Rebels' rally comes up short

The No. 19 ranked Ole Miss Rebels spotted the Murray State Thoroughbreds a 6-run lead through the first five and one-half innings, them made a strong charge to get back into the game in the final four innings. Murray State scored the winning run in the eight inning on a wild pitch, thus taking the second game of the series 7-6 over the disappointed Rebels.

The game saw both teams combine for 40 base-runners on 22 hits, 12 base-on-balls, three hit batters, an error and two fielder's choice plays.

"What's been the story to this point, is just inconsistency, and we just didn't play well," said sixth-year coach Mike Bianco. "It's frustrating that we can play so well the night before and come out like that 24 hours later. That can happen in our game, but it shouldn't happen as much as it is happening. It shouldn't happen every couple of games. Today was a bad day on the mound. Throughout the season, our pitching had been our most consistent thing, but today we didn't get it done on the mound. Offensively it was not a good showing until the last couple of innings. There were too many holes in the lineup where one guy hit and the next one didn't. That's the inconsistnency. All it is is a couple of more at bats."

"Today wasn't a good day," said preseason All-America third baseman Chris Coghlan. "We swung it pretty well and we battled to the end, but it was too late and we came up short. It was huge that Miles (Cabeciras) came up and got that double and some guys off the bench did well, but it's frustrating because we should have swung the bats better and battled better earlier in the game. That's what happens when you wait too long."

Murray State got on the board first in the third inning off Rebel starter and loser, Nick Hetland (1-1). Hetland who struggled with his control walked the first batter he faced in the third inning. This was followed by a singe, a fielder's choice and another single that give the Thoroughbreds a 1-0 lead. Hetland was replaced in the fourth inning when the Bred's lead-off hitter singled. Coach Mike Bianco brought in junior college transfer, Craig Rodriguez, who was pounded for five runs in two and one-third innings. Jesse Simpson was brought into the game in the sixth to put out another Murray State rally. Simpson pitched one and two-thirds innings allowing no hits and one walk. Rebel pitchers combined to walk seven, strike out seven and allow the Thoroughbreds 10 singles with no extra base hits.

Ole Miss managed to get a run in the bottom of the sixth when Mark Wright was hit by a pitch. Jon-Jon Hancock delivered a one-out single to send Wright to third. Evan Button pinch-hitting for Cody Overbeck popped out to first, Justin Brashear singled in Wright to produce the Rebels first run.

Stoney Stone was the Rebels fourth pitcher who pitched the eight inning. He retired the first two batters he faced, then surrendered back-to-back singles to the Thoroughbreds with the lead runner taking third on the second hit. Stone wild-pitched the runner home for what proved later to be the Thoroughbreds' winning run.

The Rebel batters were shut down the first four innings with just two hits, both by C.J. Ketchum. It appeared the Rebels were headed for a good inning as Ketchum led off the fifth with his third single. Chris Coghlan walked bringing Zack Cozart to the plate with two on and nobody out. Coach Bianco put the runners in motion, Cozart hit a line drive that appeared headed for leftfield, the Thoroughbred's shortstop, Justin Yount, reached for a nice backhanded catch. He flipped the ball to the second baseman who relayed the throw to first for a "triple play" killing what looked to be a good inning.

First baseman C.J. Ketchum had all three Ole Miss hits going into the bottom of the sixth when the Rebels finally scored their first run. Ketchum led off the seventh inning with his fourth single of the game. Coghlan was hit by a pitch, Cozart popped up to rightfield, Justin Henry singled in Ketchum. Mark Wright got Coghlan home with a sacrifice fly to centerfield cutting the score to 6-3, Thoroughbreds.

Ketchum singled again in the eight to no avail, so the Rebels entered their final at-bat trailing 7-4. The game appeared to be over when Cozart and Henry struck out back-to-back to open the ninth. Mark Wright singled with Luke Barthel pinch running. Jon-Jon Hancock delivered his third hit of the game, a double to right-centerfield sending Barthel to third. Jo-Jo Tann pinch-ran for Hancock. Coach Bianco sent Miles Cabeceiras in to pinch-hit for Button. Cabeceiras drilled a double to left-centerfield driving in Barthel and Tann. Logan Power pinch-ran for Cabeceiras with Justin Brashear coming to the plate. Brashear, who hit two home runs in the Rebels win yesterday, hit a long fly ball that sent the Thoroughbreds' right fielder onto the warning track to get the third out and end the Rebels bid for a come from behind victory.

It was a case of too-little too-late as the Rebels fell behind and could not get their bats in gear with runners on base. Ketchum was the Rebels hitting star as he was 5-for-5 on the day. Hancock was the only other Rebels with multiple hits at three. Alex Presley had his eight-game hitting streak ended by four Thoroughbred pitchers. Brett Mullins, Seth Hudson and Chaz Ebert had two hits each to lead Murray State to the victory.

Simpson and Garret White, who pitched the ninth inning, were the Rebels most effective pitchers in the three hour and nineteen minute game. The attendance of 3718 saw the Rebels record drop to 9-4 while the Thoroughbreds picked up their second win to go with nine defeats.

The Rebels head to California Thursday for a big three-game series this weekend at UCLA. The Bruins are coming off a sweep at No. 17 North Carolina State last weekend. Tommy Baumgardner will likely get the Friday night start that begins at 8:00 P.M. Central time. The Saturday game will likely see Cody Satterwhire go in the 4:00 P.M. contest and Lance Lynn will probably pitch the series finale Sunday afternoon at 3:00 P.M. Central time.

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