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Sunday recap: A wild weekend of walk-offs

 Barry Allen and Chris Lee   in Baseball

The Southeastern Conference picked up an astonishing 11 walk-off wins this weekend

Photo credit: Mississippi State athletics

A walk-off weekend

The theme for the second weekend of the SEC baseball season was walk-off wins.

There were 11 walk-off wins over the weekend, including six on Saturday. Mississippi State and South Carolina had two walk-off wins over the weekend. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Ole Miss and Tennessee had one walk-off victory.

There were four more on Sunday afternoon, as Florida, Miss. State, South Carolina and Tennessee all won on the final play of the game.

Florida completed the three-game sweep of Samford with a 10-9 walk-off win in Gainesville. Left fielder Jacob Young delivered the game-winning RBI single to score shortstop Josh Rivera with the winning run. Young finished 4-for-5 with one run scored and two RBIs. Florida trailed 2-0 and 8-6 in the game but rallied for the win. First baseman Sonny Dicharia hit two home runs for Samford.

Mississippi State got a second straight walk-off win to take the hard-fought series with Tulane. Right fielder Tanner Allen stroked the game-winning two-run single for the Bulldogs. Tulane had taken a 4-3 lead when Luis Aviles hit a 2-run home run in the top of the ninth inning. 

MSU had a walk-off win on Saturday as well. DH Luke Hancock belted a walk-off grand slam to cap a six-run ninth inning to lift MSU past Tulane 9-5. 

South Carolina walked off Clemson for the second straight day and left fielder Andrew Eyster was the hero both days. Eyster smacked a single to center field to score Wes Clarke with the winning run in the 8-7 win.

Eyster hit a walk-off double in bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Gamecocks to a 3-2 win on Saturday.  South Carolina won both games against Clemson, giving the Gamecocks their second series win over the Tigers.

Tennessee scored the winning run on a throwing error in the bottom of the 11th inning for a 6-5 walk-off win over Indiana State. Pete Derkay reached on a fielder’s choice and Luc Lipcius scored the winning run on a throwing error by ISU third baseman Diego Gines.

Georgia, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Alabama, LSU and Mississippi State all posted walk-off wins on Saturday. Georgia, LSU and Mississippi State won with walk-off home runs, while Alabama and South Carolina had walk-off wins in extra innings. 

Arkansas had a walk-off win in the series opener with Southeast Missouri State on Thursday. Shortstop Jalen Battles’ infield single scored catcher Casey Opitz with the winning run in the 6-5, 10-inning win. Arkansas forced extra innings by scoring three times in the ninth to tie the game at 5-5.

Hog wild

Arkansas (7-0) remained the only undefeated team in the SEC Western Division following its 11-4 rain-shortened, five inning win over Southeast Missouri State on Sunday. The Razorbacks swept the four-game series.

The middle of the Arkansas batting order provided the spark on Sunday as designated hitter Matt Goodheart, right fielder Cayden Wallace and first baseman Brady Slavens all homered in the win. Wallace and Slavens hit back-to-back homers in the second inning and Goodheart added a 2-run homer run as the Razorbacks plated six runs in the fourth.

The trio went 6-for-8 with five runs scored, three home runs and five RBIs in the win.

Arkansas hit 10 home runs in the four-game series, which accounted for 15 runs. The Razorbacks hit four home runs which accounted for all seven runs in Friday’s 7-3 victory.

The Arkansas bullpen picked up two wins and covered 21 innings in the series with SEMO. The bullpen worked 9 2/3 innings in the series opener after starter Caleb Bolden could not get out of the first inning. Patrick Wicklander posted four scoreless innings in relief for UA. The pen added six innings and seven strikeouts in Friday’s win. Connor Noland allowed one unearned run in four innings for the win. He had five strikeouts. 

Peyton Pallette was dominant in his five scoreless innings on Saturday. He was the only UA starter to get past three innings. He allowed three hits and struck out eight.

