Friday recaps: Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia post comeback wins; Halvorsen shines for Mizzou
Barry Allen and Chris Lee • 4/3/2021 in Baseball
Photo courtesy of Missouri Athletics.
Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia all posted come-from-behind home wins on Friday night … The Crimson Tide erased a 4-0 fourth-inning deficit to knock off Tennessee, 7-4 … The Razorbacks overcame a 4-0 deficit in the seventh inning to beat Auburn 6-5 … The Bulldogs rallied from a 3-0 hole to beat South Carolina 5-3 … Vanderbilt won its 14th straight SEC road game with an 11-2 series-clinching win at LSU … Shortstop Jacob Gonzalez drove in four runs to lead Ole Miss to an 8-2 win at Florida … Missouri evened the series with Texas A&M behind the stellar pitching from Sean Halvorsen in Columbia.
TEAM OF THE DAY:
Vanderbilt won its 14th straight SEC road game with an 11-2 series-clinching win at LSU. Shortstop Carter Young and right fielder Jack Bulger both homered in the win. Vandy starter Jack Leiter had his 20 2/3 hitless innings streak end in the fifth inning in Baton Rouge. The Commodores are 5-0 in SEC road games this season and is averaging almost 10 runs per game. The 14-game SEC road winning streak dates back to 2019 when the Commodore swept their last three road series with Alabama, South Carolina and Kentucky. VU swept Missouri in Columbia to open SEC play this season.
GAME OF THE DAY:
Arkansas erased a 4-0 deficit in the seventh inning to defeat Auburn 6-5 to even the series at Baum Stadium. The Razorbacks scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to take a 5-4 lead. Robert Moore gave the Razorbacks the lead with an RBI single. Auburn answered with a run in the top of the eighth inning on Steven Williams RBI single. Arkansas bounced back in the bottom of the inning and plated the winning run when Cayden Wallace scored on a wild pitch.
PLAYER OF THE DAY:
Ole Miss shortstop Jacob Gonzalez drove in four runs as the Rebels evened the series with an 8-2 win in Gainesville. Gonzalez snapped a 2-2 tie with a two-run single in the top eighth inning to give the Rebels a 4-2 lead. He smacked a two-run homer in the four-run eighth inning as Ole Miss broke open a close game.
PITCHER OF THE DAY:
Missouri right-hander Seth Halvorsen struck out 10 batters over seven innings, both career highs, in leading the Tigers to an 8-2 win over Texas A&M. Halvorsen limited the Aggies to two runs and two hits en route to his third win of the season.
Arkansas 6, Auburn 5 (Fayetteville)
Records: Arkansas (21-4, 6-2 SEC); Auburn (12-12, 1-7 SEC)
Series: Series tied, 1-1
Arkansas overcame a four-run deficit, scoring six runs in its final two at-bats for a 6-5 win over Auburn.
The Razorbacks were handcuffed for five-plus innings by Auburn lefty Jack Owen, who made his first start of the season. Owen, a veteran arm for the Tigers, missed the first five weeks with an injury.
Owen blanked the Hogs over 5 1/3 innings with four strikeout and two walks. He left the game with a 4-0 lead but the Tigers bullpen let him down.
Arkansas scored five times in the eighth inning to take a 5-4 lead. Trace Bright, who began the season as the No. 3 starter, gave up three runs. Richard Fitts allowed two runs relief as he continues to struggle on the mound.
Arkansas second baseman Robert Moore capped the five-run inning with a go-ahead RBI single.
Auburn right fielder Steven Williams tied the game with an RBI single in the eighth inning. He also had a solo homer in the fourth to put the Tigers up 4-0. AU shortstop Ryan Bliss led off the game with a home run.
Arkansas scored the winning run in the bottom of the inning without a hit. The Razorbacks parlayed two walks, one hit batter and two wild pitches into the winning run. Right fielder Cayden Wallace raced home from third on the second wild pitch of the inning.
Vanderbilt 11, LSU 2 (Baton Rouge)
Records: LSU (17-10, 1-7 SEC); Vanderbilt (22-3, 7-1 SEC)
Series: Vanderbilt leads series, 2-0
Vanderbilt's Jack Leiter threw six innings and allowed one earned run, striking out 12 and picking up his seventh win in as many stars as the Commodores routed LSU, 11-2, in Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., on Friday night.
Leiter's hitless and scoreless streaks were finally snapped at 20 2/3 and 25 2/3 innings, respectively, but that was about the only bad thing one could say of Leiter's night. He struck out nine between the second, third and fourth innings while allowing a lone walk in between.
Unfortunately, the night's biggest news may have been the exit of LSU starting pitcher Jaden Hill, who departed with one out in the second with what appeared to be right arm discomfort. Hill has previously missed time at LSU with elbow injuries.
Vanderbilt DH Spencer Jones had four hits, while Jack Bulger and Carter Young cracked home runs for the Commodores.
LSU's Cade Doughty homered off Leiter, the first one the right-hander has allowed in his college career. It was the first extra-base hit Leiter has allowed in 42 innings this season; Leiter has allowed nine singles this season, which included two on Friday.
The Tigers have now lost four of their last five weekend series, while the win clinched Vandy's seventh series win in as many tries this season.
Alabama 7, Tennessee 4 (Tuscaloosa)
Records: Alabama (16-9, 2-5 SEC); Tennessee (22-5, 5-2 SEC)
Series: Alabama leads series, 1-0
Alabama overcame four-run deficit to take the series opener from Tennessee 7-4 in Tuscaloosa.
