Ole Miss Avoids Sweep, Captures Six Seed
BATON ROUGE, La. (WCBI Sports/Ole Miss Athletics) – In a reversal of fortunes from the previous two nights, the Rebels proved to be the team using power to win on Saturday, belting out four home runs as No. 14 Ole Miss (36-20, 15-15 SEC) rallied to defeat No. 2 LSU (48-8, 23-7 SEC) by a score of 11-9.
The Rebels got three-run shots from Preston Overbey and Austin Anderson, combined with two-run shots from Will Allen and Overbey to help power to the win. Ten of the Rebels’ 11 runs came on home runs in the series finale.
Freshman Matt Denny (2-1) picked up the win in relief, working 0.2 innings and allowing one hit after entering the game in the sixth. Denny got the Rebels out of the sixth before Ole Miss would plate five runs in the seventh to take the lead it would never relinquish.
Senior Brett Huber picked up his 12th save of the season, working the final 2.2 and holding LSU off the board to give the Rebels the win. The 12 wins ties Huber’s personal best for saves in a season set as a freshman in 2010. He is one save shy of tying three-time All-America Stephen Head for the single season save record.
Kevin Berry (4-1), who picked up the win in relief the night before, took the loss for the Tigers as he allowed three runs on four hits with a strikeout in 0.2 innings of work. Berry entered the game in the seventh with two men on base and gave up a three-run home run to Overbey in the first at bat and the two-run home run to Allen two batters later as the Rebels grabbed the lead.
“This was a big win today for so many reasons,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “The biggest might be that it was a game in which we had to fight back and keep swinging after falling behind early. I’m proud of the guys for continuing to battle and fight today after a tough loss last night. It’s big for us as we move forward and look to the SEC Tournament next week and then the start of the NCAA Tournament the following week.”
The Rebels got on the board first when Preston Overbey crushed a two-run shot over the stands in left field to give Ole Miss the 2-0 lead in the second inning. Andrew Mistone scored on the play, reaching on a single to open the inning and taking second on a groundout from Orvis.
LSU rallied in the third, using a single and then a well-executed hit-and-run to put men at the corners to start things off. A strikeout put the first out on the board before another hit-and-run through the left side brought a run home and kept men at the corners. LSU then got back-to-back singles to push two more runs home and take the 3-2 lead.
A wild pitch moved a second man into scoring position before Chris Chinea hit a sac fly to right to make it 4-2 in favor of the Tigers. A walk put men at the corners again and the Rebels turned to the bullpen for right-hander Chris Ellis.
The Tigers then got an RBI single and a two-RBI double to take the lead out to 7-2 before Ole Miss would get out of the inning.
Ole Miss answered in a big way in the top of the fourth when Austin Anderson drilled a three-run home run to right field to cut the lead to 7-5. Tanner Mathis and Auston Bousfield scored on the play after drawing a pair of walks to reach base.
LSU took the lead back out to four with a pair of runs in the sixth, but the Rebels had different plans. Preston Overbey with a three-run shot and Will Allen with a two-run shot gave Ole Miss the 10-9 lead at the stretch.
The Tigers responded in the bottom of the inning, using a leadoff double to put a man in scoring position. A sac bunt moved him to third and the Rebels turned to the bullpen for Huber. The senior got a groundout and a strikeout to end the inning and maintain the lead for Ole Miss heading to the eighth.
The Rebels added a run in the eighth inning when Stuart Turner scored from third on a double play ball. Turner singled to open the inning and took third on a single to left center from Mistone, setting up the score on the Orvis ground ball that put Ole Miss up 11-9.
Huber then closed things out for the Rebels with a scoreless eighth and ninth as the Rebels picked up the win.
Ole Miss will open the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Tuesday as the sixth seed and will face the 11th-seeded Kentucky Wildcats at 9:30 a.m. at Regions Park.