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May 12, 2014

Gamecocks Sweep Series With 2-1 Walk-off Win Over Missouri

COLUMBIA, S.C. –- For the fifth time this season, 11th-ranked South Carolina won in walk-off fashion, defeating Missouri 2-1 on a RBI single by Joey Pankake in the bottom of the ninth to sweep the series on Sunday afternoon at Carolina Stadium. The Gamecocks improve to 39-13 and 16-11 in the SEC while the loss drops Missouri to 20-30 and 6-21 in the league.

Max Schrock opened the bottom of the ninth with a triple to right-center. Missouri elected to intentionally walk Kyle Martin and Grayson Greiner to set up the force play and bring a fifth infielder in to try and get a force at home. Joey Pankake then belted a base hit to center field, scoring Schrock and sealing the victory for South Carolina. Pankake went 2-for-4 to lead the Gamecocks at the plate.

Junior right-hander Cody Mincey worked two scoreless innings to pick up his fifth win of the season and is now 5-0 on the year. Mincey allowed just one hit and struck out one batter. South Carolina starter Wil Crow hurled seven innings, giving up one run on four hits and one walk while striking out four batters. Keaton Steele suffers the loss for the Tigers and falls to 0-8 on the year.

Missouri took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning with a solo homerun off the bat of Dylan Kelly. The Gamecocks tied it up in the fifth inning as Tanner English led off with a base hit, stole second and scored on Patrick Harrington’s RBI single.

“We were very fortunate to get the win,” said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook. “It took great outings from Wil [Crowe] and Cody [Mincey] to keep them [Missouri] at bay, since we had our hands full with Keaton Steele [the Missouri pitcher]. We came into the game with the mind set that we were going to try and score three runs because he [Steele] was not going to give us much and he certainly didn’t. He is as good as there is in this league from a pitching stand point. That is about as well pitched of a game as we have had all year long. That kid will pitch for a long time. It was really neat to see Max [Schrock] step up there in the ninth and place the ball in the gap. He kept his head up running around the bases and he was not satisfied with the double. He saw the [Missouri center fielder] dive for [the ball] and push the ball away from himself which enabled Max to get to third. That changed the outlook of the whole inning with him getting a triple instead of a double. It was still going to be extremely hard to score with the lead off double so it made it a lot easier with the lead off triple. Kudos to Max; it was a great baseball play at a time when we really needed it. Joey was able to stay up there on the slider and got a game winner for us. Obviously it was a big win for us, with all the implications out there in league play, so I am proud of our team. We played clean baseball for the most part all weekend long. We were not that terrific offensively but at the same time you have to tip your hat to Missouri because they have a good pitching staff. We did enough to win and now we have a big week ahead of us.”

The Gamecocks are back in action on Tuesday hosting The Citadel in the final home game of the regular season. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. The game is available on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.” Live video broadcast is available at GamecocksOnline on the All Access Channel.


Rebels Walk Off With Series Win Over Georgia

OXFORD, Miss. -- Auston Bousfield continued his stellar junior campaign, delivering a bases-loaded, walk-off single in the 10th inning as No. 11 Ole Miss (37-15, 17-10 SEC) defeated Georgia (25-25-1, 10-16-1 SEC) by a score of 2-1 to clinch the weekend series.

Bousfield drove in both runs for the Rebels on the afternoon to deliver the game and the series.

Jeremy Massie (4-2) retired the Georgia side in order in the 10th before the Rebels delivered in the home half of the inning for the win. Massie worked the final 3.0 innings, allowing only one hit with four strikeouts as he kept the Bulldogs in check to allow his team the chance for the final rally.

Starter Sam Smith worked 7.0 innings in the start, allowing the one run in the first inning with seven hits and three strikeouts.

Jared Cheek (5-5) took the loss in relief for the Bulldogs, allowing the one run on two hits with three walks in 2.0 innings of work.

“They robbed (Auston) Bousfield earlier with runners on first and second when we let him swing,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “Georgia was terrific defensively all weekend, especially today. I thought we had a good offensive today, even though we only scored a couple runs. I don’t know if there’s a better guy in the country than Auston to come up (in the 10th). He’s not going to strikeout; he can catch up to the fastball and handle the breaking ball.”

