Saturday recaps: Arkansas and South Carolina post series wins; Ole Miss 6-0 in SEC play

 Barry Allen   in Baseball

Arkansas and South Carolina posted impressive series-clinching wins on Saturday. Ole Miss collected its second straight sweep to start 6-0 in SEC play for the first time since 1969. Kentucky swept Auburn on the Plains for the first time since 1992. Tennessee left fielder Evan Russell tied the program record with three home runs in the game with LSU.

TEAM OF THE DAY:

Arkansas and South Carolina both made statements on Saturday with impressive series-clinching wins. Arkansas belted four home runs in an 11-5 come-from-behind win at Miss. State. The Razorbacks have taken the first two games in the series and have belted eight home runs. Centerfielder Christian Franklin has been the offensive catalyst this weekend, going 4-for-9 (.444) with three home runs and five RBIs. He also has four runs scored and one double in the series. South Carolina has won the first two games of the series with Florida posting its first series win over the Gators since 2011. Designated hitter Wes Clarke belted a three-run home in the fifth inning to give the Gamecocks the lead. Brannon Jordan and Brett Kerry combined for 12 strikeouts on the mound.

PLAYER OF THE DAY:

Ole Miss third baseman Tim Elko had four hits and five RBIs in leading the Rebels to an 11-6 win over Alabama to complete the three-game sweep. Elko went 4-for-5 with one double, one home run and five RBIs in the win. He put the Rebels on the board with a bases-loaded double in the fifth inning. He scored two pitches later from second base on a wild pitch. Elko smacked a two-run home run in the eighth inning.

Tennessee left fielder Evan Russell belted three home runs to tie the Vols single-game record against LSU. The game was suspended due to weather in the top of the ninth inning and resume today at 12:30 p.m. (ET). Russell, batting from the ninth spot in the batting order, homered in his first three at-bats against the Tigers. He hit a two-run homer in the third inning and fifth inning and added a solo homer in the sixth. He struck out to end the eighth inning and then the game was suspended. Russell tied the UT single-game home run record held by Rusty Ensor (vs. Vanderbilt, 1981), Alan Cockrell (vs. Austin Peay, 1983), Todd Helton (vs. Arkansas, 1995) and Cody Hahn (vs. Ohio, 2009). On a side note, Ensor was the analyst for the ESPN+ telecast on Saturday night.

PITCHER OF THE DAY:

Arkansas right-hander Kevin Kopps gave the Razorbacks another outstanding performance out the bullpen against Mississippi State. Kopps worked four scoreless innings and struck out seven batters for his second save of the season. The Razorbacks bullpen has outshined the MSU bullpen in the first two games. Arkansas relievers have allowed two runs and five hits in 8 2/3 innings with 11 strikeouts and one walk. MSU relievers have surrendered nine runs and 12 hits in nine innings with 15 strikeouts and six walks.

SATURDAY RECAPS:

Arkansas 11, Miss. State 5

Records: Arkansas (18-3, 4-1 SEC); Mississippi State (17-6, 2-3 SEC)

Series: Arkansas leads series, 2-0

Streaks: Arkansas 6-game winning streak; MSU 3-game SEC losing streak

Arkansas made another statement on Saturday.

Trailing 3-0 after the first inning, Arkansas stormed back for an 11-5 series-clinching win over Mississippi State.

For the second day in a row, Arkansas belted four home runs. Left fielder Braydon Webb and Franklin both homered in the four-run fifth inning. Webb hit a one-out solo home run and Franklin blasted a three-home run to put the Razorbacks up 5-4.

Third baseman Cullen Smith and designated hitter Matt Goodheart both homered in the three-run sixth inning. Smith’s solo home run snapped a 5-5 tie and Goodheart’s two-run home run extended the lead to 8-5.  

The Razorbacks have scored 19 runs and collected 23 hits in the two games against one of the top pitching staffs in the nation. Arkansas has slugged eight home runs in the two games at Dudy Noble Field. MSU had allowed only 12 home runs in its first 21 games.

Miss. State got home run from right fielder Tanner Allen and third baseman Kamren James.

South Carolina 4, Florida 1 (Columbia)

Records: Florida (16-5, 3-1 SEC); South Carolina (14-6, 2-2 SEC)

Series: South Carolina leads series, 1-0

South Carolina finally got the monkey off its back on Saturday.

Or this case, the Gators.

For the first time since 2011, South Carolina has won a series against the Florida Gators. It was also the Gamecocks first series win over the Gators in Columbia since 2008.

Clarke belted an opposite field three-run home run in the fifth inning to lead the Gamecocks a 4-1 series-clinching win. It was his NCAA-leading 12th home run of the season. Clarke was 0-for-15 with eight strikeouts in SEC play prior to the home run.

Jordan and Kerry made the three-run homer run hold up on the mound, Jordan worked seven innings and limited the Gators to one run and five hits with nine strikeouts and one walk. Kerry retired all six batters and struck out three for his second save.

Florida designated hitter Kris Armstrong had two hits, including an RBI double in the second inning.

UF starting pitcher Jack Leftwich suffered the loss. He hit six batters in 4 2/3 innings. The six HBPs fell one shy of the NCAA single-game record.

