Morgan Bails Out Rebs in Wednesday Win

Jake Morgan was quick to say that he enjoys the high-pressure situation. Wednesday, the freshman excelled in one as well.

Morgan escaped a difficult jam when he entered in the sixth inning, and Ole Miss fought off a pesky Jackson State team, 5-3, before an announced Swayze Field crowd of 4,127 to finalize out of league play for the year.

The No. 25 Rebels (30-17) finish the season19-7 in nonconference action.

Nathan Baker (3-4), who struckout two and scattered seven hits leading to three runs but only one earned, fired five-plus innings for the win but gave way to Morgan with runners on second and third and no outs in the sixth inning.

Morgan cleaned up the mess with an opening strikeout and coaxed the next Tiger into a soft liner at Zach Miller. Miller snagged the ball and stepped on second for a double play to end the inning.

"I love clutch situations and live for the moment," Morgan said. "That is what we teach here, and that is what I wanted to go in for…Coach ( Mike Bianco) said to minimize it."

Morgan not only minimized the sixth inning, but he also held Jackson State (33-16) at bay in the seventh and eighth frames. In all, the right-hander went three innings, surrendering just one walk and punching out five hitters.

"He really pitched well," Bianco said. "Tremendous slider when he came in and backing it up with a 90-plus fastball."

Scott Bittle followed Morgan and worked a perfect ninth for his seventh save, tying his total from last season.

It wasn't a banner day offensively, but Fuller Smith, Logan Power, Cody Overbeck and Justin Henry produced multiple hits. Fuller Smith and Matt Smith both homered, and Cullan Kight had an RBI.

"It was good to get a win no matter how it happened," Henry said. "I have a lot more confidence, and we hit some balls hard. Just need to keep working because a big weekend is ahead at Georgia."

A three-inning offensive spurt provided the winning margin. Ole Miss pushed two across in the second, one in the third and two more in the fourth.

The Tigers tied the game at two with a couple runs in the fourth and cut the lead to two in the sixth before Morgan slammed the door.

"He has been solid for us, and we know he is going to go in there and work hard," Fuller Smith said of Morgan.

Charles Williams suffered the loss for Jackson State with three runs and seven hits allowed. Tiger Jerome Tyes, of Baldwyn, led JSU with three hits.

Ole Miss (11-10) travels to Georgia (15-5-1) this weekend for a three-game series.

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