With one out on the board in the 10th, pinch hitter Holt Perdzock drew a walk to start the final rally for the Rebels. Errol Robinson delivered his third hit of the afternoon with a single to right, sending Perdzock to third as Robinson advanced to second on the throw to put two men in scoring position with the top of the Ole Miss lineup coming to the plate.

Georgia elected to walk leadoff hitter Braxton Lee to load the bases and bring Bousfield to the plate.

The Bulldogs pulled in the outfield and played with five infielders in an effort to turn the double play, but Bousfield drove the second pitch over the middle of the infield and into center to bring Perdzock home and deliver the win for the Rebels.

Georgia scored in the first inning, plating a run on a sac fly from Daniel Nichols, but would score no more as the Rebels put zeroes on the board the rest of the way.

Ole Miss tied the game in the fifth on an RBI single from Bousfield that brought Dalton Dulin home from third. Dulin struck out to open the inning, but reached as the ball went through the legs of the Georgia catcher to put him on base. He advanced to second on a single through the right side from Robinson and advanced to third on a fielder’s choice from Lee to set up the score on the Bousfield hit.

The Rebels will hit the road for the final week of the regular season with four games, starting Tuesday night at Arkansas State. Ole Miss and the Red Wolves will take the field for a 6:30 p.m. start at Tomlinson Stadium in the final non-conference game of the regular season for the Rebels.

Ole Miss will then close out Southeastern Conference play on the road at Texas A&M with a three-game series that starts on Thursday.



LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Trailing by five runs entering the bottom of the sixth inning, Kentucky plated four runs in the frame, got a game-tying homer from Austin Cousino in the eighth inning and a walk-off single from Ka’ai Tom in the 10th to complete a 6-5 comeback win over Auburn, in the 2014 home finale, on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Kentucky (30-20, 12-15 Southeastern Conference) found itself in a five-run hole after five innings, with the Tigers getting a four-run rally in the second and a run in the fourth. UK then plated four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to get within striking distance, with Cousino’s two-out RBI double plating UK’s fourth run.

With one out in the eighth inning Auburn was using centerfielder Ryan Tella – who in the seventh inning worked out of a bases-loaded, no out jam with three consecutive strikeouts – in relief in his second career pitching appearance. Cousino turned on Tella’s breaking ball with one out in the eighth, belting off the foul pole down the rightfield line for the game-tying blast. It was Cousino’s fourth homer of the year and his first game-tying blast of the year.

Tella’s gutsy outing continued through the ninth inning, his fourth inning of work. UK got a leadoff single in the bottom of the 10th inning from JaVon Shelby, who took second on Cousino’s perfect sacrifice bunt. After a fly out, A.J. Reed – the NCAA leader in homers, slugging and OPS – was intentionally walked for the career-high fourth time in the game.

"Everyone in the stadium knew that A.J. was going to get walked," Tom said. "So I just kept taking deep breaths and stuck to what I do."

Tom pulled the first pitch he saw through the right side, scoring Shelby from third base for the game-winning run.

"I think everyone knew that he was going to walk us off there," Cousino said. "It took - I don't know how many home games we had - until a walk-off. ... Ka’ai's been hitting the ball well and you just kind of knew. I think everyone in the park knew it was over once they walked A.J."

The Wildcats were led at the plate by Cousino, who went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI. Thomas Bernal also went 2-for-4 with a walk. UK got the four-walk game from Reed, with seniors Micheal Thomas and Matt Reida each drawing key walks. Tom, Kuhn, Shelby and Storm Wilson each added hits.

UK’s win was its first walk-off win of the year and its third extra-inning game of the season. UK last played extra innings on March 15 in the rubber match at Alabama to open SEC play.

"To be able to be down five going into the bottom of the sixth, we come back and chip away and then leave some base runners on there in the seventh, I believe it was," UK head coach Gary Henderson said. "That showed some real resilience from our kids. Really proud of them."

The win for Kentucky marks its 30th of the year, with UK winning 30 or more games in three consecutive seasons for the first time since a record four straight seasons from 1991-94. UK has won 30 or more games 16 times in program history, with four coming under the direction of UK head coach Gary Henderson.

