Sunday recap: Arkansas finally loses, Georgia's pitching shines

 Barry Allen   in Baseball

Southeastern Conference teams win 13 out of the 14 series the week before conference play begins.

Connor Tate photo courtesy of the University of Georgia.

ARKANSAS SUFFERS FIRST LOSS

Arkansas dropped its first game of the season, losing 2-0 at Louisiana Tech on Sunday afternoon in Ruston.

Louisiana Tech senior right hander Jarrett Whorff fired a complete-game, two-hit shutout to snap the Razorbacks 16-winning streak dating back to the 2020 season. Whorff struck out 10 and walked one in the win. He held the Razorbacks hitless over the final 7 2/3 innings.

Arkansas was shutout for the first time since a 10-0 loss at Alabama on March 23, 2019. Whorff’s complete-game shutout was the first against the Razorbacks since Kevin Abel’s tossed a complete-game, five-hitter leading Oregon State to a 5-0 win over Arkansas in the 2018 CWS Championship game on June, 28, 2018.

Arkansas managed only two singles in the loss. UA designated hitter Matt Goodheart stroked a two-out double in the first inning and catcher Casey Opitz had a one-out single in the second inning.

LSU CAPS WILD WEEKEND WITH SWEEP

LSU swept Texas-San Antonio in a three-game series at Alex Box Stadium, but it came with a lot of drama.

All three wins came in the Tigers final at-bat, including a pair of walk-off wins in extra innings. LSU posted a 3-1 win in Friday’s opener, scoring two runs on an error in the bottom of the eighth. On Saturday, LSU posted a 10-9 win in 13 innings on shortstop Jordan Thompson’s walk-off home run. LSU blew a 4-run lead in the late innings and needed three extra-inning home runs to win the game

LSU posted another dramatic win on Sunday with a 13-12 win in 11 innings to complete the sweep. Left fielder Gavin Dugas stroked a walk-off single to left-center field to score center fielder Mitchell Sanford with the winning run.

The Tigers belted six home runs in Sunday’s win. In all, LSU smacked 11 home runs in the series. Third baseman Cade Doughty homered in all three games and finished the weekend with four home runs. He belted a pair of 3-run home runs in Saturday’s win.

LSU leads the SEC with 33 home runs this season. Doughty is tied for second in the league with seven round trippers. All seven of his homers have come in his last eight games.

The Tigers scored five runs in the fifth inning to take a 7-2 lead and added two more runs in the sixth inning to stretch the lead to 9-2. Sanford and second baseman Zach Arnold both hit two-run home runs in the fifth inning.

LSU starter AJ Labas allowed two runs and four hits through six innings. He struck out seven.

For the second straight day, the LSU bullpen could not hold the lead. UTSA scored two runs in the seventh inning and five runs in the ninth to force extra innings. The Roadrunners took a 12-9 lead with three runs in the 10hinning. The Tigers’ six relievers allowed nine runs and 10 hits. 

LSU tied the game with two home runs in the bottom of the 10th inning. Shortstop Jordan Thompson belted a two-run home run and pinch-hitter Hayden Travinski belted a game-tying solo homer to send the game to the 11th inning.

LSU reliever Theo Milas worked a perfect 11th inning for his first win.

GEORGIA NARROWLY MISSES THIRD STRAIGHT SHUTOUT

Georgia came within two outs of its third straight shutout, but Lipscomb scored two runs in the top of ninth inning to avoid its third straight shutout and force extra innings. 

Georgia right fielder Connor Tate delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the 12th inning to lift the Bulldogs to 3-2 win to complete the sweep.

Georgia starter Jonathan Cannon allowed one hit over four scoreless innings and struck out four.

For the weekend, Georgia allowed only two runs and six hits in 30 innings of work. The Bulldogs recorded 32 strikeouts and 12 walks. Georgia’s starters posted two wins and logged 16 scoreless innings. The bullpen allowed two runs and three hits in 14 innings.

Georgia shut out Lipscomb 10-0 and 7-0 in the first two games of the series.

SERIES REWIND

The SEC won 13 of 14 series on the final non-conference weekend of the season.

Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Texas A&M all posted three-game sweeps.

Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt logged series wins. Missouri won three of four games in a high-scoring series at Illinois State.

