Big Innings Propel No. 15 Ole Miss to Series Win
April 4, 2009
OXFORD, Miss. -- Paced by a six-run third inning and a four-hit game from first baseman Matt Smith, the No. 15 Ole Miss Rebels claimed the Southeastern Conference series over Kentucky by pounding out 15 hits – 14 for singles – claiming a 10-3 win, on Saturday afternoon in front of 7,910 fans at Swayze Field.
Kentucky (18-11, 4-7 SEC) suffered its second consecutive loss, after dropping a narrow defeat at the hands of the Rebels Friday, 4-3. The Wildcats allowed two big innings for the Rebels, a six-run third and a four-run seventh. UK starter Chris Rusin had the worst outing of his sparking four-year career, allowing a career-high six runs on 10 hits in five innings, using a season-high four walks.
Rusin, a 2008 first-team All-SEC starter, had gotten all but four outs in his last four starts entering Saturday, tossing two complete games, a eight-inning win over Indiana State on the final non-conference weekend and a 8.2-inning outing against No. 28 South Carolina last Saturday. Rusin, who ranks fifth in the 105-year history of the UK program with 20 career wins, was not necessarily hit hard, but Ole Miss racked up 10 seeing-eye singles off the southpaw, with 14 of the Rebels 15 total hits coming as one-baggers.
The series win for Ole Miss marks its first series win over UK since the 2005 season, as the Wildcats had won three consecutive series with the two clubs. Entering the series, Kentucky had claimed seven of the last 10 meetings between the two schools.
Kentucky got multi-hit games from its 1-2-3 hitters in the lineup, including Chris Bisson, Chris Wade and Chris McClendon. Bisson and Wade, were 2-for-4 in the game with Bisson scoring a run in the third inning and McClendon was 2-for-4 with two singles. The Wildcats also got hits from Andy Burns, Keenan Wiley and Chad Wright. Wright extended his hitting streak to a current team-high five games.
UK will return to action on Sunday, attempting to salvage the series with the Rebels. All the action can be heard on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM and in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM. The Wildcats will turn the ball over to junior left James Paxton who will be making his first Sunday start on the season. The native of Lander, British Columbia, normally gets the Friday start for Kentucky but was pushed back to Sunday this weekend to allow him a couple more days of rest. The Rebels are expected to give the ball to senior right-hander Scott Bittle, a 2008 first-team All-American and 2009 preseason All-America selection.
The Rebels (21-8, 7-4 SEC) grabbed a huge five-run lead in the third inning with six runs on five hits, all the Rebels needed to secure the win. Ole Miss was lead in the inning by Matt Smith’s two-run single up the middle. The Rebels got RBI from three other batters in the inning. For the game, the Rebels were led offensively by multi-hit nights from Smith, Jordan Henry, Logan Powers, Kyle Henson and Zach Miller.
Pomeranz (3-0) was great for the Rebels, going 6.2 innings, allowing one run on seven hits while striking out eight and walking only two. Pomeranz did a great job of spacing out Kentucky’s seven hits and limiting damage, especially in the third inning. The sophomore was replaced in the sixth by David Goforth who came in and got the final out of the inning by getting Wade to line out to left field. Goforth finished the game going 1.1 innings allowing no runs on one hit. He was replaced by Nathan Baker who pitched the ninth for the Rebels, giving up two runs on two hits and striking out two.
Rusin worked out of a slight jam in the second inning for the Wildcats, as he allowed two runners on with one out but got out of the inning unscathed. The inning started with a groundout to Wade by Henson. Then Ole Miss got back-to-back single from Smith and Miller putting runners on first and second with one out. The Kentucky senior lefty settled down getting a pop out to Bisson for the second out and then got a great defensive play by Wade at short, who stepped back to field a high chopper and then sent a rope to first base to the stretched out Glad to just beat the runner and get the final out of the inning.
The Wildcats took advantage of a golden opportunity to score some runs in the third inning when Bisson reached third base with only one out. Bisson started the rally on an infield single up the middle, advancing to second on a wild pitch and to third when Wade grounded out to short. Pomeranz then walked Glad on four straight pitches brining up Marcus Nidiffer. Kentucky got its run when Pomeranz threw a wild pitch that was blocked by Henson, bouncing the ball too far in front of the plate, allowing Bisson to reach home before Henson could gather the ball and get back to the plate.
Ole Miss put together a six run, five-hit performance in the third inning, giving the Rebels a five-run lead going to the fourth inning. The inning started when Rusin got a fly out by Henry, but then gave up the walks to Taylor Hashman and Logan Power. With runners at first and second, one out, Travis sent a laser shot up the middle to tie the game at 1-1. The rally continued for the Rebels when Henson got an infield single on a dribbler up the third base line, bringing up Smith with the bases loaded who sent a hard hit ball up the middle that just got under the glove of Wade, scoring two runs. That brought up Miller, who had a home run Friday night, driving home a run with a perfectly executed squeeze play, although Miller was thrown out at first. Ole Miss plated its fourth run of the inning when Ferguson grounded a ball through the left side of the infield, easily scoring Smith. The ball was misplayed in the outfield by Troy Frazier as the ball rolled under his legs, allowing Ferguson to move to third base. After a walk to Mort, Rusin gave up the fifth hit of the inning to Henry, scoring Ferguson from third and putting runners on first and second with two outs. Rusin got out of the inning when Hashman popped out to Bisson to end the inning.
Sophomore Mike Kaczmarek got the Wildcats in trouble in the seventh inning giving up back-to-back singles to Henson and Smith. After a wild pitch by Kaczmarek, both runners advanced into scoring position. The Kentucky lefty got a strikeout of Miller for the first out of the inning and then was replaced by junior Clint Tilford. Ole Miss countered with a pinch-hitter in Evan Button, who hit a sharp ground ball to Wade with the infield in scoring both runners and giving the Rebels a 8-1 lead. With a runner at first and one out, Tilford gave up a single to Mort, putting runners at first and third and Henry up. After Henry popped up to shallow left field, Ole Miss sent up another pinch hitter in the form of Matt Synder, who walked to load the bases for Power. The Ole Miss left fielder hit a bouncer through the hole on the left side to bring in two more runs and give the Rebels a nine-run lead. Tilford got out of the inning when pinch hitter David Phillips struck out looking.
Kentucky was able to post two runs in the ninth inning when a hard hit ground ball by Bisson to second base was fumbled by the second baseman, allowing Burns and Frazier to score. Burns reached base with a rope single to left field, advancing to third on a double down the left field line by Frazier.