Cats Scratch Back

For the second game on the weekend, it was the team that got the big hit and not the most hits that won the contest as No. 10 Ole Miss (21-10, 6-6 SEC) fell to No. 1 Kentucky (30-3, 9-3 SEC) by a score of 8-3 on Sunday.

Follow SpiritJeff on Twitter

The Rebels out-hit the Wildcats 11-to-8 in the game, but left eight men stranded on the afternoon while Kentucky got the big hit in the sixth to take the lead for good on a grand slam from Cameron Flynn. Ole Miss led 2-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth.

From that point on, UK cruised.

"Today was similar to Friday in that we were unable to get the big hit," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "Kentucky did that this weekend, that's why they're so good.

"Kentucky pitched well all weekend with the exception of the fifth inning on Friday," Bianco continued. "We did as well, except for in the sixth inning today. There were just two really good teams going at it this weekend."

R.J. Hively (3-2) suffered the loss for Ole Miss, allowing six runs on five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in 5.0 innings of work.

Corey Littrell (5-0) picked up the win, holding the Rebels to two runs on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work.

Alex Phillips picked up his second save of the season, working the final 3.0 innings for the Wildcats and taking the mound with Ole Miss on top 2-1 to start the sixth inning.

He'd seen it before:

"Friday and today was pretty much the same story," said Alex Yarbrough. "Bunch of hits, lot of guys on base, and we couldn't come up with the big hit. And they did."

Yarbrough remembered them vividly on Sunday.

"They got the infield single with bases loaded and then the grand slam," he said. "That's what kind of put us away."

Yarbrough said the Rebels need to start having those same things happen for them.

"That's the kind of hits we have to start getting," he said. "The game we won (Saturday), that's what we did. We kept getting hits and stringing them together. That's what we had to do more of consistently."

Yarbrough said the Rebels are disappointed they didn't come away with a better record against Florida and Kentucky the last two weekends when both had No. 1 rankings.

"We went 3-3 but we feel like we could have done a lot better than that," he said. "We only feel like we really should have lost one of those games. We were in every single one. We've played well, we've played well defensively, we've pitched pretty well, and we've hit well as a whole. In most of the games we've lost this year, it's because we can't come up with the timely hits when we've got guys on base."

Yarbrough said more attention needs to be paid to getting hits period and not just the big hits.

Alex Yarbrough
Bruce Newman

"I think we need to realize that a line drive to right center gets runs in," he said. "You don't have to hit the 3-run home run with runners on first and second when you come up. Just string together some more singles and doubles, and then you'll get the big hits and home runs. But we've got to focus on getting the hits and not just the big home runs."

Here's how it happened:

Ole Miss got on the board in the first inning when Tanner Mathis scored on a single to right field from Matt Snyder. Mathis reached on a single up the middle and took second on a single through the left side from Auston Bousfield. Mathis then took third on a fly out from Yarbrough before scoring on the Snyder hit to put the Rebels up 1-0.

Kentucky answered in the second inning with a solo home run from Luke Maile to open the home half of the inning.

Ole Miss moved back in front in the sixth inning, using a double to left from Will Allen to start things off. Allen then moved to third on a sac bunt from Preston Overbey before scoring on a single to left from Andrew Mistone. The Rebels didn't get another run in the inning, but held a 2-1 lead heading to the bottom of the inning.

Kentucky moved back into the lead in the sixth inning, loading the bases with no outs before Maile came up with a liner to third. A diving snag stopped the ball from getting through the infield, but Maile was safe at first as Snyder came off the bag to field the throw and a run scored to tie the game.

The bases remained loaded and Cameron Flynn hit a grand slam to right field to put the Wildcats on top of the Rebels 6-2.

Ole Miss got a run back in the seventh when Mathis scored on a groundout from Snyder. Mathis singled before moving to third on a double to the left field wall from Yarbrough to set up the score on the Snyder ball that cut the lead to 6-3.

Kentucky responded with a single run in the seventh and the eighth to push the score out to the final margin of victory.

More from the head coach:

Bianco said he thought Saturday's offensive success might spell success on Sunday.

"You were hopeful that after yesterday in the fifth inning where we had all those big at-bats and two-out hits, that would kind of translate into a bigger offensive day today," he said. "We had a lot of opportunities and couldn't get the base hit."

Bianco credited the Wildcats with being efficient in obtaining two victories.

"All weekend it seemed like every time Kentucky needed a hit, they got one," he said. "We can't just blame (our) offense, We've got to learn to win the close ones. Credit them. They just played a little bit better than us. We were close, but at crucial times they got the hits, and at crucial times they made the pitches."

Ole Miss will return to action Tuesday, hosting Central Arkansas in a doubleheader that will begin at 3 p.m. at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.

OM Spirit Top Stories