Friday SEC recaps: Franklin shines for Razorbacks; Auburn, MSU win in extra innings

 Barry Allen and Chris Lee   in Baseball

Photo courtesy of MSU Athletics.

Several outstanding individual performances and a couple of lengthy extra-inning games highlighted a busy Friday night in SEC Baseball. Arkansas centerfielder Christian Franklin, Auburn shortstop Ryan Bliss, Mississippi State right fielder Tanner Allen and Ole Miss pitcher Gunnar Hoglund all made headlines on Friday. Auburn defeated Georgia in 14 innings and MSU edged Texas A&M in 12 innings.

TEAM OF THE DAY:

Vanderbilt continued its excellence on the road with an impressive 11-7 win at Florida. The Commodores, the best road team in the in league, improved to 9-1 in SEC road games this season. Florida (8-2) lost for just the second time in 10 SEC home games this season. Dating back to the 2019 season, Vanderbilt is 18-1 in its last 19 SEC road games. Enrique Bradfield, Jack Bulger and Isaiah Thomas combined for seven RBIs in the win.

GAME OF THE DAY:

Auburn edged Georgia 10-6 in 14 innings in the longest SEC game of the season. The Tigers led 2-0, 3-3, 5-3 and 6-5 but each time the Bulldogs responded. AU finally delivered the knockout punch with a four-run 14th inning.

Mississippi State got a walk-off home run from Allen to beat Texas A&M 8-7 in 12 innings. It was MSU’s fourth walk-off win of the season and second by Allen. The Bulldogs trailed 7-3 in the seventh inning but rallied for the win. Catcher Logan Tanner hit a three-run homer in the seventh and shortstop Lane Forsythe tied the game with a sac fly in the ninth.

PLAYER OF THE DAY:

Franklin was a one-man wrecking crew for the Razorbacks on Friday. Franklin had two hits and five RBIs, including a three-run home run in the eighth inning in the 7-0 win at LSU. Arkansas was held hitless through six innings by LSU ace Landon Marceaux but finally broke through in the seventh. Franklin drove in the first two run with a single to right in the seventh inning. He capped the scoring his three-run homer in the eighth. It was his10th home run of the season, making him one of four Razorbacks with double-figure home runs.

Bliss had four RBIs, all in extra innings, to lead Auburn to a 10-6, 14-inning win at Georgia. Bliss laced a two-out, two-run double into the right field corner in the 12th inning and then smacked a two-run home run in the 14h inning to lead the Tigers past Georgia. He finished with three hits, two extra base hits and four RBIs.

Allen hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th inning to lead Mississippi State to an 8-7 win over Texas A&M. Allen smacked a 2-0 fastball into the right field stands for his second walk-off hit of the season for MSU. He finished with four hits three runs, two extra base hits and one RBI.

PITCHER OF THE DAY:

Hoglund made his return to the mound a fired six shutout innings leading the Rebels to a much-needed 5-1 win over South Carolina. He allowed only one hit (leadoff single to Andrew Eyster in the second inning) and struck out nine on the way to his fourth win of the season. He threw 73 pitches (57 strikes; 78 percent) in the win. The Rebels struck out 17 batters in the game. South Carolina slugger Wes Clarke was 0-for-4 and struck out four times.

LET’S PLAY TWO:

Due to the threat of weather on Sunday, there are three double headers scheduled for Saturday.

Arkansas and LSU will play a day-night double header in Baton Rouge. The first game begins at 2 p.m. (CT) with second game coming at 6:30 p.m. (CT).

South Carolina and Ole Miss will also play two games on Saturday. The first game gets underway at 1:30 p.m. (CT), while game two will begin at 6 p.m. (CT) and will be televised on SEC Network.

Texas A&M and Mississippi State will double up on Saturday at well. The games will be played at 2 p.m. (CT) and 6 p.m. (CT).

FRIDAY RECAPS:

Auburn 10, Georgia 6 (14) (Athens)

Records: Georgia (27-15, 10-10 SEC); Auburn (18-21, 4-16 SEC)

Series: Series tied, 1-1

Auburn scored four runs in the top of the 14th inning and held off Georgia for a 10-6 win in Athens.

