By Adam Brown
No. 13 Ole Miss dropped a 9-7 hard-fought contest to the UT Martin Skyhawks on Tuesday night at Swayze.
Ole Miss (36-16) played from behind as the Skyhawks hit three home runs. Ole Miss belted out two home runs by Justin Bench and Cael Baker. The Rebels battled back but came up a little shy in the end.
The Rebels finished 27-9 overall at Swayze and 11-2 in midweek action in the regular season.
UT Martin jumped on the board first in the game over the Rebels. In the second, the Skyhawks center fielder Noah Thigpen blasted a three-run home run to left.
The Rebels starter Josh Mallitz had a shaky start against the Skyhawks and got lifted in the second. Mallitz faced 10 Skyhawk sluggers in 1.1 innings, surrendered three runs on five hits and one strikeout.
Bianco made the call to the bullpen for the arm of Cody Adcock to face UT Martin. Adcock worked 2.0 complete innings and allowed three runs on three hits with three strikeouts.
Ole Miss answered back quickly in the bottom of the second, as Kevin Graham with leadoff a base knock and Bench walked to get two runners on no outs. Two batters later, Ben Van Cleve delivered a base hit that brought home Graham to make it 3-1.
The Skyhawks’ first baseman Ethan Whitley belted his 11th home run of the season for a two-run shot that made it 5-1 in the third.
In the home half of the frame, Ole Miss’s Baker smashed his fifth home run of the season to the fans in left field. TJ McCants followed with a single and, two batters later, Jacob Gonzalez pushed a ball down the left-field line that scored McCants to make it 5-3.
UT Martin tacks on an additional run in the fourth to go back up by 6-3.
Junior right-hander Brandon Johnson entered the game in the fourth to face the Skyhawks. Johnson kept UT Martin off the scoreboard in his 2.2 innings on the bump. He retired five sluggers by strikeout with only one hit.
Ole Miss has a big fifth inning with batters that came to the plate and runs scored. Baker opened the frame with a leadoff walk followed by McCants who reached his 17th multi-hit game as a freshman. A hit by a pitch and a base rip by Gonzalez got the Rebels three runs that tied the contest.
In the seventh, Tyler Myers took over on the hill and retired the side in order. He tossed 1.1 innings, gave up two runs on a hit and struck out two. Myers moves to 3-2 on the season with the loss.
UT Martin retook the lead over the Rebels on a three-run home run off the barrel of Blake Daniels to go up 9-6.
Senior right-hander Austin Miller came in for an inning and surrendered a run on a hit. In the ninth with one out, Wes Burton entered the game and recorded the final .2 innings.
In the eighth, Ole Miss climbed back as Bench opened the frame with a leadoff home run to left field.
As a pitching staff, the Rebels retired a total of 12 Skyhawk batters by strikeout.
Prior to going to the SEC Baseball Tournament next week, Ole Miss will close out the regular season in Athens, Ga., as they step back into conference action with a three-game series tilt against the Georgia Bulldogs. The Rebels and the Bulldogs series will begin Thursday at 6 p.m.