South Carolina lost all three games at Texas.

 AROUND THE SEC

Alabama rode a 7-run second inning to a 9-4 series-clinching win over Stetson. The Crimson Tide sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning and six straight batters reached with two outs. Right fielder Andrew Pinckney, shortstop Jim Jarvis and centerfielder Caden Rose all had two-out RBI singles. Left fielder William Hamiter stroked a two-out, two-run double. Pinckney went 3-for-4 with one run scored and one RBI. Hamiter was 3-for-4 with one double, two RBIs and one walk. Sophomore left-hander Antoine Jean worked a career-high six innings and struck out six. Alabama has won 15 of 16 non-conference series under head coach Brad Bohannon, including 13 straight dating back to 2018.

Auburn suffered its second straight Sunday loss with a 12-6 setback to Little Rock. The Tigers held a 4-1 lead after four innings before Little Rock six runs in the fifth to take the lead. AU starter Trace Bright was charged with six runs in four-plus innings. The Auburn bullpen allowed six runs over 4 2/3 innings. Cam Hill gave up four runs in one-third of an inning in relief. AU shortstop Brandon Moore and right fielder Steven Williams both homered for the Tigers.

Florida snapped a 2-2 tie with two runs in the fifth inning to defeat Jacksonville 5-2 in the series finale. Catcher Kevin Hickey broke the tie with a sacrifice fly and third baseman Kirby McMullen added a solo home run in the fifth inning. Hunter Barco and Franco Aleman combined for 10 strikeouts on the mound.

Kentucky first baseman TJ Collett had two hits and three RBIs to lead the Wildcats to a 4-2 win over Georgia State. Collett smacked a 2-run home run in the first inning and then snapped a 2-2 the go-ahead double in the seventh inning. Centerfielder Austin Schultz added an RBI single in the eighth inning. 

Mississippi State continued its dominance on the mound in a 4-1 win over Eastern Michigan. The Bulldogs held the Eagles to two runs in the series and have only allowed two runs in the last 54 innings. Jackson Fristoe, Will Bednar and Landon Sims combined for 13 strikeouts on Sunday. Fristoe allowed one run on three hits with three strikeouts in four innings. Bednar logged four scoreless innings with seven strikeouts. Sims struck out the side in the ninth. MSU second baseman Scotty Dubrule went 2-for-4 with one double and three RBIs to pace the MSU offense.

Missouri scored seven runs in the first three innings en route to a 12-7 series-clinching win over Illinois State. The Tigers won three of the four games with the Redbirds in the high-scoring series. Second baseman Mark Vierling, left fielder Brandt Belk and shortstop Joshua Day were a combined 7-for-12 with five runs, five RBIs and three walks. Missouri outscored Illinois State 32-19 in the four game series. The Tigers averaged 10.3 runs per game in the three wins. Vierling led the offense, going 7-for-16 with four runs scored and three RBIs. He had three multi-hit games in the series.

Ole Miss allowed seven runs in the fourth and fifth innings and dropped an 8-3 decision to ULM. Ole Miss starter Derek Diamond was charged with five runs in three-plus innings in the loss. The Rebels also made two errors in the loss. Ole Miss third baseman Tim Elko continued to supply the power on offense with a two-run home run in the first inning. Elko is tied for second in the SEC with seven home runs. All seven homers have come in his last nine games.

South Carolina dropped its third straight game at Texas, dropping an 8-5 decision in the finale. The Gamecocks are now 0-6 all-time vs. the Longhorns, with three losses coming at the College World Series. Texas defeated South Carolina in the 1975 and 2002 National Championship Game. On Sunday, Texas led 8-2 after four innings en route to the sweep. USC starter Julian Bosnic allowed six runs and four hits in three innings. Designated hitter Wes Clarke hit his SEC-leading ninth home run to lead off the third inning. It was his first home run since Feb. 28 against Clemson.

Tennessee centerfielder Drew Gilbert smacked two home runs and drove in five runs to lead the Vols to 9-3 series-clinching win over UNC Greensboro. Gilbert gave the Vols a 2-1 lead with a solo home run in the second inning. He iced the game with a grand slam in the eighth inning. Second baseman Max Ferguson added three hits and catcher Connor Pavolony recorded two hits and scored two runs for the Vols.