Vanderbilt's win over Oklahoma State highlights SEC's opening night

 Chris Lee   in Baseball

The Commodores blanked No. 7 Oklahoma State, providing the league's biggest win

Chris McElvain photo courtesy of Vanderbilt athletics.

Vandy pitching shines in 3-0 blanking of Oklahoma State

Between Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin’s use of the word “uncertain” to describe his pitching situation coming into the year, and the fact that neither Patrick Reilly nor Christian Little—two of the most talented arms in America—did enough to cement weekend starting spots, that begged questions about the Commodores pitching coming into a series with an elite-hitting team.

Well, guess what? Starter Chris McElvain struck out 10 in four innings, Reilly (though wild) struck out seven over the next four and Thomas Schultz added another in the last inning to pick up a save. Second baseman Tate Kolwyck—who suffered two serious hand injuries a year ago—smacked a home run for the ‘Dores.

Johnson, Schlossnagle win debuts

LSU coach Jay Johnson saw his Tigers spank Maine, 13-1, behind seven innings from Blake Money, who struck out 10. The questions with the Tigers revolve around their pitching, and Money's 79-pitch outing was a huge encouragement. 

Texas A&M's Jim Scholssnagle also won his Aggie debut by the same score. Nathan Dettmer allowed one run in six innings with third baseman Trevor Werner leading the team with three hits and four RBIs. 

Florids’s Barco dominantes Flames

Hunter Barco was our preseason SEC Pitcher of the Year and threw like it in UF’s 7-2 win over Liberty. Barco struck out 11 and allowed one run in six innings as Sterlin Thompson added two home runs. 

Georgia’s Cannon returns to form in 4-2 win over Albany

We placed Georgia’s right-hander on our first-team All-SEC squad this preseason and his Friday start showed why. Cannon threw six scoreless innings with nine strikeouts as Ben Anderson and Josh McAllister bashed home runs for the Bulldogs. Cannon’s performance was big for Georgia; 

Cannon was hurt a year ago but has first-round stuff if he’s healthy. In a year in which there aren’t a lot of sure-fire Friday-night aces, a great year from Cannon could give Georgia a bigger-than-usual advantage when he pitches. 

Tennessee’s Burns makes terrific collegiate debut 

It’s not often that a freshman starts an SEC team’s opener, but the Vols trusted Chase Burns—who turned down a lot of pro money to come to Knoxville—on Friday, and Burns responded with five strikeouts in five shutout innings in the Vols’ 9-0 romp over Georgia Southern.

But it wasn’t just Burns’s night that was encouraging. The Vols lost a lot of bats from last year’s potent lineup and four first-year starters—Seth Stephenson, Jorel Ortega, Christian Scott and Trey Lipscomb—all homered in the win.  

Alabama’s Tamez blasts two home runs in ‘Tide debut

Alabama lost one of the league’s best catchers in Sam Praytor after last year, but the Crimson Tide added a JUCO star in Dominic Tamez since then. Tamez hit two of ‘Bama’s three homers (the other coming from returnee Owen Diodati) in Alabama’s 5-4, come-from behind win over Xavier. 

Diamond leads Rebel arms

Ole Miss’s pitching will be in the crosshairs this year but the Rebels’ Derek Diamond fanned eight and allowed two runs in a 9-3 over Charleston Southern. The Ole Miss staff stuck out 14 and walked three and first baseman Tim Elko also homered. 

Sims shows durability in loss to Long Beach State

Yes, Mississippi State’ offense was dismal in getting one-hit in a 3-0 loss to No. 24 Long Beach State, but it wasn’t all bad news in Starkville. Landon Sims, MSU’s lights-out reliever from a year ago, threw an unbelievable 62 strikes in 81 pitches, striking out 13 hitters over seven innings while giving up one run. MSU reliever Parker Stinnett allowed two more runs in the seventh. 

Arkansas’ 28-year opening day streak snapped

The Razorbacks’ incredible string of winning every season opener since 1994 ended Friday with a 3-2 loss to Illinois State. Though Jalen Battles and Zack Gregory smashed home runs, Arkansas reached base just eight times against a pitching staff that had a 5.31 ERA a year ago.

Carolina’s bats come alive

Offense was the problem for South Carolina most of last season. But Andrew Eyster, Vanderbilt transfer Matt Hogan and freshman shortstop Michael Braswell all homered in Carolina’s 9-7 wi over UNC Greensboro. Starting pitcher Will Sanders was also good, allowing one run over five innings. 

Estep, Anu help Kentucky come from behind for road win

Kentucky’s 10-8 win at Jacksonville State didn’t go exactly the way the Wildcats hoped—starter Cole Stupp allowing six runs in four innings wasn’t ideal—but Chase Estep and Oraj Anu helped make up for it. Each had three hits and a home run as the pair combined for five RBIs. 

Tigers pound Nichols

Luke Mann, Trevor Austin and Ty Wilsmeyer hit home runs as Missouri posted a 12-1 win in seven innings at Nicholls State.

Auburn blanked at Oklahoma

It wasn’t a pretty start for the Auburn bats—the Tigers managed just six base runners against four Oklahoma pitchers—but Auburn pitched well in its own right, with JUCO transfer Jordan Armstrong leading the way with four scoreless innings, five strikeouts and two walks with just one hit allowed. Auburn hoped to get more out of Hayden Mullins, a talented arm who allowed all three runs in just two innings.