Diamond Rebs struggle late against Gamecocks

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Ole Miss (20-15, 6-8 SEC) had things in check for seven and a half innings on Saturday, but South Carolina (29-7, 11-3 SEC) got clutch hits in the eighth to put five runs on the board and defeat the Rebels 6-3 and claim the series.

***Story courtesy of Bill Bunting at Ole Miss sports information

The Rebels had a 3-1 lead after the top of the eighth, but back-to-back home runs from the Gamecocks on the way to a five run inning to claim the 6-3 win.

Cody Satterwhite (4-2) suffered the loss after entering the game in the eighth inning with the game tied at three following the two Gamecock home runs. The Rebels were unable to hold on as a pair of errors combined with clutch hitting allowed the Gamecocks to grab the win. Satterwhite worked 1.0 inning, giving up three runs on two hits as he struck out one and walked one. Only one of the three runs was earned.

Andrew Cruse picked up the win as he worked 1.2 innings after entering the game with one out in the seventh. Cruse allowed two runs on two hits while walking one and striking out one. He was one the hook for the loss before the Gamecocks rallied in the bottom half of the eighth. Wynn Pelzer picked up his second save of the weekend with an inning of work in the ninth.

"It was a tough outing because South Carolina got the big hits when they needed them," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "They deserved it. They were able to get back into things with the home runs and then string hits together for the big inning. We have to shake this off and come back tomorrow and put some runs on the board."

South Carolina worked the Rebels into a jam in the first inning, using back-to-back infield singles and a walk to load the bases with one out. But, Bukvich responded, getting the next two Gamecock batters to foul out and line out to end the inning.

Ole Miss answered with a threat in the second, as Jon-Jon Hancock reached on a double to right center with two outs. Logan Power then powered a single through the middle, but the Rebels threat ended when Hancock was thrown out at home from centerfield in a close play at the plate as he tried to score from second.

Brett Basham led off the third for the Rebels with a single up the middle, moving to second on a sacrifice bunt from Justin Henry and taking third on a grounder to second from C.J. Ketchum. Chris Coghlan was hit by pitch in the next at bat to reach safely. Basham then scored on a wild pitch as Coghlan moved to second and the Rebels took a 1-0 lead.

South Carolina answered in the bottom of the third when Cheyne Hurst singled on the third infield hit of the day for the Gamecocks. He then moved to second when Michael Campbell hit a chopper over the head of a leaping Coghlan at third, moving Hurst to third and putting runners at the corners with one out. With two outs on the board and runners still at the corners, Reese Havens hit a chopper down the first base line, but a streaking Justin Henry fielded the ball behind the bag and made the throw to Ketchum in time to get the out and end the Gamecock threat.

In the seventh, the Gamecocks got things going with a single to right center from James Darnell to open the inning. He moved to second on a sac bunt and then advanced to third on a single to short from Neil Giesler to put runners at the corners with one out. The Gamecocks tied the game with a double to left center from Campbell to put runners at second and third with still only one out. The Rebels then intentionally walked designated hitter, Robbie Grinestaff, to load the bases.

White got Grinestaff to pop out to short for the second out, and the next batter flew out to center to end the inning and leave the game tied 1-1.

Coghlan led off the eighth with a double to right field before moving to third on a sac bunt from Cozart. Pinch hitter Evan Button drew a walk to load the bases with two outs, loading the bases for Power. Power then came up big, fighting off two pitches with two strikes before ripping a single through the left side to score Coghlan and Presley and give the Rebels a 3-1 lead.

Justin Smoak took the first pitch of the eight over the left field wall to cut back into the Rebel lead before the Gamecocks tied the game up on another home run a batter later as Andrew Crisp hit his second home run of the weekend to tie the game at three.

Cody Satterwhite entered the game with no outs in the eighth and the score tied at three to try to close things down for the Rebels. The Gamecocks would go on to put together three more runs in the inning using clutch hitting around a pair of costly Rebel errors to move ahead 6-3 after the five run inning.

South Carolina would then hold on for the win.

Brett Bukvich started the game for the Rebels, working 6.0 innings as he held the Gamecocks scoreless on six hits, while walking two and striking out four.

Forrest Beverly started the game for South Carolina, making it 3.1 innings as he gave up one run on four hits while walking three and striking out one.

The Rebels and Gamecocks will play the final game of the series at 12:30 p.m. CST on Sunday.

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