Late Rally Pushes Ole Miss to Sunday Win
OXFORD, Miss. -- Trailing by three runs in the sixth inning, Kentucky rallied for five runs in the top of the sixth inning but the Ole Miss Rebels plated three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and held off the Wildcats, posting a 6-5 win on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in front of 8,003 at Swayze Field.
Kentucky (17-20, 2-13 Southeastern Conference) mounted a rally behind three runs in the sixth inning, plating five runs to take a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning. The Rebels got a pair of lead-off doubles to spark the rally, lifting the Rebels to the series sweep. In the three games, Ole Miss won a 3-2 game on Friday, a 12-10 contest on Saturday and the 6-5 game on Sunday, by a combined four runs.
The Wildcats tallied nine hits and five runs in the game, also drawing four walks and getting plunked by a pitch. Senior shortstop Taylor Black led UK with three hits, adding one RBI. Braden Kapteyn belted his fifth homer of the year in the big sixth inning, giving UK a two-run lead. The Wildcats also got hits from Chad Wright, Luke Maile, J.T. Riddle, Brian Adams and freshman rightfielder Lucas Witt. Kapteyn added a pair of walks, including a five-pitch walk to lead off the ninth inning but was stranded at third in the final frame as the game-tying run.
UK starter Taylor Rogers went 5.2 innings, allowing six hits and three runs, walking a season-high four and striking out two. He was relieved by Kapteyn (0-2), who got the out in the sixth and got one out in the seventh, allowing two hits and three runs, walking two and striking out one. Alex Phillips replaced him and got two outs, with freshman Trevor Gott tossing a shutout eighth inning.
Ole Miss (22-14, 7-7 SEC) starter Austin Wright (4-3) went five innings, allowing five hits and two runs, walking three and striking out two. Wright was relieved by Eric Callender (1-0), who went two innings, allowing three hits and three runs, striking out one and picking up the win. Brett Huber – the righty closer for the Rebels from 2010 – replaced Callender and got the final six outs for his fourth save of the year.
UK returns to action on Tuesday, traveling to Bowling Green, Ky., to take on Western Kentucky at 7 p.m. ET. For the second consecutive year, the game will be played at the Bowling Green Ballpark, the two-year old facility that is home to the Bowling Green Hot Rods, the low class A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
Ole Miss got on the board in the first inning, as Alex Yarbrough connected on the first pitch of his two-out at bat, sending his fourth homer of the year over the left-centerfield fence.
The Rebels added another run in the second inning, as Will Allen connected on a two-strike pitch, sending it over the leftfield fence for his second homer of the year, giving Ole Miss a 2-0 lead.
Ole Miss plated a run in the bottom of the third inning as Blake Newalu singled through the left side to lead off, moving to second on Yarbrough’s walk. Matt Tracy followed Yarbrough and a deep fly out from Matt Smith and singled to rightfield, scoring Newalu.
The Wildcats struck for five runs in the sixth inning, taking a 5-3 lead. Maile led off the inning with a single to centerfield and Riddle smacked a single into rightfield, with Maile moving to second. After a strikeout, Witt scored Maile with a single through the left side, with Riddle taking third and Witt moving to second on a bobbled ball in leftfield. Wright then scored Riddle with a groundout to the right side and Black bounced a chopper that sailed over the head of the third baseman after a wicked hop, allowing Witt to score. That brought up Kapteyn, who connected on a 1-1 offering for a no-doubt blast, sailing over the bullpen in leftfield for his fifth homer of the year.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Yarbrough led off the frame with a double down the right-field line to lead off. Matt Smith followed and doubled into the gap on a two-strike offering, scoring Yarbrough from second. After Kapteyn got a strikeout of Tracy, Preston Overbey and pinch-hitter Matt Snyder drew walks to load the bases to bring Phillips out of the pen to face lefty Miles Hamblin. Phillips got Hamblin to chop a grounder to second base, with UK getting Snyder out at second but Hamblin beat out the back end of what could have been the inning-ending double play, allowing Smith to score the tying run. Taylor Hightower then singled on the first pitch from Phillips, giving Ole Miss a 6-5 lead.
GAME NOTES: Freshman Dallen Reber made his first career start at first base … Freshman J.T. Riddle made his seventh career start at second base … Senior shortstop Taylor Black has started 77 consecutive games at shortstop, dating back to the 2010 season … Chad Wright made his 44th consecutive start in the outfield and Braden Kapteyn made his 42nd consecutive start … Wright has now reached base safely in 34 of 37 games this year … Black extended his hitting streak to a career-high nine games … Wright got hit by a three-ball pitch, the 11th pitch he has been hit by in 2011, second-best on the club … Brian Adams connected on his second career triple and his first of the year, sending it high off the wall in dead centerfield … Thomas McCarthy drew a walk in the sixth inning and he has now reached base safely in 35 of 36 starts this year … Kapteyn took over the team lead with his fifth homer of the year in the sixth inning … Starter Taylor Rogers was one out shy of his sixth quality start of the year, which would lead the team, with Alex Meyer and Corey Littrell each owning five quality starts.