SEC Tournament Day Two – Pitching Power
Day two also brought the elimination of home state favorite Alabama. Losing the day before, Alabama had its hands full with Florida starting pitcher Bryan Augenstein on day two. With both teams facing elimination, Augenstein threw a complete game giving up eight hits while rendering no walks and striking out eight.
Florida began the day with a miniature picket fence, scoring one run in each of the first, second and third innings. Alabama could only score one run in the meantime coming on a Del Howell fielder's choice.
Alabama would squeeze another run across the plate in the top of the ninth, but that would be all before their bus ride back to Tuscaloosa.
"I was a little tired, but in close games you have to give it all you've got," said Augenstein, "You never know what's going to happen."
Game six would bring yet another near no hitter. All SEC pitcher and possible number one draft pick David Price could not be outdone by Arkansas' Schmidt and Tennessee's Adkins. Price took his bid into the seventh inning before finally giving up a hit.
Nine innings pitched while allowing only five hits, zero walks and eleven strikeouts, Price had the Bulldogs right where he wanted them. The first hit came from RF Jeffrey Rea, with another coming from LF Joseph McCaskill. Another double, this one by Mitch Moreland, would bring another Bulldog run across home plate.
With the score 3-2 after six and a half innings of play, Price shut down the Bulldogs with a dominant performance that seemed to out do his own incredible season.
With all of the scoring done, Vanderbilt looked to a showdown with Tennessee yet again. The winner gets a red hot Ole Miss team ready to hit.
"This was one very well pitched game by David Price," said Vanderbilt Head Coach Tim Corbin, "When you think you've seen a good game he's pitched, he throws another one at you."
Even with no-hit bids popping up every other game, Arkansas RHP Jess Todd had the performance of the tournament Thursday striking out 17 Gamecocks, including the first nine he faced.
With Arkansas able to get to South Carolina ace Arik Hempy for two runs in the first inning and then add another three on a Craig Forsythe home run in the third, the Gamecocks looked troubled.
Up and down the order Todd went – strike one, strike two, strike three. Through four complete innings, Todd had eleven strike outs. Through five innings he had fourteen. James Darnell would be the only victim in the sixth, giving him the record for strikeouts in a game at the SEC Tournament, not to mention breaking the Arkansas record for strikeouts in a game.
"He had a great slider. He located his pitches well," said Gamecock third baseman James Darnell, "He was making us chase. His fastball had movement and he was really working his ball."
Todd, having thrown 120 pitches after eight innings could not continue on into the ninth, but the damage was done.
"Today was the first day all year I had command of all three pitches," said Todd, "I got ahead in the count, and it really helped me deep in the game."
With Arkansas receiving Friday afternoon off, the Gamecocks will host the Florida Gators to see who gets the pleasure of trying to knock off the Razorbacks twice in a row on Saturday.
Though David Price and Jess Todd put on quite a show, this was the game of the night as far as crowd involvement goes. The Ole Miss fans were fired up from the beginning and never let up. By the third or fourth inning, Tennessee had their fans almost as riled up as the guys on the field.
Ole Miss would put five runs on the board in the top of the first inning. In the fourth inning, the Rebels would tack on an insurance run that would prove to be the final run of the game.
Tennessee would have to wait for their opportunity until the sixth inning. With two aboard, Tony Delmonico put a charge into a Lance Lynn pitch that landed beyond the left field wall making the score 6-3.
The highlight of the game would come in the later innings as Mississippi Head Coach Mike Bianco got ejected for arguing balls and strikes. By this time the fans, obviously divided behind their respective teams dugouts, were as heated as Bianco. Yelling louder at each other with every pitch, the volley became almost comical.
The scoring would end after the Delmonico home run though, leaving Tennessee a rematch with Vanderbilt Friday evening at 6:30 p.m.
"The key to the game was jumping out to an early lead. To get ahead against one of the best pitchers in the SEC is a good feeling," said Bianco, "We did a really good job against Cobb."
UPCOMING ON FRIDAY
At this point only Ole Miss and Arkansas are undefeated. As a reward they'll receive Friday off while all four 1-1 teams battle it out. South Carolina takes on Florida at 3 p.m. while Vanderbilt hosts Tennessee at 6:30 p.m.
The winners of each game will have to sweep a double header on Saturday if they plan on being around for Sunday's Championship game.
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