SEC Tournament report:

Murphy handles humidity

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Friday, May 25, 2018
Arkansas pitcher Kacey Murphy throws during an SEC Tournament game against South Carolina on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in Hoover, Ala.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Arkansas pitcher Kacey Murphy throws during an SEC Tournament game against South Carolina on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in Hoover, Ala.

HOOVER, Ala. -- Arkansas Razorbacks' left-hander Kacey Murphy picked up his seventh victory of the year and his second over South Carolina early Thursday morning at the Hoover Met, but the junior did not dominate as he had in a 2-0 victory on April 14.

In that game, played in 40-degree temperatures, Murphy lost a perfect game bid with no outs in the top of the seventh of the seven-inning game and settled for a combined one-hitter with Matt Cronin.

In the second meeting, humidity was listed at 100 percent at first pitch and players from both teams had sweat poring off their forearms and faces for much of the game.

Murphy's stat line was not impressive, as he allowed 5 earned runs on 5 hits and 2 walks with just 2 strikeouts and saw his ERA rise to 3.15.

However, Coach Dave Van Horn and the Razorbacks were impressed with his stuff.

"He was throwing his fastball anywhere from 89 to 91 and located it pretty well," Van Horn said. "He throws a nice change-up and a slider and he kept them off-balance.

"He had to throw too many pitches, you know. We should have turned a double play. There should have been some plays made, but they weren't. He didn't panic, didn't get upset. Showed a lot of maturity. I have a lot of confidence in him."

Wet ball

The Arkansas Razorbacks overcame five errors in its 13-8 victory over South Carolina on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Pitcher Kacey Murphy had a throwing error in the third inning that led to South Carolina's first run. Shortstop Jack Kenley made a fielding error in the fourth that was erased by a double play ball.

Second baseman Carson Shaddy booted a potential double play grounder in the Gamecocks' five-run sixth inning. Third baseman Casey Martin was given two errors, including an errant throw in the ninth as South Carolina scored two more runs.

Coach Dave Van Horn thought the high humidity, rain during the day and the late-night dew played a role in the shaky defense.

"The downfall, a little bit, was the defense," Van Horn said. "Obviously ... a couple of plays the ball was absolutely soaking wet. That play there in the ninth, you know, I don't blame Martin one bit on that. He fielded it and threw it and you know - you saw what their second baseman did when he held onto it a little too long. It's hard to play in this when the ball stays in the grass that long."

Not in pink

The Arkansas Razorbacks will be without one of their jersey combinations for the near future after a laundering mistake in Athens, Ga., last weekend.

It is customary for the home team to wash the jerseys of the traveling team in their industrial-sized washers, particularly in a case like the Razorbacks, who were not returning to Fayetteville after their series against Georgia last week.

Arkansas officials arranged to have the Bulldogs' equipment team wash their red jerseys, white jerseys and white pants over the weekend. The big problem: they were washed together and the crimson jerseys bled onto the whites, turning them pink.

The Razorbacks have just two sets of jerseys in Hoover, their cream-colored combo, typically worn on home Sundays, and their road grays.

The laundering error was accidental, a UA official said.

Seed us

Georgia Coach Scott Stricklin made a straightforward case for his team to get a top 16 national seed, despite going 0-2 at the SEC Tournament.

"We have 29 wins against top 50 teams and there's only one with more and it's Florida," Stricklin said. "I think we're a lock to be a national seed. Our kids have earned it. ... We're a national seed. We've earned that right."

Big draw

Auburn right-hander Casey Mize, a potential first pick of the major league baseball amateur draft next month, drew a large crowd of scouts and even top team personnel on Thursday night.

Mize, who has a plus fastball that has peaked at 96 mph, also has high quality secondary pitches in his cut fastball and splitter and a solid breaking ball.

Mize entered Thursday's start against Texas A&M with a 9-4 record, a 2.94 ERA, and 133 strikeouts and 10 walks in 95 innings.

Mize, Florida pitchers Brady Singer and Jackson Kowart, Florida third baseman Jonathan India, and Ole Miss pitcher Ryan Rolison are considered likely first-round picks.

Key replay

LSU benefited from an officials review to take a 3-2 lead over South Carolina in the eighth inning of what became a 6-4 victory for the Tigers in 12 innings.

LSU outfielder Antoine Duplantis was originally ruled out by home plate umpire Ryan Morehead on a play at the plate, when he tagged up and ran home on Hunter Feduccia's fly ball to right field.

The play went to a review and the call was overturned as it was clear South Carolina catcher Hunter Taylor missed his tag attempt on Duplantis' arm and the runner was able to tap his fingers on the edge of the plate on his head-first slide.

RPI boost

Arkansas moved up one spot in the D1Baseball.com RPI rankings on Thursday to No. 3 behind Florida and Stanford. The Razorbacks swapped positions with No. 4 Georgia, which lost 7-0 to Texas A&M in its first game in Hoover.

Arkansas as the No. 3 strength of schedule and that metric will only improve after its winner's bracket game against defending national champion Florida late Thursday.

Run dry

Georgia snapped a 33-inning scoreless streak at the SEC Tournament with a seventh inning run in its 5-4 loss to Ole Miss on Thursday.

The drought stretched back to a 5-1 loss against Ole Miss on May 24, 2016, exactly two years ago.

Georgia went 0-2 in Hoover to stretch its losing streak at the SECs to eight games, dating to a 4-3 victory over Florida on May 28, 2011. Four of the Bulldogs' last five losses in Hoover have been to either Ole Miss or Mississippi State.

At a glance

SEC BASEBALL TOURNAMENT

at Hoover (Ala.) Metropolitan Stadium

All times Central

THURSDAY’S GAMES

(2) Mississippi 5, (3) Georgia 4 (10)

(8) LSU 6, (5) South Carolina 4 (12)

(11) Texas A&M 4, (7) Auburn 2

TODAY’S GAMES

GAME 12 (1) Florida vs. (4) Arkansas, 10 a.m.

GAME 13 (3) Georgia vs. (7) Auburn, 3 p.m. GAME 14 (8) LSU vs. Game 12 loser, 30 minutes after Game 13 ends

Sports on 05/25/2018

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