The Crimson Tide trailed 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning and seemed to have no answer for UT starter Chad Dallas.
The Tide turned in the fourth inning with the middle of the lineup providing the damage.
Catcher Sam Praytor and designated hitter William Hamiter singled and scored in the three-run fourth inning and both had a hand in the go-ahead rally in the fifth inning.
Tennessee called on ace reliever Sean Hunley in the fourth inning and he struck out right fielder Owen Diodati to end the threat.
Praytor blasted a go-ahead, two-run homer off Hunley in the fifth inning and Hamiter doubled and scored to put the Tide up 6-4.
Hunley (4-1), the reigning SEC Pitcher of the Week after win and two saves vs. LSU last week, suffered his first loss of the season.
Praytor went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and Hamiter went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.
Hamiter returned to the lineup after missing five straight games with an injury. Alabama lost all five games.
First baseman Drew Williamson homered in the eighth inning for an Alabama insurance run.
Tennessee scored all four runs with two outs against Tyler Ras. First baseman Luc Lipcius had a solo homer in the second inning and Jake Rucker, Drew Gilbert and Jordan Beck all had two-out hits in the third to put the Vols up 4-0.
Alabama snapped a 6-game losing streak. Tennessee had its six-game winning streak snapped.
Georgia 5, South Carolina 3 (Athens)
Records: Georgia (18-7, 3-4 SEC); South Carolina (17-7, 4-3 SEC)
Series: Georgia leads series, 1-0
Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin returned to the dugout after missing eight games with Codid-19 and his team returned to the win column with another late-inning win at Foley Field.
The Bulldogs overcame a three-run deficit and defeated South Carolina 5-3 in the series opener.
South Carolina first baseman David Mendham gave the Gamecocks a 3-0 lead, with a three-run home run in the fourth inning.
The Georgia offense slowly chipped away at the lead, while the Bulldogs bullpen put up zeroes over the finale six innings.
Georgia right fielder Connor Tate began the comeback with a solo home run in the fourth inning. Left fielder Riley King capped the rally with a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Bulldogs used eight pitchers in the opener, with Michael Polk getting the win and Ben Harris the save.
Georgia held Wes Clarke hitless in three at-bats with two strikeouts. He walked and scored on Mendham’s third-inning homer.
Ole Miss 8, Florida 2 (Gainesville)
Records: Ole Miss (21-5, 7-1 SEC); Florida (17-9, 4-4 SEC)
Series: Series tied, 1-1
Ole Miss shortstop Jacob Gonzalez drove in four runs as the Rebels evened the series with an 8-2 win in Gainesville.
Gonzalez snapped a 2-2 tie with a two-run single in the top eighth inning to give the Rebels a 4-2 lead. He smacked a two-run homer in the four-run eighth inning as Ole Miss broke open a close game.
Ole Miss scored all six runs in the final two innings off Jack Leftwich, who pitched in relief for the first time this season.
For the second straight game, Florida started a relief pitcher and Christian Scott held Ole Miss in check through five innings. He allowed two run and five hits and struck out seven.
Leftwich was not a fortunate. The Rebels touched him for six runs and five hits in three-plus innings and suffered his second straight loss.
Florida’s Jud Fabian hit a game-tying solo home run in the seventh inning to snap a 0-for-21 slump at the plate.
Missouri 8, Texas A&M 3 (Columbia)
Records: Missouri (9-17, 2-6 SEC); Texas A&M (19-10, 3-5 SEC)
Series: Series tied, 1-1
Missouri right-hander Seth Halvorsen turned in the best outing of his career leading the Tigers to an 8-2 win over Texas A&M.
Halvorsen limited the Aggies to two runs and two hits in a career-high seven innings of work for his third win of the season. He also added a career-high 10 strikeouts. Halvorsen has accounted for one-third of Mizzou’s wins this season.
The Texas A&M pitching staff did not fare as well. The Aggies allowed two home runs, hit five batters, issued four walks and had one wild pitch in the loss. Jonathan Childress allowed four runs in three innings and was charged with the loss. He allowed two home runs. Chandler Jozwiak allowed four runs four innings of relief. He hit four batters and walked three.
Second baseman Mark Vierling and shortstop Trevor Austin both homered for Mizzou.
Texas A&M first baseman Will Frizzell hit a two-run homer to give the Aggies a brief 2-1 lead in the third inning.
Mississippi State 3, Kentucky 2 (Starkville)
Records: Kentucky (18-6, 5-3 SEC); MSU (19-7, 4-4 SEC)
Series: MSU leads series, 2-0
Mississippi State designated hitter Luke Hancock has not had a hit in the series with Kentucky, but he has played a key role in the Bulldogs first two wins.
Hancock is 0-for-4 in the series, but has four RBIs on four sacrifice flies, including two in Friday’s 3-2 win over the Wildcats.
Hancock also had two sac flies in Thursday’s win over UK.
He drove in the game-tying and game-winning runs in the late innings on Friday. His sixth-inning sac fly tied the game at 2-2 and he put MSU up 3-2 with a sac fly in the eighth inning. Centerfielder Rowdey Jordan scored both runs.
UK first baseman TJ Collett smacked a two-run homer in the fourth inning off Will Bednar, who struck out 10 in six innings.
The MSU bullpen added three scoreless frames, with Landon Sims getting the win.