Florida's Young extends hitting streak to 26

Florida left fielder Jacob Young had a career-high four hits on Sunday to extend his hitting streak to 26 games, dating back to the 2019 season.

The 26-game hitting streak is the second-longest in Florida history. All-American Brad Wilkerson had a 26-game hitting streak in 1997. 

 For the season, Young is batting .395 (15-for-38) with eight runs scored, seven doubles and eight RBIs in eight games. He leads the SEC with seven doubles.

Power surge

South Carolina designated hitter Wes Clarke and Florida centerfielder Jud Fabian combined for nine home runs this week.

Clarke belted five home runs in in three games, including two on Sunday against Clemson. He had three homers in a midweek win over Winthrop. Clarke leads the SEC eight home runs in six games this season. He has 16 home runs in the last two seasons (22 games) for the Gamecocks and eight in seven games this year.

Fabian has four home runs and 12 RBIs to lead the Gators. He has four home runs and 11 RBIs in his last four games. Fabian had two homers and five RBIs in the midweek win over North Florida. He had two home runs and six RBIs in the series with Samford. He enters the week with a 6-game RBI streak.

Vanderbilt is also finding some power from different players. ShortstopS slammed his first two collegiate home runs on Saturday and Sunday against Georgia State, each coming from a different side of the plate. 

Vandy's Max Romero also smashed his first two collegiate homers this weekend, both coming on Sunday.

If not for Carolina's Clarke, Commodore first baseman Dominic Keegan might be the talk of the league's hitters. Keegan bashed a grand slam on Sunday, and his hitting .571/.679/1.333 through seven games.  

Seven Vanderbilt players have accounted for the team's 11 home runs this season.

Auburn salvages finale in Round Rock 

After dropping its first two games to Oklahoma and Baylor, Auburn bounced back to defeat Texas A&M 6-1 to salvage the finale at the Round Rock Classic.

Auburn starter Trace Bright and Texas A&M starter Jonathan Childress treated the fans to pitcher’s duel through six innings. Bright hurled six shutout innings to earn his second win of the season. He allowed three hits, two walks and struck out one. Childress was also impressive with six innings in the tough-luck loss. He allowed one run on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts. It was his second straight solid Sunday outing for the Aggies. He had nine strikeouts in 4 1/3 scoreless innings against Xavier in his debut.

AU centerfielder Kasen Howell’s gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead with fourth inning RBI single. 

The game remained that way until the Tigers finally broke through against the Aggies bullpen in the later innings. Left fielder Steven Williams belted a 2-run home run in the seventh inning to stretch the lead to 3-0. Williams batted leadoff and played left field in place of Judd Ward. 

Auburn added two more runs in the eighth with on an RBI single by first baseman Tyler Miller and an Aggie error. Third baseman Rankin Woley capped the scoring with a RBI single in the ninth to make it 6-0. A&M avoided the shutout with a sac fly by designated hitter Logan Santori.

Auburn’s three relievers held the Aggies to one run and one hit over the final three innings. Blake BurkhalterCarson Skipper and Cam Hill combined for three strikeouts.

Texas A&M did not have the same success, Four Aggies relief pitchers were touched for five runs on eight hits over the final three frames.

Dynamic duos

Georgia and Missouri had a couple of dynamic duos lead the way on Sunday.

Georgia third baseman Garret Blaylock and right fielder Conor Tate combined for 11 RBIs in the 17-3 win over Gardner Webb. 

Blaylock was 2-for-4 with two home runs and six RBIs. He smacked a 2-run homer in the second inning and added a 3-run home run in the sixth. Tate was 5-for-5 with two runs scored and five RBIs. It was the first five-hit game by a Georgia player since John Cable in 2019.

Missouri second baseman Masen Prososki and third baseman Braden Eckhout went 4-for-8 with four runs scored, two doubles, one triple, one home run and seven RBIs in the 9-3 win over Missouri.  Both stroked 2-run doubles in the decisive 6-run ninth inning to give the Mavericks the win and split in the four-game series.