Rebs fall 7-6 to Vandy in series finale

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - For the second time in three games, Ole Miss led by a run heading into the bottom of the ninth and didn't get it done.

Or maybe Vanderbilt was behind by a run twice heading into the home half of the ninth and ultimately won both.

Sunday's 7-6 win by Vandy had a lot of the same feel that the Commodores' 3-2 win in 10 innings Friday night had. For the Rebels it was a bad feeling.

This was an early SEC season heavyweight slugfest between two of the nation's best teams. If Vandy is No. 1 as they are currently ranked, then Ole Miss, ranked 14th, should be a top 5 team.

"No doubt about that," said Ole Miss shortstop Zack Cozart, 4-for-5 in this one with an RBI and a run scored. "If we continue to play like we did we'll be fine. Just a couple of pitches here or there and a play or a hit or two, and we sweep this thing."

Rebel third baseman Cody Overbeck agreed as the Rebels prepared to make a bus ride home for Oxford and then turn around and head to Mobile, Ala., on Monday afternoon. The Rebels and the Jaguars of South Alabama meet Tuesday at 4 p.m.

"We came up here expecting to win," said Overbeck, who was 1-for-4 on the day but with a big solo blast over the left center wall in the top of the second to give UM a 1-0 lead. "It's tough to lose two out of three. We're disappointed that we lost, but we leave here knowing we're good."

The Rebels carried a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth, but Vandy came back with three runs that inning to tie it. In the process, the Commodores sent Rebel starter Brett Bukvich to the dugout and reliever Cody Satterwhite came in to replace him. Satterwhite entered with the score tied 4-4 and one out with a runner on first. The sophomore righty got Jonathan White, the hero of Friday night's game with the winning hit in the bottom of the 10th, to ground into a double play.

Satterwhite stayed in the rest of the way until closer Scott Bittle came in to start the bottom of the ninth.

Trailing 5-4, Ole Miss had gone ahead in the top of ninth 6-5. Jordan Henry had a great at-bat to lead things off, competing and battling against VU closer Casey Weathers until he got ball four. Justin Henry then bunted and Vandy third baseman Pedro Alvarez picked up the ball and threw it high and well past first base to allow Jordan to scoot to third and Justin to reach first safely.

Zack Cozart singled up the middle to score Jordan, followed by an Andrew Clark strikeout for the first out of the inning. On an 0-1 count to Cody Overbeck, Justin and Cozart double-stole second and third. A wild pitch from Weathers then scored Justin from third. But Overbeck struck out for the second out with the Rebs up 6-5. Logan Power then grounded out to the shortstop.

In the bottom of the ninth, Bittle, who got the loss Friday night, got Ryan Flaherty to ground out to the shortstop Cozart. Shea Robin then reached first base when a Cozart throw to first baseman Peyton Farr, who had entered to replace starter Andrew Clark, popped out of his glove for an error on Farr, the Rebs' only error of the day. (Vandy had three in the contest.)

Friday night hero White did his thing again getting a single just past Farr and into right putting runners on first and second. Matt Meingasner then got a single between third and short to score Robin, but White was thrown out at third by left fielder Fuller Smith to catcher Brett Basham to shortstop Cozart for an important second out. But the score was now 6-6. Brad French bunted safely to put runners on first and second.

Then David Macias singled to right field to score Meingasner for the winning run. Vandy improved to 22-1 on the season and 2-1 in SEC play.

"We came in here with a lot of confidence and we were right there to win two or three games," said a disappointed UM team captain Justin Henry. "We got two big runs there in the ninth. Unfortunately they were able to turn around and do the same thing."

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said his team isn't doing enough things well to win a close game in the tough SEC.

"We had too many missed opportunities," Bianco said. "There were some execution problems today. We left too many runners on third base with less than two outs (that happened three times). You get one or two of those in and we probably win."

Bianco said it was good to see Satterwhite come in and pitch effectively.

"I'm proud of him," Bianco said. "He gave us an opportunity to win today."

Bittle, now 1-3, was charged with his second loss of the weekend. Weathers (3-0) got the win for Vandy.

The Commodores outhit the Rebels 17 to 13.

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