Rebels beat Kentucky 9-2 after weather delay

Just when it seemed like things weren't going Ole Miss' way recently in baseball, along comes a thunderstorm delay to send thousands of fans scurrying for cover and the Rebs into the locker room. Turns out it might have been the best thing that could have happened.

Ole Miss defeated Kentucky 9-2 but trailed 1-0 in the bottom of the third inning of game two of this Southeastern Conference series when approaching storms forced the umpires to stop the proceedings. At that point Ole Miss wasn't doing much proceeding anyway.

The night before Kentucky had defeated the Rebels 8-1 in a weak all-around performance by the home team. Appearing lifeless at the outset of this one, the Rebels seemed to find new life in the almost hour and a half weather delay.

"After the rain delay we played like we are capable of playing, the way we expect to play everyday," said junior shortstop Zack Cozart, who was 3-for-5 on the day with 2 RBI and a run scored. "(During the rain delay) We were just relaxing. We were laughing. We were down 1-0, but we knew that we still had six innings to play and the way we're capable of playing could put us ahead in that game."

As soon as play resumed, starter Lance Lynn got the Wildcats to go three up, three down in the top of the fourth. In the bottom of the fourth, the Rebels got things rolling. With two outs, Justin Henry singled up the middle, and Cody Overbeck homered over the right field wall to put Ole Miss up 2-1. The Rebels were on their way.

After Lynn held UK at bay in the fifth, Ole Miss added another run in the bottom of the fifth when Brett Basham singled to drive in C.J. Ketchum who had singled and moved to second on a Kyle Mills single.

Trailing 3-1, Kentucky got a run in the top of the sixth to cut the margin to one again.

But the Rebels got the run back in the bottom of the sixth on a Zack Miller base hit to score Justin Henry who had reached with a triple down the right field line for a 4-2 UM lead.

The Rebels would break the game wide open the next two innings, adding two in the bottom of the seventh and three more in the bottom of the eighth.

A Justin Henry triple, this time to left field, got two runs home in the seventh for a 6-2 advantage as Jordan Henry and Cozart scored after reaching on a hit by pitch and a double respectively.

In the eighth, Logan Power led off with a solo shot over the left field wall to make it 7-2. Evan Button followed with a double, and Mills was hit by a pitch. JoJo Tann pinch ran for Mills, and Cozart drove both Button and Tann in with a single to left for the final margin of victory.

Lynn went a solid 7.1 innings, allowing just two runs on four hits with six strikeouts and three walks. Cody Satterwhite came in and went the final 1.2 innings giving up just a hit.

"I felt great after the rain delay," Lynn said after he moved to 6-4 on the season with the victory. "I think I pitched better after the delay. I calmed down a little bit and it kept me loose in the lockerroom. It was no problem whatsoever coming back."

Lynn said the delay came just in the nick of time for him to stay in the contest.

"If the delay was in the fifth, Coach (Mike Bianco) probably wouldn't have let me go back out," he said. "He came up to me during the delay and said it was my decision, and I said I wanted to go back out there. I went back out there and threw the ball well."

Ole Miss outhit Kentucky 14 to 5. Bianco said the Rebels needed an offensive game like this one.

"Offense is so sporadic," he said after his team improved to 33-19 overall and 14-12 in SEC action. "Look at Kentucky last night where we pitched so well for five innings, and then they were able to put some innings together, and that happens in baseball. You just jump out and score a lot of runs; you have good innings and you have bad innings."

Starter Andrew Albers (6-4) got the loss for UK - the first of four pitchers used by Wildcat coaches on the day.

Kentucky head coach John Cohen, his team now 32-17-1 and 11-14-1, said the game reminded him of the one the previous night that the Wildcats had won - with one major exception.

"It was the same game as last night," he said, "except reversed."

The Rebels and Wildcats meet at 1:30 p.m. Sunday to decide the weekend.


Other quotes from Saturday's game:

Justin Henry: "I think that was my first time (hitting two triples in one game). It was big for us, especially that last one because it moved the lead from two to four. That's one thing we haven't been able to do so well this year - separate ourselves. So that was good to get those runs in right there. Overall, it was a great game for us. After the rain delay we really came out and played extremely well and that was good to see."

Justin Henry on the weather delay: "I thought so (the rain delay being the best thing for the team). When we came out today, maybe some guys were still thinking about the loss last night and it just didn't seem like we had the energy we needed today. During the rain delay you have time to go in the lockerroom. I think it got some guys loose and we came out a little more having a good time and realizing that we're playing baseball and we're supposed to have fun. You never really want a rain delay, but it really seemed to work out today. Hopefully we can build on that because I thought that we played just about as well as we have all year after that. We just have to come out and try and build on that tomorrow (Sunday)."

Justin Henry on winning more games and reaching team goals: "I think everybody knew it was a sense of urgency. We're getting down to the stretch run and this is when you have to start playing well. If we want to reach our goals of hosting a regional and things like that, we have to win now. I think everybody knew that this was a big game for us."

Justin Henry on a lineup change that had Cozart batting second and himself third: "Jordan was up to bat in the first inning I had seen the lineup. Cozart is standing at the end of the dugout holding his bat, and I told him he was batting two today. We get so used to batting 1, 2, 3. For some reason I looked today and noticed it, but Zack didn't have any idea. It was just a little wrinkle and it worked for us tonight.

Cody Overbeck on jump-starting the offense with his two-run homer in the fourth: "Once we got going, we scored every inning. We knew Lance was going to shut them down. We just had to put some runs up for him. Anytime someone hits a home run it's always huge, especially in this case because it put us up by a run."

Bianco on the lineup change: "You hope that it's going to work, but you never know. Justin, being one of our best hitters, never having the opportunity except for one or two games early in the season to be that guy that hits runs in and gets the RBI. It also breaks up the two lefthanders, which I've never been a fan of, but early on it seemed to really bring a lot of energy to the offense. They have to pitch to Zack now with a guy that's batting .400 behind him now."

Bianco on the offense on Saturday: "I thought one of the big keys was the home run by Overbeck. I thought it really ignited the team and got the crowd into it, and that's what offense does; offense brings the crowd into it and the emotion back into the game. You need offense to get people into it. That's why I think hitting is contagious. Once you get some of that offense, once you get the spark, sometimes you start to roll. We get the home run and then you look and we've scored the next five innings in a row."

OM Spirit Top Stories