Another Rally

Will Allen's ninth-inning RBI single scored Brantley Bell from third base and pushed the Rebels' record to 8-1 with a 4-3 win against Louisiana-Monroe Wednesday in Oxford.

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Ole Miss had led 2-0 until the seventh inning when the Warhawks scored three runs to take a 3-2 lead. The Rebels tied it 3-3 in the eighth and completed the comeback with the run in the ninth.

The day before, Ole Miss had scored two runs in the ninth to win 5-4.

"We got hits, we got baserunners," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco Wednesday night, noting his team had 12 hits in the game. "It just seemed like we couldn't finish the inning off offensively. Some great at-bats, but it was a tough day to play baseball. It was very cold. Proud of the way we played, though."

Bell singled to begin the Rebel ninth. He advanced to second on a passed ball on the at-bat of Braxton Lee, who sac-bunted him to third.

Auston Bousfield and Austin Anderson were intentionally walked by Louisiana-Monroe. The Warhawks changed pitchers, bringing in a righty for a righty, and the new right-hander, Tyler Bray, gave up a first-pitch single to Allen to get Bell home.

"I was looking for a fast ball and for something to drive into the outfield," said Allen, who was 2-for-5 on the day. "I'll take the base hit."

Allen said the Rebels can take something from these two one-run, non-conference wins.

"It shows character, the character of this team," he said. "Toughness is one thing we've talked about since we got back here in the fall. We want to be tougher. This year we really want to be tougher and win these close games. I've been really proud of this team and my teammates."

Starter Jeremy Massie was a big story in this one. He pitched five innings and didn't allow a run or a hit.

"Jeremy was outstanding. All the pitchers were outstanding," Bianco said. "(Evan) Anderson had a tough inning. But (Josh) Laxer came in and made it look easy one, two, three. Then we go to Anderson, and the tough inning. Then (Cheyne) Bickel came in and was tremendous."

Colby Bortles
Bruce Newman

"I just tried to throw strikes," Massie said. "I knew Sunday I might. I was told last night I would. I was a little nervous. It was my first start since I started (two years ago) at Northwest (Mississippi Community College). Every good outing you take a lot of confidence. I feel good after a night like this."

Bianco said Massie wasn't going much longer in the game, and he felt it was a good time to change and put Laxer in.

"Maybe another inning," Bianco said. "Thought about it. But he had 60 pitches, and that's the most he's pitched here. He gave us what we needed."

Laxer is another who has pitched well so far this season. In the game Wednesday he pitched only an inning but had two strikeouts and a groundout.

"He's pitching with a lot of confidence," Bianco said. "He's pitching like the guy we all know he can be. This is the best he's looked since he's been here."

In the bottom of the eighth, Ole Miss tied it 3-3 as Sikes Orvis singled with one out to get something going. Cameron Dishon pinch ran and Preston Overbey doubled to put runners on second and third. Colby Bortles grounded out to get Dishon home.

After Bickel, who got his first win, took care of the Warhawks in the top of the ninth, that set things up for the Ole Miss win in the bottom of the ninth.

Bell got his first start at third base. Bianco said the freshman was thrown into the fire early in the game.

"He's outstanding and a really good player," Bianco said. "It's amazing, this game of baseball. You get in there like he did in his first collegiate start, and the ball gets hit to you three of the first four outs of the game. That doesn't happen in other sports. He looked sensational at third base. And his first at-bat he gets a double. In his last at-bat a single and ended up scoring the winning run. Great night for him. Happy for him."

Ole Miss hosts Central Florida this weekend – 6:30 p.m. Friday, 1:30 p.m. Saturday, and Noon on Sunday.

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