The Tigers led for the fifth time in the game after scoring four times in the 14th inning. Catcher Ryan Dyal snapped a 6-6 tie with an RBI double off Darryn Pasqua. Bliss followed with a two-run home run to extend the lead to 9-6. Bliss had two hits and four RBIs after the ninth inning. Third baseman Rankin Woley hit a solo home run off the batter’s eye in dead center field to make it 10-6.

Will Morrison, who worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings, closed out the Bulldogs in the bottom of the inning for his first win.

Auburn lead 2-0, 3-2, 5-3 and 6-5, but each time Georgia responded to tie the game.

The Tigers took a 5-3 lead in the 12th inning on Bliss’ two-out, two-run double into the right field corner, only to see Georgia respond in the bottom of the frame when centerfielder Ben Anderson stroked a game-tying two-run homer.

Both teams scored a run in the 13th inning as well.

The much maligned Auburn bullpen had to cover 13 innings on Friday as starter Richard Fitts (1 IP, 3 H, 2 RR) was lifted after just one inning. Carson Skipper and Peyton Glavine both turned in three scoreless frames. Glavine struck out five of the nine batters he faced.

Right fielder Connor Tate also homered for Georgia.

The Bulldogs also had three sac flies in the loss.

Mississippi State 8, Texas A&M 7 (12) (Starkville)

Records: Mississippi State (30-10, 12-7 SEC); Texas A&M (24-20, 5-14 SEC)

Series: Mississippi State leads series, 1-0

MSU right fielder Tanner Allen blasted a 2-0 fastball into the right field seats in the bottom of the 12th inning to lift the Bulldogs to an 8-7 come-from-behind win over Texas A&M.

Allen’s (4-7, 3 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) solo home came off A&M reliever Alex Magers.

It was the Bulldogs fourth walk-off win of the season and the second by Allen. He had a walk-off two-run single against Tulane on Feb. 28.

MSU played its first extra inning game of the season. Texas A&M fell to 1-2 in extra innings.

Landon Sims picked up the win with three scoreless innings and seven strikeouts.

Texas A&M hit two home runs in the seventh inning to take a 7-3 lead. Right fielder Brett Minnich hit a solo home run and third baseman Bryce Blaum added a two-run homer.

MSU catcher Logan Tanner smacked three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to make it 7-6. State forced extra innings with a sac fly by Lane Forsyth in the ninth inning.

A&M centerfielder Ray Alejo had three hits and two RBIs.

Arkansas 7, LSU 0 (Baton Rouge)

Records: Arkansas (33-7, 14-5 SEC); LSU (25-16, 6-13 SEC)

Series: Arkansas leads series, 1-0

Arkansas was held hitless through the first six innings then erupted in the final three innings for a 7-0 win at LSU.

LSU starter Landon Marceaux no-hit the nation’s top-ranked team for six innings before Arkansas DH Matt Goodheart broke up the no-hitter with a leadoff single in the seventh inning.

Goodheart’s base hit sparked a lifeless Razorback offense. UA first baseman Brady Slavens followed with a single to center moved to second on the throw to third. Centerfielder Christian Franklin then singled through the right side to give the Razorbacks the 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Franklin gunned down LSU left fielder Gavin Dugas at third base to keep the Tigers off the board.

Slavens had a two-run single in the eighth to make it 4-0 and then Franklin provided the exclamation point when he blasted a three-run home run into the left field bleachers.

Arkansas starter Patrick Wicklander (3-1) held the Tigers to three hits through 6 2/3 scoreless innings for the win. He added five strikeouts. Arkansas super reliever Kevin Kopps retried all seven batters faced for his sixth save. He fanned the first four batters he faced to give him 11 straight strikeouts over his last two outings.

Marceaux (4-4) allowed two runs and four hits through seven innings. He struck out eight.

