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OM Takes Series From Tide

Ole Miss won 5-2 against Alabama Saturday before the largest crowd in Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field history – 11,729. That meant the Rebels claimed a Southeastern Conference series they simply had to have.

By: Jeff Roberson, OMSpirit.com

Photo by Adam Brown / HottyToddy.com
Photo by Adam Brown / HottyToddy.com

On Friday night, Ole Miss snapped a six-game losing streak with a 6-0 win against the Crimson Tide. On Sunday, for the first time in five SEC weekends, the Rebels go for the sweep.

“It’s good to get off the mat and compete and play hard and play like we know how to,” said Will Allen who went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI in the designated hitter role. “We’re on a win streak now at two in a row. So we’ll take it.”

But they have the opportunity to really make a move back up the SEC standings with a win Sunday, a game that begins at 1:30 p.m. Ole Miss is now 25-10 overall and 6-8 in SEC play. Alabama fell to 22-15 and 8-6.

“I said to the guys, it takes all kinds, and this was one of those grind it out type of games where I thought both teams played well,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. “They pitched well, we pitched well. They played good defense, and so did we. Neither team did much offensively. We played a little better than them today. Not much, but just enough.”

Alabama had only five hits in the game. Ole Miss had just four hits in the contest, but Bianco said all of them were needed.

“All very big hits,” he said. “Three of the four were RBI.”

Rebel starter Mike Mayers, on the promotion of Mike Mayers mask day, was solid through the 6.1 innings he pitched. No walks and only one earned run on four hits with four strikeouts.

“Proud of the way Mayers pitched today,” Bianco said. “For sure the best I’ve seen him all year. The best in a long time. I just think he got back to being who he is.”

Mayers didn’t figure into the decision but was smiling after this one and admitting he felt good about things.

“It feels good, I gotta tell you,” Mayers said, with relief and joy apparent. “Every day’s a big day in the SEC. The SEC is made up of 30 battles. I was just putting pressure on myself. I just needed to settle down. I’ve got a great group of guys behind me. I needed to trust them and make pitches.”

Bianco said Mayers simply returned to who he is and what he does best.

“He got back to doing what got him here,” Bianco said. “Today he threw a ton of fast balls. He lived on both sides of the plate. And he had a big fast ball today.”

There was no score until Ole Miss got two runs in the sixth. But Alabama tied it with two runs in the seventh. That set up a lot of Rebel activity in the eighth.

Auston Bousfield walked on four pitches to lead things off. Stuart Turner was able to reach on an error by the Alabama shortstop. Andrew Mistone reached on a fielder’s choice bunt as Bousfield was out at third base on a highly controversial call by the umpire that raised the ire of fans and coaches alike.

Preston Overbey walked to load the bases, but Sikes Orvis struck out. Allen came through with the two-RBI single to score Turner and Mistone. Austin Knight came in to pinch hit and his RBI single scored Overbey.

Up 5-2, the Rebels called on Brett Huber to replace Tanner Bailey, who got the win, and close things out, which he did. Bailey is now 2-1, and it was Huber’s 8th save of the season.

Catcher Stuart Turner was looked at by trainer and coach during the ninth inning. There was apparently an issue.

“He caught a foul tip off the throat and was dizzy,” Bianco said. “We just needed to give him some time (to recover from it).”

Sunday’s game is at 1:30 p.m. Sophomore right-hander Sam Smith (2-0, 4.40 ERA) will take the mound for Ole Miss. Sophomore righty Spencer Turnbull (4-1, 2.22 ERA) will start for the Crimson Tide on the hill.

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