Bittle, Bunting lift Rebs to Game One Win

The Ole Miss offense got out of its long ball, swing away comfort zone to rally for a 7-6 win over Vanderbilt in game one Saturday afternoon.

The Rebels trailed 6-4 in the bottom of the sixth and played small ball after Jeremy Travis doubled to score Zach Miller who had doubled to lead off the inning as the Rebs trailed 6-5.

Then the Rebels proved that in baseball if you'll try to make something positive happen, then sometimes it does. Tim Ferguson bunted the first pitch from Vandy starter Mike Minor, and the ball rolled all the way to third, hitting the bag and going past it as Travis waited, watched, and headed safely home to tie the game 6-6.

Surprisingly the Rebels' Brett Basham then bunted the first pitch in front of the plate. Basham was out at first but he moved Ferguson to third. More surprises were up next. Fuller Smith bunted as Ferguson was headed home on the squeeze to put the Rebels ahead.

Logan Power grounded out, and Minor had thrown just 10 pitches to six batters in the inning as the Rebels moved ahead for good.

Minor went six and two-thirds (seven runs, six earned, with a walk and two strikeouts) before giving way to Chase Reid who finished the final inning and a third for the Commodores, allowing no runs or hits with one strikeout.

Scott Bittle was sensational in relief of Lance Lynn, who uncharacteristically gave up three home runs in four-plus innings. Bittle went the rest of the way, allowing no runs on just one hit with three walks and nine strikeouts, facing 18 Commodore batters.

Dominic de la Osa and Pedro Alvarez both hit long balls off Lynn in the top of the first, and David Macias added a two-run shot in the top of the fourth.

Travis led the Rebs at the plate going 3-for-4 with 3 RBI. A two-run homer by Matt Smith had given the Rebels a 4-3 lead in the third.

Lynn's final line was six runs, eight hits, three walks, five strikeouts, and one hit batter which knocked Vandy second baseman Alex Feinberg out of the game in the top of the third with a bloody mouth.

It was that kind of game as two of the SEC's best the past few seasons slugged it out in game one.

"Absolutely nothing was working today," Lynn said of his pitches. "I couldn't locate anything, but the offense really bailed me out. They are starting to come together."

The Rebels, 18-11 overall, have won three games in a row dating back to the Sunday finale at Alabama and with a midweek home win over Memphis. Ole Miss is 5-5 in SEC play.

Vanderbilt fell to 19-8 and 5-4. Game two began at 4:50 p.m.


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