SEC Baseball Tournament action began Tuesday morning! Let’s break down what’s happened thus far.
Florida 4, Kentucky 1
Florida shuffled past Kentucky in the SEC Tournament opener. The Gators won 4-1 over the Wildcats, struck early, and didn’t look back. Jacob Young launched a home run to left that got the party started. That was followed by an RBI single by Sterlin Thompson, which scored the Gator leader in hitting, Nathan Hickey (.307).
Kentucky plated a run in the top of the fifth, but the Gators tacked on two more in the bottom of the fifth. That would effectively be the end of the scoring, as neither team plated anything else the rest of the way. Tommy Mace pitched five innings, struck out eight batters, and allowed just one walk along with one run.
Alabama 9, South Carolina 3
Alabama romped South Carolina in the second game of the SEC Tournament. Alabama won 9-3 in the first-round matchup with the Gamecocks, sending the 7-seed home early. They doused six runs on them on the third inning, off a double, a single, and a three-run homer. They would later add two runs the next inning, and their final run came in the sixth.
Peyton Wilson went 3-for-5 out of the leadoff spot, with two doubles, two runs scored, and one RBI. Jackson Tate clobbered the aforementioned three-run homer, his lone hit of the afternoon.
Georgia 4, LSU 1
Georgia defeated LSU in Game 3 of the SEC Baseball Tournament. The Dawgs faced an early 1-0 deficit, this after a double play that led to an LSU run going on the board. Georgia took control in the bottom stanza, however. Riley King reached on a fielder’s choice, which scored Ben Anderson. Then, Chaney Rogers smoked a double that cleared the bases to prop them up 4-1. The score would remain the same the rest of the way, thanks in large because of Georgia’s pitching. The Dawgs recorded 12 total strikeouts to two walks, along with seven hits scattered about.
Ole Miss 7, Auburn 4
Ole Miss opened up shop with a 7-4 win on Tuesday night over Auburn. The Rebels jumped out to a 5-1 lead within the first three innings of the game. Auburn would make it interesting, cutting the deficit to 5-4 in the second. But two runs from the Rebels extended the lead and Auburn couldn’t wrestle themselves closer after that.
Ryan Bliss’ homer led to Auburn going up 1-0 in the first, but the game would then be tied in the bottom stanza. Justin Bench reached on a throwing error, and that error allowed for TJ McCants to come around the score. Bench would homer in the third inning to give Ole Miss the lead, and it would be one they wouldn’t relinquish. Hayden Dunhurst hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 7th, an insurance blast that would in turn aid Ole Miss to victory.
Florida 13, Mississippi State 1
Florida began the day with a run-rule romp of Mississippi State.
The Gators scored in each of the first three innings, with their run total swelling each time. They scored one run in the first, three in the second, and then put up a five-spot in the third. They would later cap the game off with a four-run seventh inning and shut State down in the bottom stanza for good.
The Gators did all this with only one home run. Sterlin Thompson hit a solo shot in the top of the third inning. Runs were otherwise scored on a wild pitch, sacrifice flies, three singles, and two doubles. Talk about some diversification.
Hunter Barco held it down on the mound. The Gator hurler tossed seven innings of four-hit ball, allowed just one run, and had two strikeouts with no walks.
Alabama 3, Tennessee 2 (F/11 inn.)
Alabama bested Tennessee in a lengthy, 11-inning matchup that continued play at the SEC Tournament.
In the early goings, Alabama held a 2-0 lead. Those runs were driven in by Jackson Tate, who hit a sac-groundout in the second and drew a bases-loaded walk in the sixth. Tennessee responded though finally in the bottom of the seventh. They scored two runs off two RBI singles by Connor Pavolony and Liam Spence.
In the ninth inning though, Tennessee appeared to be on the cusp of winning. But Max Ferguson was ruled to have interfered with Peyton Wilson on his slide into second base, resulting in a double-play to end the inning. It was an interesting call and one that would turn the tide of the game. That’s because, in the top of the 11th, Owen Diodati smacked an RBI single that drove in the game-winning run for ‘Bama.