UK sophomore starter Dylan Dwyer allowed three hits and four runs in two innings, walking three and striking out one. Sophomore Kyle Cody came on to start the third inning, working three innings, allowing four hits and one run, walking two and striking out one. Sam Mahar took over with a runner on in the sixth, retiring all five hitters he faced in 1.2 innings, striking out one. With two outs in the seventh, Andrew Nelson came on in relief. Nelson worked a shutout inning, allowing a hit and striking out one. Logan Salow came on to get the final out in the eighth, inducing a groundout to escape the frame.

UK then turned to Spencer Jack to start the ninth in a tie game. Jack (3-1) turned in a clutch outing, working two shutout innings, including wiggling out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the top of the ninth inning, getting a key strikeout and a grounder to end the threat.

"I think just getting ahead of batters, just forcing them to put it in play because we got a good defense behind us," Jack said. "If we can just pound the strike zone, we're pretty confident that we're going to come out with the W. The way we won it was huge because we definitely needed a boost of morale. For us to put up a ton of zeroes and answer back at the same time, it's exactly what we needed."

All told, UK’s bullpen worked the final eight innings in the game, allowing only one run. It marked the second straight start that UK’s starting pitcher didn’t make it past two innings, as UK used the combination of Ryne Combs, Taylor Martin and Zack Brown to toss the final seven innings on Saturday, allowing just one earned run.

Auburn (27-25, 10-17 SEC) starter Keegan Thompson – the preseason Baseball America SEC Freshman of the Year – tossed a strong start for the Tigers, a day after Dillon Ortman improved to 9-3 with seven one-run innings. Thompson worked five shutout innings, allowing just three hits and three walks, striking out seven. Jay Wade took over with two runners on the sixth inning, allowing a pair of runs. Trey Cochran-Gill worked one inning, allowing two hits and a walk, loading the bases with no outs in the seventh. Auburn then turned to its centerfielder, Ryan Tella, who struck out the side in his second career pitching appearance.

"When your only scouting report is the eight warm-up pitches that the guy takes, that's a little bit different than what we're usually working with," Henderson said.

Tella (0-1) suffered the loss despite dazzling on the mound, allowing two runs on three hits in 3.2 innings, walking three and striking out five, the most strikeouts for an Auburn reliever in 2014.

Kentucky will return to action on Tuesday, traveling to Paducah, Ky., to face off with Murray State at 7 p.m. ET at Brooks Stadium.

"Well, it was a big win, that's for sure," Cousino said. "Everybody knew coming in that we needed to win this one. Now that's it's over, we're looking forward. Obviously a huge series win, but now we gotta go down to Paducah and beat Murray and finish this thing up."

Auburn took a lead in the top of the second inning, as Damek Tomscha singled through the left side and Ryan Tella drew a walk. Jordan Ebert then walked, despite trying to lay down a sacrifice bunt, to load the bases for Thompson. Thompson hit a hard liner off the lip of the infield grass on the right side, with Shelby making a diving play to snag the ball but attempted to get the runner at second, who was safe, allowing Tomscha to score. Dan Glevenyak then hit into a fielder’s choice, beating out the back end of the double play, allowing Tella to score. After a pop up, Anfernee Grier singled down the leftfield line, scoring Ebert and Glevenyak for a four-run lead.

The Tigers added a run in the fourth on a leadoff single from Ryan Tella and a two-out double from Glevenyak.

UK got on the board in the sixth inning, chasing Thompson from the game and cutting it to 5-4. Tom led off the inning getting plunked by a pitch, taking third on Bernal’s double to leftfield. After Wilson was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Thomas drew a full-count walk to force in UK’s first run of the game. Reida then chopped a grounder up the middle, with it going as an error to allow Bernal to score. Shelby then hit into a double play, with Wilson coming around to score on the grounder. Cousino then delivered a two-out, RBI double down the leftfield line, scoring Thomas.

Cousino evened up the game in the eighth inning with his solo homer, the fourth of the year for the UK preseason All-America centerfielder.

