Ole Miss Baseball Stays In Winner’s Bracket With Win Over South Carolina
HOOVER, Ala. (Ole Miss Athletics) – In the second round of the 2016 Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament, the middle of the batting order powered No. 10 Ole Miss past No. 4 South Carolina, 10-4, Wednesday afternoon at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. The three through seven hitters in the lineup went 12-for-21 (.571) with nine runs and seven RBI to lead the Rebels (42-16) to victory.
Junior catcher Henri Lartigue led Ole Miss at the plate, going 4-for-5 with a career-high four RBI and three runs. Lartigue also belted a three-run home run in the eighth to double the Ole Miss lead and put the game out of reach. J.B. Woodman reached base all five times he stepped up to the plate and scored four times to tie his personal best. Colby Bortles, Tate Blackman and Ryan Olenek put together multi-hit games as well with Bortles smacking his team-leading 19th double of the season that plated two runs.
After an impressive relief outing earlier in the season against the Gamecocks (42-14) in which he allowed just one run over 4.1 innings of relief, sophomore David Parkinson (5-3) was electric once again versus one of the nation’s best teams. The southpaw surrendered just two runs on five hits, tying a career-high in strikeouts with six and earning the win. Pitching for the second straight day, sophomore Will Stokes (7) tossed three scoreless innings to collect his seventh save of the season.
Gene Cone went 3-for-5 to pace South Carolina at the dish. Clarke Schmdt (9-3) suffered only his third loss of the year as Ole Miss tallied seven runs (four earned) and seven hits off the Gamecocks’ ace. Five errors plagued South Carolina, leading to four Rebel runs.
A two-out rally brought a pair of runs across the plate, giving Ole Miss the early advantage. Blackman started it all with a base hit to right field. Continuing his hot hitting, Woodman doubled to right, and Blackman turned on the jets to score. As the throw came to the plate, the ball rolled into the dugout and Woodman never stopped running. The error led to the automatic advancement home, and the Rebels found themselves ahead 2-0.
The Rebels built their lead in the third by taking advantage of two South Carolina miscues. Errol Robinson was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, and the Ole Miss shortstop stole second to get into scoring position. After Woodman walked, Lartigue delivered his second hit of the game with a single up the middle. Robinson scored easily, and an error in center field allowed Woodman to cross the plate. Capping off the inning, Bortles hit a grounder that squirted away from the South Carolina third baseman; Lartigue’s run made it a five-run game. However, South Carolina countered with two runs in the bottom half of the frame to cut into the Ole Miss lead, 5-2.
In the fifth, the middle of the order came through again to plate two more runs. After making a diving catch in center to help the Rebels get out of the fourth, Woodman smacked a one-out single. For the third straight at-bat, Lartigue recorded a base hit to put two on for Bortles. The double machine ripped a two-bagger to the left-center gap that scored Woodman and Lartigue to bring the cushion back to five. Heading back to the mound, Parkinson retired the Gamecocks in order to keep it 7-2 in favor of the Rebels.
Parkinson quickly got two outs in the sixth before South Carolina loaded the bases to force the Ole Miss starter out of the game. Freshman Andy Pagnozzi came out of the bullpen and got the Rebels out of the jam as a pop-up to first ended the inning.
Just like they did in the third, the Gamecocks sliced the lead back to three, scoring two runs in the seventh. Three hits, including a pair of infield singles, led to the pair of runs. Stokes limited the damage and stranded one South Carolina runner on base. Through seven innings of play, Ole Miss maintained a 7-4 advantage.
The Rebels answered South Carolina’s scoring by doubling their lead in the eighth. Blackman singled and Woodman reached base for the fifth time in the game, setting up Lartigue’s three-run blast that cleared the bases. With his fourth hit of the contest leaving the yard, the Rebels took their biggest lead of the game, 10-4.
With a comfortable cushion, Stokes made sure the Gamecocks didn’t threaten in the later innings. His three innings of scoreless work earned him the save and secured another conference tournament victory for Ole Miss.
The Rebels will continue SEC Tournament play tomorrow in the winners’ bracket. Ole Miss will meet No. 6 Vanderbilt for the first time this season. First pitch is set for 4:30 p.m. CT Thursday evening on SEC Network.
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