Rebs manufacture run in ninth to beat WSU

Brett Basham may be at the bottom of the hitting line-up, but he was at the top of the reasons why Ole Miss (6-1) was able to sneak out a wild 3-2 win over Wright State (0-1) on Friday.

The sophomore catcher connected for an RBI double in the third to open the scoring and sacrificed Evan Button to third base in what would prove to be the walk-off winning run during the final inning.

"I got a good pitch to hit in the first at-bat," Basham said. "The solid hit set the tone for the day. They brought in a new pitcher before the last at-bat and gave me the chance to bunt or slash. I was able to get the bunt down and put Evan in scoring position for us to win the game."

With the score tied at two, Cody Overbeck delivered his third hit of the day to open up the bottom of the ninth and Button entered to pinch run. Jordan Henry followed with a walk and Basham continued with the sacrifice to put both runners in scoring position.

The Raiders intentionally walked Justin Henry to load the bases, but after the fourth pitch, Button faked a break from third base. The Wright State catcher hit Button in the back, allowing him to trot him to a roaring crowd, while the ball rolled slowly down the third-base line.

"I never expected him to fire it down to third," Button said. "I tried to get in his way, to wear it, and see if it would bounce off. I saw it go down the line and knew there was no way they'd get me out. After sitting on the bench all day, that was a really good way to end it. But, the only way that happens is if Basham gets that bunt down. He's the man."

Basham also halted the Wright State offense by gunning down all three Raider runners that tested his arm on the afternoon.

"He was great," head coach Mike Bianco said. "That's the difference in the game. You block balls in front of the plate and you throw out runners. Types of plays like that win this type of game."

Ole Miss starting pitcher Will Kline supplied the Rebel offense with an opportunity to come through by tossing eight innings of two-run, two-hit baseball to go along with a career-high 13 strike outs and two base on balls.

"The line says enough, but he was awesome," Bianco said. "This is as good as he has been. He had command of both sides of the plate, the slider and the change-up. He was just super dominant all day."

Kline kept the Raiders at bay until the fifth when a check-swing double and a wild pitch plated Wright State's first run of the season. The Raiders tied it at 2-2 an inning later on a solo home run by Ross Oeder after a pitch just missed the strike zone that would have ended the inning. Kline jumped up in the air, but the umpire never flinched.

Scott Bittle (1-0) relieved Kline in the ninth and dazzled with a one, two, three inning where he struck out the side to pick up the win.

Raider starter Garrett Holleran pitched into the seventh, giving up only two runs on seven hits. Three relievers didn't allow an earned run in one and two/thirds innings of work, but Erich Schanz (0-1) was the hard-luck pitcher of record.

Logan Power drove in Basham with a sharp single during the third inning for the final run before the ninth inning walk-off. Justin Henry was also 2-3 on the day. Ole Miss left nine runners on base. Wright State left no one.

The two teams continue the series Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Lance Lynn will take the mound for Ole Miss, while Danny Barker gets the ball for Wright State. Sunday's affair will be a noon start.

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