"(Brad) Bohannon actually talked to me right before that and said, 'Why don't you get back to slapping some stuff up the middle?' " Cousino said. "I was like, 'Nah, we're going to get one out here. I haven't hit one in a while.' I told A.J. I was going to get one today."


Tenth-inning Heroics Give A&M 6-5 Win at Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas -– The Texas A&M Aggies used 10th-inning heroics at the plate and on the mound to stave off the series sweep in a 6-5 win against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Baum Stadium on Sunday.

Logan Nottebrok offered up the game-winning hit in the top of the 10th. Nottebrok launched the second pitch from Arkansas closer Michael Gunn over the fence in leftfield to break the 5-5 tie. A&M came close to adding two more runs but Razorbacks rightfielder Tyler Spoon made a diving catch in the right-center gap to rob Ryne Birk of an extra-base hit and two RBI.

AJ Minter provided the heroics on the mound in the home half of the 10th. With Andrew Vinson dealing for the Aggies, Michael Bernal drew a five-pitch walk. Clark Eagan squared to bunt, but was awarded first base on a hit-by-pitch despite fouling the ball off. Joe Serrano drew a five-pitch walk to fill the bags with pork products and no outs. Minter came in from the bullpen and got Andrew Benintendi to swing-and-miss at a 2-2 offering and caught Brian Anderson looking at a 1-2 strike for the second out. Eric Fisher worked the count to 3-2 but hit a lazy fly ball to Krey Bratsen in centerfield for the final out of the game.

Trailing 4-3 in the top of the ninth, the Aggies pulled the game from the jaws of defeat with a pair of runs. Bratsen was hit by a pitch to start the frame and replaced at first when Blake Allemand bounced into a fielder’s choice at second base. After Ryne Birk popped up to first for the second out of the inning, Cole Lankford belted a single to rightfield. Nick Banks drilled a 1-0 offering to leftfield, scoring Allemand with the equalizer and Lankford came around to score the go-ahead run when Joe Serrano misplayed the ball in leftfield to give A&M a 5-4 advantage.

Texas A&M (31-21, 13-14 SEC) was unable to seal the deal in the bottom of the ninth. Benintendi reached base on a fielding error at second by Birk. Anderson followed by threading a single through the left side of the infield. Fisher put down a sacrifice bunt to push both runners into scoring position.

The Aggies drew first blood in the top of the fourth. With one out, Jonathan Moroney worked an eight-pitch walk and Logan Nottebrok followed by threading a double down the leftfield line to put two runners in scoring position. Troy Stein was issued a walk on five pitches to load the bases. Jace Statum hit a grounder to short that was too slow to turn the double play, scoring Moroney with the first run of the game. With runners on the corners, Razorback starter Dominic Taccolini uncorked a wild pitch, scoring Nottebrok. Statum moved to second on the wild pitch and came across to score when Blake Allemand drove a single up the middle to stake A&M to a 3-0 advantage.

Arkansas (32-21, 13-14 SEC) responded with a run in the home half of the fourth to cut the Aggie lead to 3-1. Benintendi bounced a single up the middle to start the frame. Brian Anderson snaked a single through the left side of the infield and Fisher hit a deep fly out to rightfield on Parker Ray’s 11th offering of the at-bat to put runners on the corners. Tyler Spoon was issued a base on balls on six pitches to load the bases. The Razorbacks got on the scoreboard when Bobby Wernes hit a chopper back to the mound that was too high to retire Benintendi at home or turn the double play.

The Razorbacks tied the game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out, Spoon and Wernes pounded back-to-back singles to the same spot in rightfield. Spoon was retired at third for the second out of the inning when Jake Wise grounded to short for a fielder’s choice. Ray got ahead of Bernal 1-2, but the Arkansas shortstop fouled off the fourth pitch and roped the fifth offering into rightfield for an RBI single. With Ty Schlottmann on to work in relief, Eagan laced a single through the left side of the infield to plate Wise, knotting the game at 3-3.

Arkansas took the lead in the seventh when Anderson deposited a one-out double down the leftfield line and scored on a single to centerfield by Fisher for the 4-3 advantage.