Vanderbilt 11, Florida 7 (Gainesville)

Records: Vanderbilt (32-7, 14-5 SEC); Florida (28-13, 11-8 SEC)

Series: Vanderbilt leads series, 1-0

Kumar Rocker notched his 10th win of the season, striking out eight and allowing two runs over five innings, as the Commodores jumped to a 9-1 lead and held on for an 11-7 win over Florida in Gainesville.

Right fielder Isaiah Thomas homered for the Commodores, who pulled two games ahead of second-place Tennessee in the loss column in the SEC East standings.

Centerfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. reached base four times for Vandy and stole two bases, and Nick Maldonado pitched the final 1 2/3 innings in scoreless fashion. 

Left fielder Jacob Young and first baseman Kris Armstrong each homered for the Gators. 

Vanderbilt improved to 6-1 in SEC series openers, tied with Alabama for the best record in SEC openers.

The Commodores are 9-1 in SEC road games, the best record in the SEC.

Ole Miss 5, South Carolina 1 (Oxford)

Records: Ole Miss (29-12, 11-8 SEC); South Carolina (26-13, 11-8 SEC)

Series: Ole Miss leads, 1-0

Ole Miss right-hander Gunnar Hogland returned the mound and tossed six shutout innings in the Rebels 5-1 win over South Carolina.

Hogland held the Gamecocks to one hit and struck out nine en route to his fourth win over the season.

Hogland, Derek Diamond and Taylor Brodway combined for 17 strikeouts in the win.

South Carolina catcher Wes Clarke was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. He is hitting .169 (11-for-65) in SEC play with 26 strikeouts.

The Rebels scored two runs in the first inning and added three runs in the fourth inning. Catcher Hayden Dunhurst had an RBI single and centerfielder TJ McCants added a sac fly in the first inning. Shortstop Jacob Gonzalez posted an RBI single and third baseman Justin Bench had a two-run single in the fourth inning.

South Carolina DH Josiah Sightler hit a solo home run in the seventh to account for the Gamecocks lone run.

The Gamecocks fell to 1-6 in SEC series openers this season.

Kentucky 8, Tennessee 2 (Knoxville)

Records: Tennessee (33-11, 13-7 SEC); Kentucky (26-14, 10-10 SEC)

Series: Series tied, 1-1

Kentucky hit three home runs, including two by right fielder John Rhodes, in the 8-2 win at Tennessee.

Rhodes (2-3, 2 HR, 3 RBI) hit a go-ahead, two-run home run the sixth inning and later added a solo home run in the ninth.

Third baseman Jacob Plastiak belted a two-run home run in the eighth inning. He also hit a two-run homer in the second inning in Thursday’s series opener.

Tennessee scored 14 runs in the series opener but UK pitchers Sean Harney and Alex Degan held the Vols to two runs and seven hits and struck out nine on Friday.

Catcher Jackson Greer and first baseman Luc Lipcius both hit solo home runs to account for the Vols scoring. Greer has also homered in both games of the series.

Alabama 11, Missouri 8 (Tuscaloosa)

Records: Alabama (26-15, 9-10 SEC); Missouri (12-27; 5-14 SEC)

Series: Alabama leads series, 1-0

Alabama overcame a four run deficit in the fifth inning and rallied to beat Missouri 11-8 in the series opener.

The Tigers scored four runs in the top of the first inning and led 7-2 after three innings against UA starter Tyler Ras.

Missouri third baseman Jake Mann and shortstop Joshua Day combined for five hits and two RBIs.

The Crimson Tide cut the lead to 8-6 with two runs in the fifth and took the lead for good with three runs in the sixth.

Alabama relievers William Freeman, Landon Green and Chase Lee allowed just one hit over five scoreless innings. Freeman picked up the win with three scoreless innings. Lee notched his fifth save with a scoreless ninth inning.

Second baseball Peyton Wilson, third baseman Zane Denton and catcher Sam Praytor all homered for the Crimson Tide. Wilson hit his SEC-leading fifth leadoff home run when he drilled the first pitch from Sean Halvorsen to dead centerfield.

He finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored, two extra base hits and three RBIs. Praytor added three hits and RBIs.

Alabama improved to 6-1 in SEC series openers, tying Vanderbilt for the best record in SEC openers.