ARKANSAS 8, FLORIDA 2
Arkansas’ attempt at making a second consecutive SEC Tournament Final got a litle closer to becoming a reality on Friday. The Razorbacks soundly defeated the top-seeded Florida Gators 8-2 in Hoover, advancing to the Tournament Semifinals, which will take place on Saturday.
Arkansas drew first blood in the 2nd inning. In the top stanza, Casey Martin drilled a two-run home run to left field that put the Hogs up 2-0. For the next seven stanzas, neither team would be able to tally a run. That changed in the top of the 6th, though. Arkansas got on the board yet again after two RBI singles off the bats of Dominic Fletcher and Jared Gates.
Up 4-0, Arkansas was gaining some confidence. But, Florida finally got on the board as probable Top 10 pick and SEC Player of the Year, Jonathan India homered to give the Gators their first run of the game. They drew closer two innings later, when Austin Langworthy recorded a sacrifice fly that allowed Deacon Liput to score from 3rd.
But it all came unraveled in the ensuing inning. The Razorbacks put up a 4-spot in the top of the 9th inning. And it only took one swing for those four runs to be recorded. Hunter Wilson stepped in and launched a grand slam off Gator pitcher Andrew Baker that broke the game wide open. The deft blow was enough for Matt Cronin to shut the door in the following stanza.
Arkansas will play the winner of Florida-LSU, a losers bracket game set to take place Friday evening in Hoover at approximately 7:30 p.m. ET.
OLE MISS 7, AUBURN 0
Ole Miss is into the semifinals of the SEC Tournament after their 7-0 rout of Auburn on Friday night. The Rebels and Tigers had to deal with a lengthy rain delay but that did not quite the bats from Oxford.
They struck for their first two of their seven runs in the 4th inning when Thomas Dillard parked one over the fence. It was Dillard’s lone hit of the day in his three official at-bats, but it certainly provided a lot of noise. Two innings later, the Rebels tallied two more runs. The first came off a double by Cole Zabowski, which scored the aforementioned Dillard. Then, Tim Rowe, the hero of Thursday’s game, hit a sac groundout which scored the aforementioned Zabowski.
Jacob Adams then ran into one in the seventh inning, as the Rebels 2nd baseman put one over the fence, like Dillard did three innings earlier. But that wasn’t all for the Rebs. Chase Cockrell joined in on the long ball party, as he parked one over the fence too in the 9th. The final run of the day came off the bat of Nick Fortes, whose RBI single brought Ryan Olenek in to score the 7th and last run.
The trio of James McArthur, Max Cioffi and Austin Miller were tremendous on the mound. Auburn batters were stifled and held to just five hits, with only one going for extra bases — a double by Josh Anthony. The Rebel pitchers combined for nine strikeouts and two walks, with McArthur earning six of those nine punchouts and only one of the two walks.