Ole Miss tried to salvage a game against Vanderbilt Sunday after two close losses earlier in the weekend. It took 11 innings for the Commodores to finally finish the sweep with a 7-6 victory.
By: Jeff Roberson,OMSpirit.com
Vanderbilt led 6-4 heading to the bottom of the ninth. Back to back singles from Stuart Turner and Andrew Mistone put Ole Miss in business. Preston Overbey grounded out to get Turner home from third.
After Will Allen grounded out and there were two walks – one intentional of Sikes Orvis and one unintentional of Cameron Dishon that loaded the bases, Tanner Mathis was hit by a Brian Miller pitch to tie the game 6-6.
In the top of the eleventh with one out, Vandy’s Connor Harrell doubled off the third base bag, literally, as the ball bounced high and out of reach of Rebel third baseman Mistone.
That was the baserunner who would get it done for the Commodores. Harrell advanced to third on a pitch in the dirt by Brett Huber and then came home when catcher Stuart Turner tried to throw him out at third. But the ball wound up in the outfield as Harrell raced home.
Huber was able to get out of the inning after that, but the Rebels had to have a run to keep things going. That didn’t happen. Actually, Ole Miss did not have a base runner in the final two innings as Miller retired six Rebels to end it.
“The ball kicked away from me, and I should have eaten it,” said Turner, who did his part offensively with a 4-for-5 performance, a RBI, and a run scored. “I didn’t, and it bit me in the ass.”
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said the Rebels were better Sunday but not good enough.
“Obviously we haven’t been playing very well, but today we played much better,” he said. “Certainly we can pitch better, play better defense, hit better. But today was more the team that played the first five weeks (of the season). Tough one. Tough one to swallow.”
It was Ole Miss that jumped out to the early 3-1 lead through two innings. But it was a four-run fourth that put Vandy ahead until the ninth.
The Rebels took the lead when a fly ball by Mistone scored Mathis from third. It was the second out of the first inning. But Austin Anderson at second also tried to score on the fly ball and was thrown out at home.
After the Commodores tied it 1-1 in the top of the second, the Rebels went up by two runs in the bottom of the second. Allen doubled and Preston Overbey, who had singled, came all the way home from first base to give Ole Miss the 2-1 lead.
After a sacrifice bunt by Christian Helsel, Lance Wilson bunted to score Allen. That made it 3-1 Rebels and would be all they’d get in the second inning.
The Commodores chased Rebel starter Sam Smith in the top of the fourth. But before the inning was over, Vandy led 5-3 and Scott Weathersby and Matt Denny had both been called upon to pitch.
After Vandy (29-4, 11-1 SEC) got another run in the fifth, Ole Miss answered with a Turner RBI that scored Anderson who had gotten aboard with a walk.
It stayed 6-4 until the bottom of the ninth.
Both teams used six pitchers in the contest. Miller, the closer, got the win for Vandy. Huber, now 2-1, got the loss.
The Commodores had 17 hits in the 11 innings while Ole Miss had nine. Both teams left a ton on base – Vanderbilt 12 and the Rebels 14.
The Rebels (23-9, 4-8) play Mississippi State Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in Pearl. The Bulldogs (26-9, 5-7) won two of three games against Florida in Starkville this weekend.