Late Runs Propel Rebs to Wednesday Win

Freshman third baseman Logan Williams hit his first home run of his career, coming up with a two-run shot in the eighth inning to snap a tie game and propel No. 21 Ole Miss (27-15) to a 9-4 win over Arkansas State (16-26) on Wednesday.

Williams led the Rebels with a 2-for-5 performance with two runs scored and two RBI and was one of three Rebels to record multiple hits on the night. Jordan Henry was 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Zach Miller was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

Rory McKean (4-0) picked up the win as he worked 1.0 inning, entering the game in the seventh with a runner on second and working 1.0 inning as he allowed one run on one hit – a two-run home run – with no walks and no strikeouts. The Rebels got the go-ahead home run from Williams in the bottom half of the frame, earning McKean the win. Scott Bittle picked up his fifth save of the season as he worked the final 1.1 innings, holding the Indians hitless and recording three strikeouts.

Chris Bullington (0-3) suffered the loss in relief for the Indians as he allowed two runs on two hits with three walks and four strikeouts in his 5.0 innings of work.

"I thought Brett Bukvich was terrific tonight in the start and we have really continued to see him pitch sensationally the last three or four outings," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "That's coming at the right time for us. We had the huge inning early, got shut down for a few innings and saw the game tied and then we were able to rebound."

Arkansas State took the early lead, scoring in the first as Guy Brown crossed the plate from second on a single through the left side from Ryan Hudgins. Brown reached with a double to right field.

Matt Smith pulled the Rebels even in the top of the second as he hit a home run to straight away center to open the frame. Zach Miller then singled to right before moving to third on a single to right from Logan Williams. Tim Ferguson then laid down a successful squeeze bunt that died in front of the plate, allowing Miller to score and moving Williams to second. Brett Basham then doubled to left center to drive in both runners and give Ole Miss the 4-1 lead.

A fielding error at third in the sixth inning allowed Derrick Coleman to reach second to open the frame. Coleman then moved to third on a sac bunt from Hudgins and then scored on a single to center field from Brandon Eller. Eller was thrown out at second on the play, trying to stretch the hit but Power threw in to Matt Smith who covered second on the play. A double to right center from Lawson Hipps sent the Rebels to the bullpen for Jake Morgan.

Morgan got the first batter faced to ground out to short, ending the inning with the Rebels in the lead 4-2. The Indians tied things in the seventh as pinch-hitter Murray Watts hit a two-run home run to straight away center to knot the score at four.

Logan Williams then rocketed the Rebels back into the lead with a two-run shot of his own in the top of the eighth that scored Miller from second and gave Ole Miss the 6-4 lead.

Arkansas State threatened again in the bottom half of the inning, putting two on with two outs. The Rebel bullpen came up with the big play as Bittle did what he does best, striking out Drew Benes to end the threat and keep the Rebels in the lead.

Ole Miss added to the lead in the ninth as Ole Miss loaded the bases and Jordan Henry came up with a two-RBI single through the right side. Arkansas State went home with the throw, allowing Henry to move to second on the play. The Indians threw to second, but the throw was off the mark, allowing Matt Smith to score from third on the play and give the Rebels a 9-4 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.

Bittle then shut down the Indians in the bottom half of the inning to preserve the win.

Ole Miss will return to action this weekend when the Rebels continue Southeastern Conference play with a three-game series against the Arkansas Razorbacks. First pitch for Friday's game is set for 6:30 p.m. at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.

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