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Lartigue’s Walk-Off Homer Completes Comeback Victory

Ole Miss catcher Henri Lartigue Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics@olemisspix
Ole Miss catcher Henri Lartigue
Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics@olemisspix

Henri Lartigue hit his second walk-off of the season when he sent a three-run homer to right field in the bottom of the ninth, giving No. 6 Ole Miss a 7-5 victory over Kentucky Saturday evening at Swayze Field. The Rebels (39-13, 17-10 SEC) rallied from a five-run deficit to complete a three-game sweep of the Wildcats (29-23-13-14 SEC).

Offensively, the Rebels earned a total of 11 hits on the night. Two Rebels hit home runs, including J.B. Woodman’s solo shot and Lartigue’s walk off three-run homer. Woodman had another multi-hit game going 2-for-4 while scoring two runs and adding his team-leading 12th homer of the season. Tate Blackman helped the offensive production as he went 3-for-5 on the night with one run and one RBI.

The bullpen kept Ole Miss in striking distance, holding Kentucky scoreless for 6.2 innings. Redshirt-freshman Brady Feigl tossed 3.1 innings, allowing two hits, before Wyatt Short and Will Stokes (1-0) pitched 1.2 innings apiece. Stokes retired all five batters he faced and collected his first victory of the season.

“We needed the pitching to get us there, and Stokes was the guy,” said head coach Mike Bianco. “Then we get guys on, moved them around, and Henri just got a good pitch and got some good barrel on it to drive it out of here. Really exciting for him and our team.”

Kentucky had three hitters with two hits apiece in Evan White, Riley Mahan and Tristan Pompey. Three errors plagued UK in the field, leading to three Ole Miss runs. Kyle Cody pitched the first 6.2 innings of the game for the Wildcats and gave up four runs (one earned) on seven hits. Sean Hjelle (4-1) suffered the loss as Ole Miss had four hits and three runs against the freshman right-handed pitcher.

The Wildcats used home runs in consecutive innings to gain a five-run lead on the Rebels. In the second inning, Mahan singled to left field before Pompey hit a two-run, two-out, home run to center field for the first runs of the game.

Kentucky threatened again in the top of the third inning. After back-to-back singles, third baseman JaVon Shelby sent a three-run homer over the left field fence, extending the Wildcat lead to 5-0 over the Rebels.

Feigl entered the game for starter James McArthur with two Kentucky runners on and one out. Feigl sat down the next two batters to get the Rebels out of the jam. After a scoreless bottom frame, Feigl came back to the mound for the fourth and retired the Kentucky batters in order.

Ole Miss responded in the bottom of the fourth inning as Woodman ripped a solo shot to right field to take the goose egg off the board.

The Rebels trailed 5-1 heading into the fifth inning before cutting the margin in half with a pair of runs. A passed ball and a single up the middle brought two Rebels across the dish to make it a 5-3 ballgame.

In the top of the sixth, Feigl forced two fly outs before the Wildcats hit two consecutive singles. Short entered the game for Ole Miss with runners on first and second with two down. The southpaw got the Rebels out of the inning without any damage on a groundout to shortstop.

Ole Miss made it a one-run game in the bottom half of the seventh inning. Ryan Olenek singled to center field before advancing to second base on a wild pitch.

Left-handed pitcher Logan Salow took over on the mound for Kentucky with out on the board. Woodman reached first on a throwing error by the second baseman. Meanwhile, Olenek kept chugging around the bases and scored the unearned run to slice the deficit to 5-4.

Stokes entered the game for the Rebels in the eighth inning with Wildcat runners on first and second and one out. The sophomore forced a fly out and got the batter swinging for the final out of the eighth inning to leave the top half scoreless.

In Kentucky’s final chance at the plate, Stokes again kept the Wildcats off the board with a fly out and two big strikeouts.

After leaving two runners in scoring position with one out in the previous inning, the Rebels showed their strength and belief by fighting back in the ninth. With one out, Blackman roped double to the right-center gap and then advanced to third on the passed ball with Woodman at the plate. Woodman worked the pitcher to a walk to put runners on the corners for Lartigue. In the ultimate pressure situation, the Rebels’ catcher lined a three-run bomb to right field as the dugout stormed onto the field to celebrate the 7-5 walk-off victory and another SEC sweep.

Closing out the regular season, the Rebels will play four games in a span of five days next week. First, Ole Miss will close out the non-conference slate with a midweek game against Arkansas State in Jonesboro, Arkansas (May 17). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT. The following day, the Rebels travel to College Station, Texas to prepare for a conference series against one of the nation’s top teams in Texas A&M. The three-game set begins Thursday night (May 19) and wraps up Saturday afternoon (May 21) at 2 p.m. CT on SEC Network.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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