Ticket Punched

It took a little over four hours and 11 innings, but in the end the Rebels got it done with clutch performances at the plate as Ole Miss (34-22, 15-15 SEC) clinched an SEC Tournament berth with a 7-5 win over No. 20 Kentucky (41-15, 16-14 SEC) on Sunday.

Tied at five in the 11th, the Rebels opened the inning with back-to-back singles from Brett Basham and Jordan Henry before an intentional walk of Logan Power with one out loaded the bases. Cody Overbeck then pushed across the go ahead run as he was hit by a pitch before Matt Smith drew a two-out, bases loaded walk to push a second run across and give the Rebels the 7-5 win.

Scott Bittle (6-1) picked up the win as he entered the game to relieve starter Cody Satterwhite in the fourth inning and worked the final 7.1 innings. Bittle allowed one run on five hits with three walks and struck out a season-high 10 batters in the outing, including the SEC's top hitter in Sawyer Carroll for the final out of the game.

Andrew Albers (7-4) suffered the loss in relief for the Wildcats as he worked 0.1 innings and allowed two runs on two hits with a walk.

"Thank God for Scott Bittle," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "It's magnificent the way he handles the pressure. He is always thrown into the fire and no one handles it better than he does. We got some big at bats in the 11th inning.

"Brett Basham came up with a big hit to start things off and Jordan Henry might have gotten the biggest hit of the game with two strikes to put two on before Fuller Smith sacrificed them over. I thought Matt Smith really did a tremendous job today coming up with a big hit in the first inning and then drawing that walk in the final inning. He played great defense at first base today, as well."

Zach Miller led the Rebel offense, going 2-for-4 with three RBI, while Cody Overbeck was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI.

Ole Miss scored in the first as Michael Guerrero came up with a two-out RBI-double down the left field line to score Fuller Smith from third and move Cody Overbeck from first to third. With runners at first and second, Matt Smith singled to right field to score Overbeck and give the Rebels a 2-0 lead. Zach Miller then popped a single over the head of the shortstop to push a third run across.

Kentucky answered in the fourth when Chris McClendon singled up the middle to score Ryan Wilkes from second and move Sawyer Carroll to third. The hit left runners at the corners with one out before Satterwhite walked Spear to load the bases. Satterwhite then struck out Chris Wade, but a three-RBI double from Brian Rose gave the Wildcats a 4-3 lead and the Rebels went to the bullpen for Scott Bittle. Bittle then struck out the next batter to get the Rebels out of the inning and record his 100th strikeout of the season.

The Rebels reclaimed the lead in the sixth when Zach Miller came up with a two-out, two-RBI single to right center that came out of the glove of a diving centerfielder, allowing Cody Overbeck and Matt Smith to score on the play. Ole Miss led 5-4 after five and a half complete.

Spear opened the Kentucky half of the eighth inning with a solo shot to left field to tie the game at five.

Ole Miss loaded the bases with one out in the 11th with back-to-back singles from Basham and Henry before the Wildcats intentionally walked Power with one out. Overbeck was then hit by a pitch to push the go-ahead run across the plate. Matt Smith drew a two out walk with the bases loaded to push a second run across and give the Rebels a 7-5 lead.

The lead would hold in the bottom half of the inning as Bittle would retire the side in order, closing with his 10th strikeout of the game against Carroll.

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