Ole Miss 11, Alabama 6 (Tuscaloosa)

Records: Ole Miss (18-4, 6-0 SEC); Alabama (15-9, 1-5 SEC)

Series: Ole Miss won series, 3-0

Streaks: Ole Miss 7-game winning streak; Alabama 6-game losing streak

Ole Miss turned back the clock several time this weekend in Tuscaloosa.

The Rebels completed a three-game sweep with an 11-6 win over Alabama.

Ole Miss is 6-0 in SEC play for the first time since 1969. The Rebels are the first SEC team to start 6-0 in league play since South Carolina in 2016. Ole Miss notched its first SEC road sweep since 2014. The Rebels swept Alabama in Tuscaloosa for the first time since 1972.

Elko sparked the offense, going 4-for-5 with one double, one home run and five RBIs. He put the Rebels on the board with a bases-loaded double in the fifth inning. He scored two pitches later from second base on a wild pitch. Elko smacked a two-run home run in the eighth inning.

Alabama second baseman Peyton Wilson continued his torrid hitting, going 4-for-5 including a solo home run in the ninth inning. Wilson went 9-for-14 (.643) with three runs scored, two doubles, two home runs and four RBIs in the series.

Alabama left fielder TJ Reeves returned to the lineup this weekend. Reeves has missed time this season with a hamstring injury and broken bone in hand. He smacked a two-run home run on Saturday.

Vanderbilt 11, Missouri 3

Records: Vanderbilt (19-3, 5-1 SEC); Missouri (8-15, 1-5 SEC)

Series: Vanderbilt won series, 3-0

Streaks: Vanderbilt 4-game winning streak; Mizzou 3-game losing streak

Vanderbilt completed a three-game sweep with a 3-1 win at Missouri.

The Commodores battled from behind after Missouri jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. The Commodores scored two runs in the sixth before adding one more in the ninth to put the game away and claim their 12th consecutive road win in SEC play – a streak that dates back to 2019.

Vandy first baseman Dominic Keegan accounted for two of the three runs in the win. He gave the Commodores a 2-1 lead with an RBI ground out in the sixth inning. Keegan doubled and scored on second baseman Parker Noland’s RBI single in the ninth.

Thomas Schultz, Nick Maldonado and Luke Murphy held the Mizzou bats in check. Schultz allowed one run and five hits in five innings for the win.  Maldonado tossed three scoreless innings and struck out four. Murphy notched his fourth save with a scoreless ninth inning.

Missouri second baseman Tre Morris had an RBI single in the second inning to account for the Tigers lone run.

Texas A&M 7, Georgia 6 College Station)

Records: Georgia (15-7, 1-4 SEC); Texas A&M (17-8, 2-3 SEC)

Series: Texas A&M leads series, 2-0

Texas A&M scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to post a 7-6 series-clinching win over Georgia.

The Aggies second baseman Ty Coleman delivered the walk-off single to score pinch-runner Brett Minnich with the winning run. Designated hitter Will Frizzell tied the game with an RBI double in the ninth.

Georgia lead 5-0 in the second inning, but the Aggies battled back to tie the game. Georgia took a 6-5 lead in the eighth inning when Parks Harber drew a bases-loaded walk.

Coleman finished with two hits and two RBIs for the Aggies, including a solo home run in the second inning.

Georgia second baseman Josh McAllister went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs. He gave the Bulldogs a 5-0 lead with a three-run homer in the second inning.

Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin missed is sixth straight game due to Covid-19 protocols. Associate head coach Scott Daeley is serving as the acting head coach in Stricklin’s absence.

Kentucky 7, Auburn 6 (Game 1)

Kentucky 6, Auburn 4 Game 2) (Auburn)

Records: Kentucky (17-4, 5-1 SEC); Auburn (11-11, 0-6 SEC)

Series: Kentucky won series, 3-0

Streaks: UK has 4-game winning streak; Auburn 6-game SEC losing streak

Kentucky posted its first SEC road sweep since 2017 with a three-game sweep at Auburn. 

The Wildcats posted two wins on Saturday, 7-6 and 6-4.  UK is 5-1 in SEC play for the first time since 2017.

Kentucky never trailed in the series on the Plains and completed its first SEC road sweep since 2017 at Texas A&M.

Kentucky picked up its first series win at Auburn since 1994 and notched its first sweep on the Plains since 1992.

UK first baseman TJ Collett went 4-for-8 with two extra base hits and five RBIs. He launched a three-run home run in the first inning of game one and added an RBI double off the wall in the first inning of game two. He also scored six runs in the series.

Auburn centerfielder Kason Howell belted a two-run homer in the opener for the Tigers. Shortstop Ryan Bliss had four hits and in the nightcap.

Auburn is 0-6 in SEC play for the first time since 2013, when the Tigers started 0-7 in league play. Auburn started 0-9 in SEC play in 2001 but rebounded to make the SEC Tournament. The Tigers next six SEC are against Arkansas (Fayetteville) and Miss. State (Auburn).

LSU 8, Tennessee 7 (Knoxville)

Records: LSU (16-6, 1-3 SEC); Tennessee (19-4, 3-1 SEC)

Series: Tennessee leads series, 1-0

The LSU-Tennessee game was suspended in the top of the ninth inning with LSU leading 8-7. The game will resume at 12:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday and the series finale will follow 30 minutes later. The final game will be a 7-inning game.