Two in a Row

As the old saying goes, walks will kill you. A leadoff walk of Matt Tracy in the bottom of the ninth eventually sent Ole Miss to a 7-6 victory against No. 1 ranked South Carolina as the Rebels won two in a row from the Gamecocks.

Preston Overbey's one-out fly ball to center field scored Tracy who had reached on a base on balls from USC reliever Matt Price. Tracy then moved to second on a single by Miles Hamblin.

Ole Miss won 7-6 to go along with a 10-2 win Saturday. The Gamecocks won Friday night 6-1.

"A great baseball game, and today was a little different obviously than yesterday," Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco said. "But the thing that was similar was that we were able to respond after some things didn't go our way."

Things hadn't been going the Rebels way in a while. They'd lost six Southeastern Conference games in a row before Saturday. The past two days they played their best baseball of the season.

And they needed to do so. USC is defending national champions and the current top-ranked team by Collegiate Baseball.

Another similarity to Saturday was the fact that Ole Miss got a nice early lead. The Rebels led 4-0 Saturday before South Carolina scored. They led 3-0 Sunday before the Gamecocks scratched.

Jake Morgan's entrance into the contest was of note in the Sunday affair. The Rebel closer went the final 2.1 innings and entered with two outs in the top of the seventh inning.

Morgan, still smarting a bit from shoulder problems of the past month and a half, faced 10 Gamecocks and allowed just two hits with a strikeout and no damage of his own, except allowing an inherited runner from Bobby Wahl to score to tie the game 6-6 at the time.

Sunday vs. USC was a far cry from this moment a few weeks ago for Morgan
Bruce Newman
"Felt really good," Morgan said. "It started tightening up on me. But I felt like I could throw through it, so I just kept throwing."

Bianco said Morgan is special.

"Just gutsy," Bianco said of the veteran Morgan. "He's hurting. He said run me out there, because I don't think it can get worse. I'm pitching. He's a different breed."

Ole Miss got its early lead via a Tracy single and an error on the Gamecock center fielder that allowed two Rebel runs to score in the first.

In the third the Rebels scored as in a bases loaded situation Miles Hamblin walked in Blake Newalu who had reached on a a hit by pitch. Another one of those free passes that are killers for the defensive team.

But the Rebels could have broken the game wide open there and weren't able to get it done.

USC (37-10 overall, 18-6 SEC) scored two runs in the top of the fourth, and the Rebels' lack of taking care of opportunities reared its head. A three-run fifth gave South Carolina a 5-3 lead, but Ole Miss answered.

The Rebels scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run home run by Matt Snyder after Alex Yarbrough had walked. That tied things 5-5.

Ole Miss went back out in front in the sixth on a Yarbrough double to score Newalu who had reached on a fielder's choice.

The top of the seventh was when Carolina tied it as Evan Marzilli singled off Morgan to score Brady Thomas who had led off with a double.

Things stayed just like that until the bottom of the ninth. After Tracy's leadoff walk, Gabe Woods attempted a bunt but ended up striking out. That's when Hamblin reached on a single and Overbey came in to end it with his fly ball to center field.

Morgan (3-0) got the win. Price, the closer, was the loser for USC and is 4-3.

Ole Miss is now 27-21 overall and 11-13 in SEC play. That ties the Rebels for seventh in the league standings with Mississippi State and Auburn.

The Rebels lost two of three games at Auburn earlier this year and host MSU Thursday night through Saturday night.

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