May 22, 2013
Crystal Logiudice-USA TODAY Sports
The first day of the SEC tournament featured a 17-inning game, two traditional rivals doing battle and two talented teams that slumped down the stretch in Florida and Kentucky being eliminated. So what did the second day of baseball have in store?
With Ole Miss facing Arkansas, LSU taking on Alabama, Vanderbilt taking on Texas A&M and South Carolina facing Mississippi State, the action should only heat up even more on Wednesday. Let's break down each Day 2 game.
Mississippi State Beats South Carolina, 5-3
In one of the best games of the day, Mississippi State came through late to get an impressive 5-3 win over South Carolina.
Mississippi State jumped opposing pitcher Nolan Belcher right away in this matchup. Four singles in the first inning led to two early runs for the Bulldogs. The team could have gotten more, but Derrick Armstrong struck out to leave the bases loaded.
The lead was then extended to 3-0 in the third inning when Brett Pirtle scored on a Demarcus Henderson sacrifice fly. Fortunately for South Carolina, Belcher finally settled down and finished his outing with only the three runs allowed 6.1 innings.
In the fourth inning, the Gamecocks finally got onto the scoreboard thanks to some struggles on the mound from Luis Pollorena. The pitcher walked Max Schrock with the bases loaded and then allowed a two-run single to Brison Celek to tie the game at three runs apiece.
However, Myles Gentry came in and provided one of the best relief outings you will see for a long time. He struck out the next two batters to get out of the inning and then continued an incredible showing for the rest of the game.
Gentry's finished with zero runs and only three hits allowed in 5.2 innings while striking out eight batters. His contributions were a big reason the Bulldogs were able to stay in this game.
While each side had a number of scoring opportunities, no one was able to break the tie until the ninth inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Wes Rea got the clutch single to give Mississippi State the one-run lead. Henderson then added to the lead with a RBI single of his own.
South Carolina could not get anything going in the bottom of the ninth and the Bulldogs held on for the tough victory.
LSU Beats Alabama, 3-0
LSU may have one of the best offenses in the SEC, but it was the team's pitching that led it to a 3-0 victory over Alabama on Wednesday. Cody Glenn was excellent over seven innings, allowing just five hits and no runs while striking out two.
Nick Rumbelow and Chris Cotton finished the job, combining for two scoreless innings in relief. Alabama's Charley Sullivan was the loser after getting knocked around early, though he settled down and pitched eight strong innings, allowing three runs and eight hits while striking out three.
LSU jumped all over Alabama in the bottom of the first. Sean McMullen singled to open the frame but advanced to third after an error in the outfield. He would score on Mark Laird's fielder's choice to the shortstop.
LSU wasn't done. Alex Bregman ripped a double down the left-field line, Mason Katz walked and Bregman scored on Raph Rhymes tapper to the mound after the plate was left uncovered on the throw to first. A Christian Ibarra single then scored Katz, giving LSU an early 3-0 lead.
Alabama never really threatened in this game, failing to advance a runner past second base. The team also finished the game without a single extra-base hit, scattering six singles.
Alex Bregman was excellent for LSU, finishing 3-for-4 with a run.
LSU will now play Arkansas, while Alabama will meet Ole Miss in an elimination game.
Arkansas Beats Ole Miss, 2-1 (10)
If there is a theme developing in this year's SEC tournament, it's strong pitching. Oh, and games reaching extra innings.
Arkansas and Ole Miss didn't stray from those themes.
Barrett Astin was outstanding for Arkansas (eight innings, five hits, one earned run, four strikeouts), Sam Smith and Aaron Greenwood held Arkansas to one run in the first nine innings and the game was ultimately decided on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th, as Arkansas squeaked by Ole Miss, 2-1.
Believe it or not, the scoring started early in this game, with both teams pushing across a run in the first inning. A Stuart Turner single with two outs plated Tanner Mathis in the top of the first for Ole Miss, but Arkansas answered behind a Tyler Spoon RBI single that drove in Matt Vinson in the bottom of the inning.
Arkansas would threaten in the fifth. After back-to-back, two-out singles by Joe Serrano and Vinson, Brian Anderson walked to load the bases. But Smith recovered, fanning Dominic Ficociello to end the threat.
Ole Miss had an excellent opportunity with two outs in the top of the eighth after Jamison stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch, but Will Allen promptly lined out to end the inning.
Arkansas again loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth with two outs, and again Ole Miss escaped danger. It looked as though Eric Fisher was going to drive the winning run up through the middle, but the ball hit Jacob Mahan and ended the threat.
Not surprisingly, the pitching duel would head to extra innings, the second game in a row to do so at this tournament, as Bob Holt of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette noted:
Bob Holt @BobHoltADG
More extra innings at SEC tourney. Arkansas & Ole Miss tied 1-1 going to the 10th after Miss St beat Mizzou 2-1 in 17 innings Tue night.5/22/2013, 5:04:34 PM
Arkansas would continue to threaten, loading the bases with one out in the bottom of the 10th. Mahan promptly struck out, but a wild pitch by Matt Denny would score Anderson and give Arkansas the win.
Arkansas now awaits the winner of the LSU and Alabama contest, while Ole Miss will face the loser of that game.
Texas A&M Beats Vanderbilt, 5-0
No. 1 seeded Vanderbilt (48-7) was shocked on their home field on Wednesday as Texas A&M took them down 5-0 behind the pitching of Parker Ray.
This bounces Vanderbilt to the losers bracket for in this double elimination tournament.
Meanwhile. the Aggies are already 2-0 in their first SEC tournament. After entering this game with a 31-25 record, the Aggies needed a 6-3 win over the Florida on Tuesday simply to advance to the double elimination portion of the tournament.
Ray, the junior right hander, pitched eight scoreless innings allowing just three hits.
As TexAgs.com's Gabe Bock points out, early on, it didn't look like Ray would be so dominant:
TexAgs Radio @TexAgsRadio
Parker Ray has settled down after a shaky first few batters. A&M is also playing great defense & hitting a lot of balls hard. 1-0 A&M. #SEC5/22/2013, 9:57:28 PM
Vanerbilt put two runners on in the first with a single and a hit by pitch. They couldn't drive anyone home, and they didn't get many opportunities after.
The Commodores again had two on in the fifth, but were turned away.
Meanwhile, Texas A&M was getting the big hits that Vanderbilt could not.
Hunter Melton blasted his second home run of this tournament in the second. Then Cole Lankford, who has been on a tear, blasted a leadoff home run in the fourth. In the fifth, Krey Brasten scored off of a Mikey Reynolds double, and in the sixth, Troy Stein added the Aggies third solo home run of the day.
All of that damage came off of starter Walker Buehler, who wound up lasting six innings while surrendering seven hits and four earned runs.
The Aggies added another run in the ninth, as Parker gave way to A.J. Minter and then Jason Lester. The duo closed out the ninth, but not before the Commodores loaded the bases—only like the rest of the game, they couldn't get the big hit.
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