Arkansas 11, Georgia 2
Arkansas took it to Georgia, defeating the Bulldogs 11-2 on Wednesday evening.
Arkansas’ onslaught began early, as they put six runs on the board in the second inning. They would add four more over the course of the next three, giving them a 10-0 lead from the jump. Georgia finally answered in the seventh, but by then it was just far too late.
Casey Optiz and Cullen Smith each had multi-hit games on the night. Believe it or not, in this blowout win, they were the only two players to record more than one hit. They collected seven on the night, and their pitchers recorded 15 strikeouts. Lael Lockhart was responsible for 11 of those 15 Ks on the day.
Vanderbilt 5, Ole Miss 4
Vanderbilt clipped Ole Miss for a walk-off victory in the final game of Wednesday play in the SEC Tournament.
Vandy trailed 4-3 heading into the last and final stanza of the game. But thanks to two singles by Isaiah Thomas and Dominic Keegan, the Commodores hopped over the Rebels and into the win column.
The dramatic victory upstaged a 2-home run performance by Ole Miss’ Tim Elko. Elko went deep in the sixth and the eighth innings and seemed to set the stage for a Rebel win. Unfortunately, fate was not on his side, as it was not meant to be.
Tennessee 12, Mississippi State 2
Tennessee whooped Mississippi State around and won 12-2 in a blowout victory.
The Vols got on the board with four runs in the second inning. Three of them came off the bat of Pete Derkay, who smacked a home run to right-centerfield. Later, in the fourth, Jordan Beck hit a solo home run to put another run on the board. The Vols then went for two in the fifth, one in the sixth, and four in the eighth. They were in control from the get-go, and State had an issue creating any sort of tangible noise.
Six Vols had at least two hits on the day. Beck, Derkay, Drew Gilbert, and Connor Pavolony all had two-hit days, while Liam Spence and Max Ferguson recorded three-hit efforts. Rowdey Jordan and Scotty Debrule each had multi-hit performances in the losing effort. The loss for State eliminated them from the SEC Tournament.
Ole Miss 4, Georgia 0
Ole Miss rebounded from their climactic loss on Wednesday with a shutout win on Thursday.
The Rebels defeated Georgia 4-0 and eliminated them from the SEC Tournament in the process. The Dawgs’ shutout loss was their second straight, having been burned 11-2 by Arkansas the previous day.
Kevin Graham got the party started with a solo home run in the second inning. Jacob Gonzalez followed that up with two RBI singles coming in the third and fifth innings. FInally, Peyton Chatagnier tacked on another run in the fifth with his RBI single.
Drew McDaniel dazzled on the mound, allowing just four hits over 6.2 innings. He struck out 11 batters, issued only two walks, and was just plain dominant, not allowing a single extra-base hit.
Florida 7, Alabama 2
The Gators kept rolling along Thursday, picking up the 7-2 victory for their second win of the weekend. The game featured great pitching for the first few innings, as it was 0-0 until Nathan Hickey got Florida on the board with a solo home run in the sixth. That really broke the dam for Florida, as the Gators would score six more runs in the next two innings to take a 7-0 lead into the ninth.
Alabama would tack on a pair of runs, but the deficit proved too tall for the Tide.
Franco Aleman pitched seven shutout innings for the Gators, striking out four and allowing five hits. Dylan Smith went seven innings for Alabama, as well. Smith allowed four runs and nine hits.
Arkansas 6, Vanderbilt 4
The Razorbacks got the best of Kumar Rocker and the ‘Dores to close out Thursday’s action, as Arkansas tagged Rocker for five runs in just 3.1 innings pitched. Rocker struggled with command, walking four and hitting Matt Goodheart with a pitch with the bases loaded to tie the game at two in the second.
Goodheart’s next at-bat would be even more prosperous for the Razorbacks, as his two-RBI double put Arkansas up 4-2, a lead they would never squander en route to the victory.