The Rebels got big, timely hits from the middle of the lineup Thursday night as Sikes Orvis and Will Allen combined to go 6-for-10 with five RBI and lead No. 4 Ole Miss (48-20) to a 6-4 win over No. 2 TCU (48-18) in an elimination game at the College World Series.
With the win, the Rebels advance to face No.1 Virginia at 7 p.m. Friday night on ESPN in an elimination game. Should Ole Miss win, it will force a deciding game on Saturday as the two teams play again for a spot in the national championship series.
The 48 wins ties the school record for wins in a season set by the 2005 club.
Josh Laxer (3-2) picked up the win in relief, working 2.2 innings and allowing one run on one hit with a walk and three strikeouts. The only hit allowed by Laxer was a solo home run from Kevin Cron in the fifth inning. Aaron Greenwood picked up his fifth save, working the final 1.1 innings to close out the game.
Jordan Kipper (8-3) took the loss for the Horned Frogs, allowing two runs on three hits with three walks and four strikeouts in 2.2 innings of relief work.
“First, congrats to TCU and Coach Schossnagle, for a tremendous year, it was a great baseball game,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We’re fortunate we got some timely hits and that’s what this comes down to. Getting good hits with runners on, and we were able to do that on the other side of the ball, and we made our pitches to get out of the innings. I’m proud of our guys. I was asked a couple days ago in a press conference about our offense and I thought we had a good offensive day today. The guys, sitting next to me, Sikes Orvis and Will Allen certainly led the charge. I thought we had some better at-bats today and it shows you when wind is not blowing in 20 miles an hour it a little different here. We were able to barrel some ball up and get some hits today.”
“This off season we really worked hard, just on and off the field on being tough,” said senior captain Will Allen. “It’s something that team has taken to just the mindset of 1-9 throughout the lineup. We have guys that can step up and be the hero on any given day. It’s something with the team when our backs are against the wall, we play really good baseball. We’re just a tough team, a very confident team, and we’ve continued to do it throughout the whole season.”
Ole Miss got on the board in the third inning, taking advantage of a leadoff double to shallow center from J.B. Woodman. A sac bunt to the third base side of the mound from Austin Knight moved Woodman to third before Braxton Lee drove him home with a single up the middle. Auston Bousfield was then hit by a pitch to put two men on and cause TCU to call for a meeting at the mound.
Austin Anderson then flew out to put two away before Will Allen drove a double to the wall in right center to score both Lee and Bousfield, putting Ole Miss on top 3-0 after the top of the third.
TCU responded in the fourth inning, using a leadoff single to left center from Kevin Cron to start a rally. A walk of Jerrick Suiter in the next at bat put two men on before the Rebels would get a fielder’s choice to throw Suiter out at second and put men at the corners with one away.
Boomer White then hit a double down the left field line to bring Cron home and leave two men in scoring position as the Horned Frogs cut the lead to 3-1. A walk of Dylan Fitzgerald then loaded the bases for TCU and brought shortstop Keaton Jones to the plate.
Jones drew a walk, the third of the inning, to bring a second run home and keep the bases loaded for catcher Kyle Bacak. Ole Miss then turned to its bullpen for right-hander Josh Laxer.
The Rebel reliever got a strikeout to put two away before a walk of leadoff hitter Cody Jones tied the game at three and again kept the bases loaded for the Horned Frogs. Laxer got a fly ball deep to right center that Woodman tracked down at the wall for the final out to keep TCU from taking the lead as the inning ended with the score tied 3-3.
Orvis came up with a big two-out hit in the fifth inning to put the Rebels back on top. After Bousfield and Anderson reached on back-to-back walks to put men on, TCU got a strikeout to put two away. The Rebel first baseman then pulled a single through the right side to score Bousfield from second and put Ole Miss back in front 4-3.
The lead was erased in the first at bat of the TCU half of the fifth when Cron took the first pitch and sent it into the stands in left field to tie the game 4-4.
Ole Miss moved back in front in the seventh with an RBI single from Allen that put the Rebels up 5-4. Bousfield was hit by a pitch to start the frame before Anderson delivered a single to left to put two on with Allen at the plate. The senior then drove the ball back up the middle to score Bousfield and give the Rebels the lead for the third time on the night.
TCU again put together an answering rally in the eighth, using a leadoff walk and a sac bunt to put Suiter in scoring position. The Rebels then intentionally walked Boomer White to put two men on and set up a double play opportunity. Freshman Wyatt Short got a strikeout of Fitzgerald to put two away and Ole Miss again turned to its bullpen, this time for right-hander Aaron Greenwood.
A double steal put both runners in scoring position before Greenwood got a ground ball up the middle from the Frog batter. Shortstop Errol Robinson charged in and to his left, scooping the ball behind the mound and making the throw to end the inning and keep Ole Miss on top 5-4 after eight innings of play.
Orvis again came up with a big hit for the Rebels in the ninth, driving a two-out double down the line in left to score Will Allen and put Ole Miss on top 6-4. Allen reached on a single to left in the previous at bat to keep the inning alive for the Orvis hit.
Greenwood then shut the Horned Frogs down in the ninth, retiring the side in order to preserve the win and keep Ole Miss alive in the College World Series.
–Ole Miss Sports
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