Neither starter figured in the final decision. Ray allowed three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five in 5.2 innings for A&M. Taccolini allowed three runs on three hits and three walks while striking out three over 3.2 innings of work for Arkansas.

Vinson (3-2) earned the win in relief. He allowed one unearned run on two hits and three walks while striking out one in 2.0 innings. Minter retired all three batters he faced in the ninth, including two strikeouts to earn his first career save.

Nottebrok dined on swine, going 3-for-4 with one double, one home run, two runs and one RBI to lead the Aggie attack.

Anderson paced Arkansas, going 3-for-6 with one run and one double. Eagan went 2-for-4 with one hit-by-pitch, one double and one RBI. Bernal was also 2-for-4 with

Arkansas tallied a walk-off win on Friday, 3-2, and used a four-run eighth to win, 7-3, on Saturday.

The Aggies return to action on Tuesday when they host the Sam Houston State Bearkats in a 6:35 pm contest on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.


MSU Wins Final Game of SEC Series with Tennesse

STARKVILLE, Miss. –- Mississippi State recorded its second walk-off win in as many days Sunday afternoon as the Bulldogs beat the Tennessee Volunteers 4-3 in 12 innings on Mother’s Day at Dudy Noble Field.

In the 12th inning, the Bulldogs loaded the bases with no outs but were not assured victory until Cody Brown drew a two-out walk on a 3-1 pitch. MSU beat Tennessee in extra innings twice in the series, similar to the 2012 series here where the Bulldogs swept the series and won twice in extra innings.

MSU improved to 6-0 in extra-inning games this season. The Bulldogs enter the final weekend of the regular season in sole possession of second place in the Southeastern Conference Western Division standings. MSU is 33-19 overall and 16-11 in league play, while Tennessee is now 29-20 and 11-16. The Bulldogs have won six of nine conference series this season.

“It’s all about finding a way on a Sunday in this league,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “The final game of a series comes down to the little things. We had our chances. Fortunately, we were able to take advantage of one of them there at the end.”

The story of the series finale may have been the relief pitching performance of Lucas Laster and Jacob Lindgren (4-1). The duo combined for 11 innings of six-hit shutout relief. For the series, the MSU bullpen threw 20.1 innings of scoreless relief.

Tennessee finished with seven runs in 31 innings of play. The Volunteers only scored in three frames. Tennessee hit .171 with three extra-base hits for the series.

“Lucas and Lingo were both great today,” Cohen said. “They really attacked the zone and challenged hitters. If we have one inning back from this series, it’s a totally different weekend.”

Tennessee touched MSU starter Preston Brown for three runs in one-plus innings of work.

Down 2-0, the Bulldogs scored in the first inning on a Gavin Collins RBI-single. The Maroon and White kept battling before touching UT starter Andy Cox in the sixth inning. Cody Walker drew a walk to start the sixth inning. Two outs later, Wes Rea hit his fourth home run of the season to tie the contest.

In the 11th inning, pinch hitter Daniel Garner ripped a two-out double for the Bulldogs. A wild pitch got Garner to third base but he was stranded there.

An inning later, UT’s first error of the inning opened the door for the Bulldogs. After Demarcus Henderson reached on that error, UT botched a bunt attempt by Cody Brown. An intentional walk to Seth Heck loaded the bases. After a fly out and ground out, the walk to Walker ended the contest.

MSU finished with seven hits and no multiple hitters.

UT finished with nine hits, including multi-hit games by Will Maddox, Christin Stewart and Taylor Smart. Andrew Lee (4-3) picked up the loss in 3.2 innings of relief.

MSU closes the regular season this weekend at Alabama. The Bulldogs and Crimson Tide meet at 6:35 p.m. Thursday, 6:05 p.m. Friday (CBS Sports Network) and 3:05 p.m. Saturday (Comcast Sports Southeast).



BATON ROUGE, La. -– Sunday’s LSU-Alabama baseball game has been cancelled due to rain and lightning in the Baton Rouge area. There will be no make-up game scheduled to replace the cancelled game.

The Tigers (36-14-1, 14-11-1 SEC) will play their final regular-season home game at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when the Tigers play host to Northwestern State at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

LSU concludes the regular season with a three-game SEC series at Auburn beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday night.

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