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Georgia makes grand statement in SEC tournament opener


Danny P Smith



HOOVER, Ala. -- University of Mississippi''s Drew Pomeranz looked like an All-Southeastern Conference pitcher through five innings Wednesday against Georgia. 


One swing of the bat in the sixth inning changed that. 


After shutting out the sixth-seeded Bulldogs on one hit through five innings, Pomeranz didn''t survive the sixth and surrendered a grand slam to Georgia''s Matt Cerione, which was the difference in a 6-3 loss. 


"Drew was cruising until that one inning," said Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco, whose team is ranked No. 7 in the nation. "Georgia was able to put the big-inning together. It was the difference-maker in the game." 


Pomeranz (6-4) was named Tuesday to the All-SEC second team. Going into this 13th start of the season, Pomeranz had a team-high 82 strikeouts and opponents were only hitting .261 against him. 


On Wednesday, Pomeranz gave up three hits and recorded only one out in the sixth. 


After surrendering back-to-back singles to Zach Cone and Levi Hyams, Miles Starr reached on a fielder''s choice and Pomeranz walked Peter Verdin to load the bases. 


That set the stage for Cerione, who blasted an 0-1 pitch to the deepest part of Regions Park, about 405 feet away in left-center field. 


Pomeranz, who had struck out and walked Cerione in his first two at-bats, said it was probably a mistake staying with the curve against the left-handed No. 2 batter. 


"He had been struggling hitting the curveball until that point," Pomeranz said. "When I went back to it, he just put a good swing on it. There was nothing else you could do about it." 


Cerione admits he didn''t have very much luck against Pomeranz in his first two at-bats and he wasn''t trying to hit a home run in his third try. 


A hit to drive home Hyams would have been just fine with Cerione, but after fouling off another curve, he found a pitch to his liking. 


"I stayed on my legs and got a hold of it," Cerione said. "(Pomeranz) is a great guy and he battles. He is a competitor. He got the best of me, too, but I got one good swing off of him." 


The loss drops third-seeded Ole Miss (40-16) into the losers'' bracket and means it will have to face Florida at 10 a.m. today in an elimination game. 


As the Rebels continue postseason play, they hope to do more with the hits they get. Ole Miss outhit No. 21 Georgia 10-9, but none of them were extra base hits. The Rebels stranded 12 runners on base. 


"What happened today, and I told our guys this, is just baseball," Bianco said. "We missed out on too many opportunities against a very talented Georgia team." 


Senior left-hander Brett Bukvich (9-2) will take the mound for the Rebels, while Florida will start freshman right-hander Anthony DeScalfani (5-3). 


Kyle Henson -- the reigning SEC Player of the Week -- went 3-for-5 with an RBI to lead the Rebels. 


n South Carolina 9, Alabama 5, 11 innings: The University of South Carolina baseball team had to work late for an opening-round win the Southeastern Conference tournament. 


The Gamecocks scored four times in the top of the 11th inning early to beat Alabama in a game that ended early Thursday morning. 


South Carolina (38-19) extended its winning streak to eight straight games and gave the bottom four seeds a sweep over the top seeds on Wednesday. 


SEC Player of the Year Kent Matthes provided the brightest spot with his 28th home run of the season to tie the game 5-5 in the seventh.He now holds the single-season mark for homers at Alabama (37-18). 


South Carolina is scheduled to play Vanderbilt at 8:30 tonight, while Alabama will play LSU at 1:30 p.m. 


n Vanderbilt 4, LSU 1: Mike Minor pitched a complete-game six-hitter and Curt Casali had two RBI to lead eighth-seeded Vanderbilt past top-seeded LSU. 


Casali hit a sacrifice fly to deep centerfield that brought home Brian Harris in the fifth inning, giving Vanderbilt a 2-0 lead. 


Casali added an RBI double off the left-field fence in the seventh, scoring Jonathan White to make the score 3-0. 


Minor (6-4) threw six scoreless innings before giving up his only run on a fielder''s choice in the seventh. 


Andrew Giobbi opened the scoring for Vanderbilt with a solo home run in the fourth off Austin Ross (5-7). 


Vanderbilt (32-24) will play the winner of the late game between Alabama and South Carolina. 


LSU (41-16) will play the loser of that game at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. 


n Arkansas 8, Florida 5: Stephen Richards got Josh Adams to hit into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded to help Arkansas beat No. 2 seed Florida in the first game of the day at Regions Park. 


Richards and Mike Bolsinger combined on five-plus scoreless innings of relief for the seventh-seeded Razorbacks (33-20). 


Zack Cox hit a solo home run in the top of the ninth and Chase Leavitt and Travis Sample each drove in a pair of runs for Arkansas. Richards picked up his ninth save. 


Florida (38-19) had loaded the bases with two walks and a single before Adams grounded out to shortstop. 


Preston Tucker drove in three runs for the Gators. 








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