Saturday recap: Shutouts and strikeouts

 Barry Allen and Chris Lee   in Baseball

Texas A&M pitchers fan 21, while Georgia, LSU and Carolina also hurl shutouts

Bryce Miller photo courtesy of Texas A&M athletics

Last Saturday was walk-off Saturday, with six SEC teams posting walk-off wins.

Forward the calendar one week to shutout Saturday. Six SEC teams were involved in shutouts on the first Saturday in March. Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, South Carolina and Texas A&M all posted shutout wins. 

Meanwhile, Alabama was on the wrong end of 1-0 loss at the College of Charleston.

Aggies nearly make school history

Bryce Miller and Chandler Jozwiak combined for 21 strikeouts in Texas A&M’s 5-0 win over New Mexico State. The 21 strikeouts fell one shot of the A&M single-game record of 22 strikeouts set last year vs. Army.

Miller recorded a career-high seven innings and career-high 15 strikeouts. The 15 strikeouts are the most by an Aggie pitcher since Casey Fossum had 15 strikeouts vs. Baylor in 1998. Jozwiak worked two scoreless innings and struck out six of the seven batters he faced.

It was Texas A&M's 11th double-digit strikeout performance in 12 games. The duo held the New Mexico State bats to 0-for-8 with runners on and 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position. A&M pitchers struck out 10 different NMSU batters and four different hitters struck out three times.

Texas A&M took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning before scoring four runs to push the lead to 5-0. Second baseman Ty Coleman had a two-run single and third baseman Trevor Werner added an RBI single in the seventh.

Vanderbilt's Rocker whiffs 11 in Saturday win

It's not always a smooth start when Kumar Rocker takes the hill, but it usually ends well for the Commodore right-hander. That was the case again on Saturday in Vanderbilt's 5-2, series-clinching win over Illinois-Chicago. 

Rocker struggled in the first inning, firing just nine of his 21 pitches for strikes. But from the second through the sixth innings, Rocker threw 48 of the next 65 for strikes.

The result: Six innings, two hits, one run (it was earned) and 11 strikeouts as the right-hander got his third win of the season. He's struck out 25 in 15 innings in 2021.

Shortstop Carter Young and first baseman Dominic Keegan continued their torrid starts. Young hit his fourth home run in five days as part of a three-hit afternoon, while Keegan was 2 for 4 with an RBI.

South Carolina hurls shutout, clinches Mercer series

Brannon JordanJackson PhippsWill Sanders and Brett Kerry combined for 17 strikeouts in the Gamecocks 4-0 win over Mercer. 

Jordan tossed five scoreless innings and finished with a career-high 11 strikeout. He allowed just one hit and walked three batters. 

The Gamecocks bullpen added four scoreless innings with six strikeouts. Phipps allowed just one hit in a scoreless sixth inning. Sanders fired two scoreless innings and allowed one hit and recorded three strikeouts. Kerry allowed one and struck out three in the ninth inning.

South Carolina scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning in support of Jordan. DH Josiah Sightler hit a solo home run and third baseman Joe Satterfield added a two-run double in the inning. First baseman David Mendham added an RBI double to cap the scoring in the seventh.

The Gamecocks improved to 9-0 with the series-clinching win.

Georgia fans 15 in blanking of North Florida

Ryan WebbDarryn Pasqua and Liam Sullivan combined for 15 strikeouts in Georgia’s 6-0 win over North Florida to even the weekend series.

Webb, who was on a pitch count, recorded eight strikeouts in three-plus innings. Pasqua logged three strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings. Sullivan closed the game with 3 1/3 scoreless innings and four strikeouts for the save.

Georgia first baseman Jordan Rogers smacked a two-run double in the seventh inning and redshirt freshman shortstop Kameron Guidry added a two-run triple in the eighth inning. It was his first career hit for the Bulldogs.

LSU recoups after Friday's disaster

Friday's box score was an ugly one for the Tigers, who allowed 18 hits, walked five and hit five in a 22-7 loss to Oral Roberts.

LSU junior right-hander Landon Marceaux did his part on Saturday, firing six scoreless innings and striking out seven for his second win of the season. He allowed six singles and did not walk a batter. He has not allowed a run in 17 innings this season.

“The effort of Landon Marceaux today was outstanding, and it shows you once again that pitching is everything,” LSU had coach Mainieri said. “He has just been tremendous -- he was tremendous in fall practice, and he was tremendous last year when the season was stopped. He’s been terrific in his first three starts; he throws strikes, he mixes his pitches, he’s developed a great slider, and I think he’s one of the best pitchers in the SEC.”

LSU freshmen pitchers Ty Floyd and Javen Coleman combined to blank the Golden Eagles over the final three innings, allowing no hits with one walk and six strikeouts. In all, LSU recorded 13 strikeouts.

Marceaux received plenty of run support from the LSU lineup, which erupted for a seven-run fifth inning and collected 15 hits on the day.

Second baseman Zach Arnold, left fielder Gavin Dugas and DH Cade Beloso combined for seven hits, six runs and five RBIs in the win.

Arkansas rallies to stay unbeaten

Arkansas spotted Murray State a 4-0 second-inning lead and rallied for an 11-6 series-clinching win. The Razorbacks improved to 9-0 for the third time under head coach Dave Van Horn.

The Razorbacks belted three home runs in the come-from-behind win. Third baseman Cullen Smith hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the second to cut the deficit to 4-3. Centerfielder Christian Franklin ripped a go-ahead three-run double in the fourth inning to the Hogs their first lead, 6-5. Left fielder Zach Gregory added a solo homer in the sixth inning. First baseman Brady Slavens capped the scoring with a two-run home run in the eighth.

Kentucky evens series, fans 13 Cardinals

Kentucky pitchers Mason HazelwoodDaniel Harper and Seth Logue combined for 13 strikeouts in the 6-0 win over Ball State.

Hazelwood worked 5 1/3 scoreless innings with four walks and six strikeouts for his second win. Harper faced two batters ad recorded one strikeout. Logue added three scoreless frames and struck out six batters.

Kentucky designated hitter Oraj Anu and shortstop Ryan Ritter both homered in the win. Anu smacked a two-run homer in the first inning and Ritter added a solo homer in the second inning.

The Wildcats suffered their first loss on Friday in a 3-2 defeat to the Cardinals. 

Auburn puts up crooked numbers

Auburn scored five runs in the first inning, highlighted by designated hitter Cam Hill’s grand slam, to cruise to a 16-1 win over Boston College. 

The Tigers scored three runs in both the third and fourth innings and added four runs in the fifth inning. 

Auburn belted four home runs in the win. Steven WilliamsRankin WoleyTyler Miller and Hill all homered in the win. Williams hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning. Woley scored five runs in the win and hit a solo home run in the seventh inning.

Miller had a huge day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with three run scored and six RBIs. He had a two-run single in the second, an RBI single in the fourth and a three-run homer in the fifth inning.

Now playing shortstop:   

Due to injuries, Georgia has started four different shortstops in the last four games.

Senior Cole Tate started the first seven games at shortstop. He suffered an injury in the first inning in the series finale against Gardner-Webb on Feb. 28.  

Redshirt junior Josh McAllister was the starting shortstop in the midweek loss at Kennesaw State. 

The Bulldogs have started a different shortstop in the first two games against North Florida. Sophomore Buddy Floyd started the series opener on Friday, while Guidry started on Saturday delivered a two-run triple in the eighth inning.

"We've started four different shortstops this season, that's probably a record, Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin said. “I thought Kameron did a great job at shortstop for us (on Saturday), and he'll probably be in there again Sunday. He got a big two-run triple for his first career hit too.