Back to back homers lift Rebs

Ole Miss and Bethune-Cookman played one to the wire Friday night and it was the Rebels who came out on top 3-2. Will Kline (5-2) got the win for UM, while R.J. Rodriguez (8-5) got the loss for BCC. The Wildcats play Tulane at 1 p.m. Saturday, while the Rebels play the Jaguars at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Back to back home runs from Justin Brashear and Mark Wright in the bottom of the seventh inning were only two moments that made a difference in Ole Miss' opening round 3-2 victory against Bethune-Cookman College.

With the win, the top-seeded Rebels advance to play third-seeded South Alabama at 5 p.m. Saturday. In the 1 p.m. contest, fourth-seeded Bethune-Cookman meets second-seeded Tulane, a 7-1 loser to South Alabama earlier in the day.

Name some other key moments in the game witnessed by an announced crowd of 7,018. How about Will Kline's eight-inning, six-hit, two-earned-run performance with nine strikeouts and two walks? Or Garrett White's three up, three down ninth as he had the Wildcats swinging at air?

Or what about the moment prior to the two homers by the two Rebels as BCC came from behind 1-0 to move ahead 2-1? The Wildcats could have gotten more but Colin Irvin overran the bag at third on a Spencer Hill double as a Logan Power to Justin Henry to Chris Coghlan throw and tag got him.

Moments. There were others, of course, and this one had all the drama you'd expect from a Regional-opening game. It was that way all over the country on day one, it seemed.

"That's the kind of play we've made all year," Bianco said of the out at third which possibly prevented more BCC runs. "A lot of times those type plays go unnoticed. Defensively we're really good. That play squelched their rally."

It was the second out in the seventh after the Wildcats had gotten three singles before it. Another single followed but a strikeout ended the frame with the Rebels down 2-1.

"We had to come back and answer right away," said Brashear of the bottom of the seventh inning dramatics, starting with his leadoff, first-pitch shot over the right field wall.

"I definitely fed off of that," said Wright of Brashear's home run just before his. "I'm not going to lie. I had home run on my mind."

So he followed it up with a blast of his own toward the fans underneath the scoreboard in left.

Kline got the Wildcats three up, three down in the top of the eighth, but the Rebels couldn't do anything offensively in the bottom of that inning either as a one-out Alex Presley single went for naught.

Then came White, and three Bethune-Cookman batters could do nothing with the Rebel junior southpaw.

Bianco said this type game proves why coaches usually go with the ace.

"We started Will because of the respect we had for Bethune-Cookman and how good we knew they were," he said. "In a game like this you want your best guy out there on the mound. And right now he's our best guy. We needed Will Kline and we needed all eight innings of Will Kline."

Kline said Bianco told him after the eighth that he was finished. The sophomore righty then took a look down at the bullpen.

"I saw Garrett warming up, and I'm as confident in him as anybody in the world," Kline said. "He pitched great with three strikeouts. I know he was feeding off the crowd like I was."

Bianco said, although there had been some shaky moments in some games with White pitching as the season wore on, he knew he always had what it took to get outs.

"As a coach sometimes you can't just look at the results," he said. "Sometimes we don't make a couple of plays and that hurts a pitcher. Some other things might also happen. But I never lost confidence in him.

"The reason you go to him tonight is we had the one-run lead and they had four left-handers coming up," he continued. "It was perfect. Will had just gotten through their big right-handers, and Garrett was going to be able to start the inning facing another left-hander and maybe three or four in a row. Unless they chose to pinch hit, which they did a couple of times there."

Didn't matter. Three strikeouts later and the Rebels were 41-20 and headed to the late game on Saturday.

The Rebels outhit the Wildcats 8 to 6. Ole Miss' first run came in the second as Evan Button's fly ball to center got Logan Power home from third. Power had reached on a base hit and advanced to third on a Brashear double.

Wildcat head coach Mervyl Melendez said his team was disappointed in losing, no matter that they were the fourth seed.

"We expected to win," he said after his club fell to 30-26. "I'm proud of my team. I give it up to Will Kline. He pitched great. I'm satisfied with the effort from my team but not the outcome."

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