Back to Back Comebacks

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - For the second straight night, Ole Miss rallied to win in dramatic fashion as the Rebels beat Memphis 7-6 in 10 innings on Wednesday.

On Tuesday night the Rebels rallied with two runs in the ninth inning to beat Jackson State 8-7.

They were thrilling victories, but Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco was far from pleased.

"It's always great to win, but once again I just don't feel we played very well," he said after his team improved to 19-8 on the season. "We talked about that as a team out in the outfield (after the game). We have to be honest enough to accept that we've got to play better than this. The good thing is that we win, that we find ways to win. Last year when we didn't play well we didn't win."

Memphis had committed four errors prior to the Rebels' comeback and had outhit them 10-6 at that point. The game was tied 6-6 when Jake Morgan came in to start the bottom of the ninth. The Tigers were done offensively.

Of the last 21 outs the redshirt sophomore has recorded, 20 have come by way of strikeout. Tonight was more of what we've seen from him this season.

"You can't expect to strike everybody out," said Morgan, who has come pretty close.

Against Memphis in the ninth and tenth, he had five strikeouts and a fly ball to center field.

"As a closer that's what your deal is," he said. "You've got to go in and put up zeroes so your team can have a chance to come back and win. I knew if I did my part, they would do theirs."

Like Kyle Henson, with a big two-out, 3-2 count RBI single in the ninth to tie the game. And Jordan Henry's equally as big two-out, 0-2 count RBI single in the tenth to put the Rebels ahead.

"Everybody probably thinks home run in that situation and how that would feel," said Henson, who was awarded the t-shirt from the coaches as the player of the game after going 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored. "But once it was later in the count, I just had to buckle down and shorten my swing up and try to put the ball into play."

Nice plan. Perfect execution.

"It was a breaking ball and I was adjusting," Henry said of his at-bat in the tenth. "At 0-2 I thought he might pitch out or something. I was just trying to get my foot down early and work and move the ball and find a hole. I was fortunate to find a hole out there."

Another nice plan. Again perfect execution.

The Rebels had scored three runs in the first inning and got no more until they scored a couple in the seventh. In that top of the first, Ole Miss led 2-0 with two outs and had a runner on first base when Tiger starting pitcher Ben Paullus left the game with an injury.

Jonathan Jones came in for Paullus and after a wild pitch got Henson to second, Matt Smith singled up the middle to score another Rebel run.

But Jones would be tough on the Rebels, and Ole Miss didn't get another run until the seventh when the Rebs scored two to trim the Memphis lead down to 6-5.

Rory McKean had come in for starter Brett Bukvich to slow the Tigers down. Bukvich had gone five innings with five runs, four earned, on five hits with three strikeouts and two walks. McKean allowed just one run on five hits with two strikeouts and a walk.

Morgan (3-1) got the win. Duke Williams (1-1), the last of five Memphis pitchers, got the loss.

The Tigers, who ended the game with 10 hits to the Rebels' nine, are now 10-16 this season.

The Rebels appear to be getting used to winning the close ones, and they say they never feel they're out of it.

"We've had a lot of games like this," Henry said. "It's never over ‘til it's over. We've had that confidence throughout the season, midweek or weekends. In college baseball, you never know what can happen."

With this team, however, we're beginning to figure it out.


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