SEC Baseball Tournament: Arkansas, Florida Advance to Semifinals

Photo Arkansas Athletics

HOOVER, AL – After four days of competition in the 2014 SEC Tournament, the field of 12 has been narrowed down to four. Louisiana State and Kentucky clinched their semifinal bids on Thursday, leaving a pair of match-ups between Arkansas and Mississippi, as well as Florida and Mississippi State to determine which two teams would advance to Saturday’s semifinal contests.

As such, Arkansas and Florida displayed muscle on Friday, setting up an Eastern Division matchup between Florida and Kentucky at 4:30 p.m. and a Western Division matchup between Arkansas and Louisiana State at 1:00 p.m.

Without further a do, below is a recap of Games 13 and 14 of the 2014 SEC Tournament that took place on Friday, May 23:

Game 13: Arkansas 8, Mississippi 7

After suffering a loss at the hands of Louisiana State on Thursday, the Arkansas Razorbacks will have another shot to even the score against the Tigers on Saturday, as the Razorbacks rebounded Friday afternoon against the Mississippi Rebels, scoring late in the game to move on in the SEC Tournament.

As for the Rebels, after dropping their tournament opener to the Razorbacks on Wednesday and rebounding with a victory over Vanderbilt on Thursday, Oxford’s finest were eliminated from further contention in the tournament, but early on in Friday’s contest, the Rebels looked as if a trip to the semifinals was all but wrapped up – however, the Razorbacks had other plans.

Mississippi came out of the gates swinging, plating runs in each of the first three frames. Austin Anderson got things going in the bottom of the first with an RBI single through the left side, plating Braxton Lee for the first run of the game. The Rebels would send home two more in the inning, to be followed by Will Allen’s two-run single to left center in the bottom of the second.

After Errol Robinson’s grounder to first allowed J.B. Woodman to score in the bottom of the third, the Rebels owned a 6-0 lead over their Western Division rivals. However, the sizeable lead was short-lived, as the Razorbacks rebounded with three runs in the top of the fourth.

Eric Fisher commenced the rally with an RBI single to center, plating Joe Serrano for Arkansas’ first run of the game. Tyler Spoon followed with a sac fly to center and Josh Alberius reached on a fielder’s choice to allow Brian Anderson to cross the plate for the third run of the inning.

K.J. Wilkerson led the charge with an RBI double in the top of the fifth, as the Diamond Hogs plated three to tie the ball game at 6-6. However, a grounder to third by Sikes Orvis allowed Anderson to score the Rebels’ seventh run on the afternoon and retake the lead.

Alberius tied it back up for the Razorbacks in the top of the eighth with an RBI single that plated Spoon – but it would be Brian Anderson’s sac fly to center in the top of the ninth that gave Arkansas their eighth run and the go-ahead lead heading into the bottom half of the ninth.

Jacob Stone worked a 1-2-3 inning to cement the 8-7 victory for Arkansas, who will face Louisiana State on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. for a chance at advancing to the SEC Tournament finals on Sunday.

SEC Baseball Game 14: Florida 5, Mississippi State 1

After ending up on the losing end of Thursday evening’s 12-inning affair with Kentucky, the Mississippi State Bulldogs found little relief in their Friday matchup against Florida, as the Gators handed the Bulldogs a 5-0 shutout loss and an ousting from the SEC Tournament.

Having handled South Carolina in Thursday’s 7-2 victory, the Gators carried over that winning momentum to Friday’s contest. Peter Alonso got things going in the top of the second, jumping on the first pitch he saw from Bulldogs’ starter Brandon Woodruff, a grounder to short misfielded by shortstop Seth Heck that allowed both Braden Mattson and Taylor Gushue to score.

However, Alonso was not yet finished. In the top of the fourth, the freshman took a 1-1 pitch from Woodruff up the middle for a base hit, plating Mattson for the Gators’ third run of the game. Alonso later scored on a Josh Tobias RBI single up the middle in the sixth, extending Florida’s lead to four runs.

The Gators added a fifth run in the top of the seventh, as Gushue ripped a grounder to third with Harrison Bader and Richie Martin in scoring position, ultimately plating Martin in the process.

Mississippi State would not give Florida a legitimate challenge until the bottom of the eighth, as Matthew Britton and C.T. Bradford grabbed a pair of singles to put runners on the corners for Brett Pirtle, who sent a sac fly to left to plate Britton for the Bulldogs’ first run of the game.

That would be all for either team, as Justin Shafer tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to seal the 5-1 victory for the Gators. Sophomore southpaw Danny Young tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings before handing the ball over to Shafer in the fifth, who surrendered just a single run on two hits over 4 2/3 innings of strong relief.

Florida will now face Kentucky in Saturday’s semifinal matchup at 4:30 p.m. for a chance at facing either Arkansas or Louisiana State in Sunday’s tournament final.

About the Author

Josh Vadeboncoeur
Follow Josh on Twitter @vadeboncoeurCBC Josh is currently a student at the University of Florida pursuing a Master of Science degree in Sport Management. He’s an avid fan and scholar of the game, who although has a place in his heart for his Gators, is as objective as they come. Josh is a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, giving him official votes in the Dick Howser Trophy, Regional Players of the Year, and NCBWA All-America voting. Josh’s knowledge of the game of baseball ranges from the post-Civil War baseball boom to the current modern era, covering topics such as business and politics of the game to the minor leagues to negro league baseball and even international expansion. But most of all, a strong passion lies in his heart for college baseball.