Rebels have bad day, lose to SIU in 10 innings

Ole Miss committed five errors in an 8-7 loss to the visiting Salukis.

This game could be summed up in two ways: Ole Miss had a bad day, and Southern Illinois answered every challenge.

The Rebels, ranked 15th nationally, fell 8-7 in 10 innings before the home season's largest crowd of 3,421. Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco, tossed in the bottom of the 10th for arguing a call at first base, said it was easy to evaluate this one.

"It was a bad game," he said. "Credit them too, though. It wasn't just us. Certainly the five errors were ugly. You can't win a game with five errors. I thought Mark (Holliman) pitched well. I really did. They (SIU) battled really hard at the plate, and they were able without a lot of hits early to put a lot of pressure on. They had a couple of hit and runs get through the holes. Again, it's easy to say they were fortunate. But come on, they got 13 hits and scored eight runs. It's not all about luck. Credit them for playing a good game."

That being the case, the Rebels still had a chance to win it in. Their best chance late was in the bottom of the ninth with the visitors up 7-6. Chris Coghlan had a great at-bat and ended up walking. After a Stephen Head fly out to left, Brian Pettway got a base hit over the shortstop's head, and runners were on first and third with one out. Jon-Jon Hancock then flew to left scoring Coghlan. There was a throwing error on the SIU leftfielder (their lone E of the day) moving Justin Henry to second, who was pinch running for Pettway, and Miles Franklin came to the plate. Franklin struck out, and the game went on to the 10th.

Leadoff Saluki Kevin Koski singled and was sac bunted to second by P.J. Finigan. A double by Matt Brewer scored Koski and gave SIU the lead again at 8-7. A double play later ended the frame.

In the bottom of the 10th the Rebels went quietly, although Bianco didn't. Alex Presley was called out in a close play at first, which the Rebel mentor argued vehemently. When the first base umpire had enough, he tossed Bianco.

Following the goings-on down the first base line, Zack Cozart grounded out 6-3, and Justin Brashear struck out to end the contest.

After UM took a 2-0 lead through four innings, the visitors scored four in the top of the fifth when the Salukis got three singles and also a clutch two RBI triple from Finigan.

Ole Miss came back with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to lead 5-4. Hancock led things off with a solo homer to left on the inning's first pitch, followed later by an RBI single from Zack Cozart and an RBI single from Cooper Osteen.

After the Salukis went back out in front 6-5 in the top of the seventh, the Rebels tied it 6-6 in the eighth with a two RBI double by Gunther.

A one-out, bases loaded squeeze in the top of the ninth by Tyler Lairson gave his SIU team the lead at 7-6.

The Rebels' starter Holliman worked six and a third allowing five earned runs on nine hits with a walk and six strike outs. Through four innings, Holliman only gave up one hit. Eric Fowler came in and after giving up an RBI single got two strikeouts. After two Salukis reached in the top of the eighth, Will Kline finished the game for Ole Miss, going two and two-thirds innings with an earned run, two walks, and no strikeouts.

The Rebs, 4-2 on the season, had 11 hits in the game, led by Osteen, Coghlan, Pettway, and Hancock with two hits apiece.

"You don't win a game making the mistakes we made," said co-captain Stephen Head. "There's not a lot to say about this game except that we played pretty bad. You won't win many with five errors. And they (SIU) responded. Every time we scored, they scored. They did what they were supposed to do - what we were supposed to do. We battled to the end, but you won't win many playing like we did tonight."

Fellow co-captain Barry Gunther agreed.

"Tip your hat to them," Gunther said. "They used the hit and run like three times, and it worked every time. That's hard to defend. When their guy goes to the four hole and our second baseman's going to cover, what are you supposed to do? That's baseball. We'd better get ready to play tomorrow. They think they can beat us again. This was Friday night at out park with our ace throwing. And they beat us. I'm guessing they've got all the confidence in the world right now."

Southern Illinois is now a seasoned road team, having won five in a row after an 0-2 start. SIU has not played a home game yet.

Kline (0-1) got the loss for the Rebs, while Andrew Weber (1-0) got the win for SIU.

Tomorrow's probable pitching matchup for the 1:30 p.m. start is Stephen Head (LHP, 0-0, 3.00 ERA) for the Rebels and today's Saluki shortstop moving to the hill - P.J. Finigan (RHP, 1-0, 4.91 ERA).

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