.||SEC Network||WatchESPN|
|LSU vs. Mississippi State||4:30 p.m.||ESPNU||WatchESPN|
After their doubleheader split on Friday, LSU and Kentucky resume play for game #3 on Sunday afternoon. Much of the SEC East will have their eyes on this one as a loss by Kentucky could spur more confidence in the favor of Florida and to a lesser extent South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Missouri who would then be no worse than two games out of first in the loss column.
It would be doubly helpful for LSU to pick up a win as the Bayou Bengals stand two back in the loss column of Mississippi State and are currently tied up with Texas A&M with a 10-7 conference record. They’ve got a reasonable shot to break through that logjam, even if it’s just for the rest of the weekend.
Speaking of, the Aggies look to sweep the Vols and stay on pace with the aforementioned Bayou Bengals. Tennessee is merely just looking to stave off that sweep and play the role of spoiler.
And then, Ole Miss, Missouri, Arkansas and Auburn seek wins in their rubber matchups on Sunday. Arkansas and Auburn’s tilt has pretty heavy circumstances considering they’re separated by a game. If the Tigers win, they become tied for second in the SEC West. Should the Hogs win, that’s a two game lead heading towards the final stretch and, also, puts them in a tie for first place in the West with State. Ole Miss and Mizzou, meanwhile, are playing to get to the .500 mark, pad their resumes and hope to ignite a late-season push. Simple as that.