Rebs win; take rest of Friday off - again

HOOVER, Ala. – Ole Miss is used to getting Friday off at the SEC Tournament. Playing the last game on Thursday night each of the last three years, it takes until Friday's first hour to free up the rest of the day. And this time a little poke over the left field wall by Michael Guerrero.

The Rebel junior center fielder launched the game winner out of Regions Park, a walkoff blast that lifted his team to a dramatic 8-7 win over Kentucky.

The slugfest had lasted almost four hours as the two teams battled it out until 12:30 a.m.

On Friday. The Rebels' day off.

Back and forth and back and forth. The Rebels scored three runs in the bottom of the third to lead 3-0, but UK tied it 3-3 in the top of the fourth.

The eighth-seeded Rebels went back on top 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth and remained in front until fourth-seeded Kentucky tied it 4-4 in the top of the sixth. UK got one in the top of the seventh to lead 5-4. Ole Miss got two in the bottom of the seventh to lead 6-5. UK tied it in the top of the eighth at 6-6 and went ahead in the top of the ninth 7-6.

Guerrero's shot came off UK reliever Scott Green after Logan Power led off the frame with a single. After Cody Overbeck struck out, Guerrero came up and knocked it out, sending the Rebels on to Saturday at 10 a.m. when they'll play the winner of this afternoon's 3 p.m. Vanderbilt-South Carolina contest and Kentucky to the loser's bracket to face Alabama at 6:30 p.m. today.

Ole Miss improved to 36-22 while Kentucky fell to 42-16.

The winning pitcher was Jake Morgan (3-0), the third of three pitchers used by the Rebels. The loss went to Green, now 6-4.

Drew Pomeranz started the game for UM and went 4.2 innings, allowing three runs, all earned, on five hits with five strikeouts and three walks.

Brett Bukvich relieved Pomeranz and went two innings with two runs, one earned, on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts.

Morgan, the winner, went 2.1 innings with two runs, one earned, on one hit with two strikeouts and no walks.

The Rebels, who outhit Kentucky 10-9, took the 3-0 lead in the third and appeared to be in command, much like they had done in the previous night's 4-1 win over top-seed Georgia when they went up 2-0 in the top of the first.

After Jordan Henry struck out in the third, Fuller Smith singled followed by a Power walk. Overbeck singled between third and short to score Fuller Smith. After Guerrero flew out deep to center, which moved the runners up a base, Matt Smith singled up the middle to score Power and Overbeck. Matt Smith was thrown out trying to reach second base.

Kentucky answered with three runs of its own in the top of the fourth. A two-out rally started as Chris Wade, with two strikes, doubled to the left corner to get Collin Cowgill and Chris McClendon home. Both had reached on base hits. Troy Frazier singled to center field to score Wade. Pomeranz finally got out of it as Marcus Nidiffer then struck out.

The Rebels got the lead right back 4-3. Zach Miller walked and reached third after UK starter Paxton threw to first but unloaded all the way to the first base bullpen. Miller scored on a fly ball to right by Tim Ferguson. A Brett Basham walk chased Paxton as Tommy Warner relieved him. After Henry singled, Fuller Smith struck out and UK changed pitchers again before facing Power. Brock Baber came in and got the Rebel leftfielder to fly out to center.

The score remained 4-3 Ole Miss until the top of the sixth when the Wildcats got a run to tie it 4-4. Brett Bukvich, who had relieved Pomeranz with two outs in the fifth, got two quick outs in the sixth before Frazier doubled followed by a Nidiffer walk. Keenan Wiley singled to center field to score Frazier. Ryan Wilkes then struck out to keep things all locked up.

In the seventh, Morgan relieved Bukvich with two outs and a run in after Overbeck was charged with a throwing error. Morgan got Wade to strike out and send the game on to the bottom of the seventh with the Cats up 5-4.

With two outs, Matt Smith sent one to the top of the second wall in center field, which also scored Guerrero who had reached on a single. The Rebs led 6-5 heading to the eighth.

UK tied it 6-6 in the top of the eighth after a Ferguson error at short opened the door. Frazier reached when the Rebel freshman couldn't come up with a ball, and it bounded into center field as Frazier got all the way to second. Nidiffer sac bunted him to third, and he scored on a fielder's choice by Wiley as Nidiffer came home ahead of a tag by Basham after a throw from Matt Smith.

After the Rebels failed to score in the bottom of the eighth, UK got a leadoff triple in the top of the ninth by Carroll. Cowgill flew out to right to score Carroll for the go-ahead run at 7-6.

Then came the Rebels' heroics in the bottom of the ninth.

Followed by the rest of the day off.


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