Rebs fall to Bama 9-8 in dramatic fashion

Ole Miss got a ninth-inning grand slam from Zack Cozart for an 8-7 lead, but Alabama came back to to score a run in the bottom of the ninth and another in the bottom of the tenth for victory.

Zack Cozart sent a 3-1 fast ball over the left field wall some 370 feet with the bases full of Rebels in the top of the ninth inning to give Ole Miss an 8-7 lead. But it wasn't enough.

Alabama tied it 8-8 in the bottom of the ninth and then won the game 9-8 with another run in the bottom of the tenth.

It was a tough loss for a team still searching. That's the word everybody associated with the team seemed to use after this one.

"That's a tough way to lose," said team captain Justin Henry, who went 4-for-6 with three runs scored. "To have (Zack) Cozart hit a grand slam like that and then us not be able to hang on is pretty tough."

Cozart says the team has to focus on the positives of the game.

"We competed for 10 innings and we went out there to win the game," he said. "It just didn't happen for us."

Unfortunately for the Rebels that's becoming an all-too-often occurrence for this year's team, now 13-10 on the season and 1-4 in Southeastern Conference play.

"It's tough," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "Especially when we're looking for something good to happen to us and we get the grand slam. Then not to win it, it's tough."

Alabama improved to 18-8 and 4-1.

The winning run was driven in by Greg Paiml with a double to the right center wall, scoring Brandon Belcher who was hit by a Will Kline pitch with one out.

"He was real wild with the first two pitches," Paiml said of Kline. "So right when I knew the fast ball was coming, I picked out exactly where I was trying to hit it. With Belcher on the bases with his speed, I knew we would have a good shot."

Jordan Davis came in to pitch for Alabama in relief of starter Bernard Robert to start the ninth. After Brett Basham struck out, Justin Henry blooped a ball over the second baseman's head in shallow center. After C.J. Ketchum walked, Alabama head coach Jim Wells headed to the mound to make a change.

David Robertson came in and proceeded to walk Chris Coghlan on four pitches to load the bases. Up came Cozart and the grand slam. Robertson stayed in the game with no further damage.

In the top of the tenth, the Rebels went three up, three down against Robertson.

Ole Miss took a 1-0 lead in the first inning as it had done in the previous night in a 12-2 series-opening loss. After Bama led 3-1, Ole Miss tied it 3-3 in the fifth. But a run in the fifth and three more in the sixth put the homestanding Crimson Tide up 7-3.

Ole Miss got one back in the top of the eighth to trail 7-4. Craig Rodriguez, who had replaced Brett Bukvich after Bukvich came in for starter Garrett White, sat Bama down one, two, three to set things up for the dramatic top of the ninth. But it wasn't to be for the Rebels on this day.

Henry was even too down after this one to enjoy his fine day at the plate.

"I'd trade 'em all back for a win, that's for sure," he said.

So they look toward Sunday.

"It's all about getting wins, and we have to come out and get one tomorrow," Henry said. "We have to show back up again tomorrow. We've got to get over this tonight and come out tomorrow and get a win. We need a win badly tomorrow."

Ole Miss will send RHP freshman Lance Lynn (1-2, 5.16 ERA) to the mound Sunday. Freshman RHP Tommy Hunter (3-2, 3.62 ERA) will go for the Tide. Both are from Indianapolis.

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