HOOVER, Ala. — Live from Regions Park in Hoover, Ala., for Day 2 of the Southeastern Conference’s SEC Tournament. Game 7 pits Ole Miss (37-20 overall) and Alabama (35-21). Today’s game, which is set for a 4:36 p.m. first pitch, will be televised on CSS. It will also be broadcast locally on 89.7 FM and 93.7/105.5FM in Oxford.
Both Ole Miss and Alabama won their first games in the tournament to meet in Day 2′s first winner’s bracket game. Alabama knocked off Auburn 7-1, while the Rebels defeated South Carolina 3-0. The winner of today’s game will get Friday off, while the loser will play Auburn at 3 p.m. on Friday.
DAY 2 (SO FAR):
Auburn 3, South Carolina 1: Auburn avoided being the first team sent home from Hoover with a 3-1 victory over South Carolina in 12 innings in the day’s first game. Auburn closer Austin Hubbard earned the win, pitching 4.2 scoreless innings in relief of All-SEC Second Team member Dayton Grant. Tagged with the loss was USC closer Mike Price, who allowed two runs in 3.2 innings. With the loss, second-seeded South Carolina is the first team sent home from the tournament. As USC coach Ray Tanner said following the team’s practice on Tuesday, they took the tournament seriously and were hoping to make a run. Since they’re headed back to Columbia, however, the Gamecocks will now have two-a-days until the NCAA Tournament begins. As for Auburn, the Tigers will now face the loser of LSU-Vanderbilt on Friday.
Florida 5, Arkansas 3: The Florida Gators were able to avoid being sent packing with a 5-3 victory over Arkansas in Game 6 of the tournament. After getting three runs in the first three innings and chasing Arkansas starter Mike Bolsinger, the Gators added two more insurance runs in the fourth and eighth innings to hold onto their lead. Earning the win for UF was starter Alex Panteliodis, while Bolsinger was tagged with the loss. Arkansas is the second team to head home from the tournament, while Florida will now face the loser between Ole Miss and Alabama on Friday at 3 p.m.
LOOKING BACK: Recapping Alabama’s 2-1 series win earlier this year:
—Rebels hold on for 5-4 win.
—Nelson stifles Ole Miss’ bats in 4-1 win.
—Rebels drop Game 3 at Alabama.
—Kilcrease, Nelson silence Rebel bats.
CF Taylor Dugas
SS Josh Rutledge
2B Ross Wilson
1B Clay Jones
DH David Kindred
3B Jake Smith
LF Jon Kelton
RF Andrew Miller
C Brock Bennett
RHP Nathan Kilcrease (5-2, 2.39 ERA)
Ole Miss (37-20)
CF Tim Ferguson
3B Zach Miller
DH Matt Snyder
1B Matt Smith
RF David Phillips
2B Alex Yarbrough
LF Taylor Hashman
C Miles Hamblin
SS Kevin Mort
RHP Aaron Barrett (7-3, 4.03 ERA)
Alabama 1, Ole Miss 0 (Top 5th): Alabama got on the scoreboard first in the top of the fifth when after walking and stealing second, Taylor Dugas scored on a single to left field by Josh Rutledge.
Alabama 3, Ole Miss 0 (Top 6th): The Tide extended their lead to 3-0 in the top of the sixth thanks to a run-scoring triple by Jon Kelton that scored former Rebel David Kindred, and a RBI-single by Brock Bennett that scored Kelton. On Bennett’s single, it was executed as a squeeze play, and as Ole Miss pitcher Aaron Barrett fielded the ball, second baseman Alex Yarbrough was late getting to first base, allowing Bennett to reach without a throw.
Alabama 4, Ole Miss 0 (Top 7th): In the seventh, Alabama tacked on one run courtesy of a sacrifice fly to center field by Jake Smith that scored Ross Wilson from third base. Following Wilson’s leadoff single, Barrett was pulled in favor of right-hander Rory McKean.
Alabama 4, Ole Miss 1 (Bottom 7th): Ole Miss finally ended Alabama’s shutout in the bottom of the seventh when David Phillips singled to right field, scoring Matt Smith from second base. Smith had hit a double to right-center in the previous at-bat, ending Alabama starter Nathan Kilcrease‘s streak of retiring 17-straight Rebel batters.
Alabama 6, Ole Miss 1 (Top 8th): Rutledge pushed Alabama’s lead to 5-1 in the eighth with a single through the left side that scored Bennett from third base. Rutledge would score two at-bats later when Clay Jones hit the first ball he saw from reliever Eric Callender into right field for an RBI-single.
Alabama 6, Ole Miss 2 (Bottom 8th): For the second day in a row Miles Hamblin hit a ball out of the park, leading off the bottom of the eighth inning with a home run over the right field wall. It was Hamblin’s sixth homer of the season.
Alabama 6, Ole Miss 3 (Bottom 9th): The Rebels wouldn’t go quietly into the night. In the bottom of the ninth, with Kilcrease looking to pick up his second complete game victory against Ole Miss this season, Yarbrough singled to center field, scoring Matt Smith from second base. Taylor Hashman‘s single through the left side in the next at-bad would force Alabama skipper Mitch Gaspard to pull his starter, who then trotted off the field to the delighted roar of the crowd for a job well done.
Ole Miss will look to avoid elimination on Friday, facing Auburn at 3 p.m. (May 27, 2010)