Round 1 Game 4: Mississippi State 3 - Georgia 0
State may be the team that benefits the most from the weather issues in Hoover, as the extra day off allowed Konnor Pilkington enough rest to pitch a gem for MSU. Going 8 innings and allwoing 5 hits with no runs and 6 strikeouts en rout to the shutout win over Georgia. His offense backed hime up right in the 1st with a Brent Rooker 2 run HR. Rooker also scored in the 3rd inning from 3rd base on a sac fly by Hunter Vansau. That was all State needed as Georgia looked lifeless at the plate.
State advances to face Arkansas on Thursday morning, in a game that was to be the Wednesday night finale, meaning Arkansas will be playing with basically a full week of rest. Georgia’s season is over.
Round 2 Game 1: Kentucky 7 - South Carolina 2
It was a tall order for USC to face offensive power house Kentucky and come away with a win, especially given how the ball has been flying out of the park this week in Hoover. The game stayed close early as both teams scored 2 runs in the 3rd on ground balls, sac flies, and RBI doubles. Kentucky started to pull away in the 4th on a monstrous solo shot HR by Kole Cottam that nearly cleared the batter’s eye is straight away center field. The wildcats put the game away in the 6th when Evan White notched a bases loaded double to right center that scored 3. Kentucky tacked on an extra insurance run in the 8th on South Carolina’s 3rd and 4th errors of the day.
South Carolina will face the Mizzou in an elimination game on Thursday while Kentucky moves to the winner’s bracket against LSU.
Round 2 Game 2: LSU 10 - Mizzou 3
Thanks to Todd Peterson winning the LSU Baseball Postseason Violation of Team Rules Lottery for 2017, Caleb Gilbert was instead given the starting job for LSU’s opening tournament game and he did not disappoint. While he did give up a solo shot HR to Kameron Misner in the 2nd, Gilbert only gave up 3 hits in his 5.0 IP outing. The LSU bats backed him up with a 4 spot in the 4th from RBI singles and sac flys. Duplantis would add another RBI single in the 5th before the skies opened up and the game stopped for another lengthy delay which ended the outings of both starting pitchers. Once resumed, Nick Coomes would add another run on a ground out to the SS for a 6-1 lead after 5. Things chugged along from there, with a good middle relief outing from Nick Bush, until Zach Hess came in in the 8th. Mizzou’s lead off man reached on a throwing error by Freeman and later scored when Robertson had to eat a tricky ground ball single, making the score 6-2. TV showed Hunter Newman beginning to warm.
Thankfully, the LSU bats struck again. In the bottom of the 8th, Robertson got an RBI double, then Freeman followed him with a 3 run homer. With the sudden 8 run lead, Paul Mainieri ran down to the LSU bullpen himself during a Mizzou pitching meeting to stop Newman from getting any more warmed up. Instead, Matthew Beck was put in in the 9th, and while he did give up a solo shot home run, that would be all the rally Mizzou could muster.
Mizzou next faces elimination against South Carolina in the 2nd game of the Thursday Morning session while LSU faces Kentucky in the Thursday Night finale for a place in the semi-final round.
Round 2 Game 3: Florida 5 - Auburn 4
A sloppy mess of a game that ended after 1am local time, Mother Nature giveth-ed and taketh-ed away from Auburn in a cruel fashion. The game started with Florida building a small lead while ace Alex Faedo had a brilliant 6 hit, 7 K, 6 scoreless innings performance. The Gators scored first in the 3rd inning when catcher Mike Rivera got on thanks to a ball to short right lost in the lights and was brought home on an RBI single. Florida added 3 more RBI hits in the 4th and it started to look like Auburn had no chance to save this one.
Then the 7th inning came around. A leadoff single and a walk chased Faedo from the game as the heavy rains started again. An E5 on a ground ball to 3rd would score the first Auburn run, then a walk loaded the bases as the rain intensified to the point that I was almost certain another delay would be called. Auburn’s Conor Davis sent a 2-out liner deep into the RF corner for a double that should have scored 3, but Dylan Ingram slipped on the rain drenched turf while rounding third and had to scramble back to the bag instead of scoring. As Florida’s relief arms struggled to gain control in the deluge, Ingram would later score on a wild pitch that splashed into the backstop, tying the game.
It remained tied until the bottom of the 8th, when Auburn’s relief pitching finally ran into control issues of their own. Single, walk, single, walk and Florida retook the lead for the final time, an inning too early for a fabled walk-off shrimp.
Auburn moves on to face the Loser of Thursday Morning’s Arkansas-Miss St. game at 4:30 on Thursday, a huge advantage since their opponent will have to play a double header. Florida gets tomorrow off and will face the ARK-MSU Winner on Friday morning.
Thursday, May 25th Schedule
Game 8: #4 Arkansas vs #5 Mississippi State 9:30 AM
Game 9: #11 South Carolina vs #10 Missouri TBD
Game 10: #8 Auburn vs Loser Game 8 4:30 PM
Game 11: #3 Kentucky vs #2 LSU TBD
As always, all games can be seen live on SEC Network and the WatchESPN app. Also, the great neutral SEC Radio Network feed is live for the entire tournament on satellite radio, Westwood One affiliates nationwide, and the Tunein streaming service.
We’ll be posting a separate gamethread before LSU/UK starts.