Tenn. 12, Miss. St. 2
HOOVER, Ala. - No. 4 Tennessee scored early and often in a 12-2 run-rule victory over No. 3 Mississippi State on Thursday at the Hoover Met.
The second-seeded Vols jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning and never looked back, earning their first win in the SEC Tournament since 2007.
Chad Dallas gave the Vols an outstanding start on the mound, holding the Bulldogs' high-powered lineup to just one run on six hits in 6.2 innings of work to earn the win. With the victory, Dallas improved to 10-1 on the year and moved into a tie for 10th on UT's single-season wins list.
Liam Spence and Max Ferguson gave the Big Orange a major jolt at the top of the order, finishing with three hits apiece while combining for four runs and five RBI. Pete Derkay had the biggest hit of the day, blasting a three-run homer during Tennessee's four-run second inning. The senior designated hitter finished 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBI.
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Drew Gilbert (2 H, 2 RBI), Jordan Beck (2 H, 2 R, 1 RBI) and Connor Pavolony (2 H, 3 R, 1 BB) also had productive days at the dish for the Big Orange.
The bats were hot early as the Vols put up a four-spot in the second inning to jump out to an early 4-0 lead, scoring all four runs with two outs. Derkay opened the scoring with a three-run homer to right-center field, his third four-bagger of the year. Pavolony followed with a double and came in to score on a single by Spence one batter later.
Mississippi State responded with a run in the top of the third on a Tanner Allen RBI single. Dallas did well to limit the damage to that one run as he struck out Kamren James on a 3-2 pitch to strand the bases loaded.
Tennessee regained its four-run lead with a solo homer from Beck in the fourth, his team-leading 14th blast of the season. The Big Orange added two more runs in the fifth to extend their lead to 7-1. Spence led off the inning with a single and came in to score on an RBI single by Gilbert. Ferguson scored the second run of the inning as the Vols executed a double steal to tag on another run.
After the Bulldogs were able to scratch across a run in the top of the eighth, UT tagged All-SEC reliever Landon Sims for four runs on five hits in the bottom of the inning to take a 10-run lead and put the run rule into effect.
Tennessee (43-15) moves on to face the loser of today's game between No. 6 seed Florida and No. 10 seed Alabama in another elimination game. That contest is schedule for Friday at 4 p.m. ET on the SEC Network. Winner will advance to Saturday's semifinals.
Ole Miss 4, Georgia 0
HOOVER, Ala. - A phenomenal outing on the mound by Drew McDaniel and timely hitting by the Ole Miss offense was the formula for success as the No. 5 seed Rebels eliminated No. 8 seed Georgia and advanced to Friday in the SEC Tournament.
McDaniel went a career-high 6.2 innings with no runs allowed on just four hits, his first career scoreless start. The freshman out of Lafayette, Louisiana, struck out a career-high 11 batters and walked just two.
Brandon Johnson and Taylor Broadway carried the rock the rest of the way, going 2.1 IP combined to close out the shutout victory over the Bulldogs.
At the plate, it didn't take much of an offensive explosion due to the excellent work from the Rebel arms, but Jacob Gonzalez (2-for-4, RBI), Peyton Chatagnier (2-for-4, RBI), and Kevin Graham (HR) led the pack for Ole Miss as the Rebels capitalized for four runs on seven hits.
Early in the ballgame, Kevin Graham broke the scoring seal in the bottom of the second with a no-doubt home run to right center to give the Rebels a 1-0 lead.
The Rebels added another in the second, beginning with a leadoff double to left by John Rhys Plumlee. Jacob Gonzalez plated the two-sport star on a single to right to make it a two-run Rebel advantage.
Georgia threatened in the fourth with two runners in scoring position after a hard comebacker to McDaniel resulted in an error, but the Rebel pitcher escaped the jam unscathed, striking out Bulldog catcher Fernando Gonzalez to keep it 2-0.
The Rebels made it 4-0 in the second, starting with a one-out hit-by-pitch for Bench, who came around after a Gonzalez single and a Bulldog throwing error. Peyton Chatagnier then drove Gonzalez home with a single to right to extend the gap to four.
McDaniel finally exited after a new career high 6.2 IP, and his fellow first-year Rebel Brandon Johnson quickly capped the seventh and worked a likewise scoreless eighth inning, while the Rebel closer, fresh off of Tuesday's save, handled the ninth with ease as the Rebels improved to 2-1 in the SEC Tournament.
Florida 7, Alabama 2
WEDNESDAY LATE GAME
Vanderbilt 5, Ole Miss 4
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Dominic Keegan hit a slider down and away to score Enrique Bradfield Jr. in the bottom of the ninth inning and No. 4-seed Vanderbilt rallied to beat fifth-seeded Mississippi 5-4 on Wednesday night.
Vanderbilt (40-13) advances to play top-seeded Arkansas on Thursday in the third round of the SEC Tournament while Ole Miss will try to keep its season alive on Thursday against eight-seed Georgia.
Tim Elko continued his torrid hitting for Ole Miss (39-18) hitting two home runs and driving in all four Rebels runs. The senior tore an ACL on April 5, opted to rehab instead of ending his season, and returned to the team on May 8 and immediately hit a three-run home run.
Against the Commodores, Elko hit an opposite-field blast down the right field line to give Ole Miss a 3-1 lead in the top of the sixth.
Vanderbilt scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to knot the score before Elko hit a solo homer to left center two innings later. Elko now has homered four times in his last 23 at-bats.