The Wildcats (14-5, 0-2 SEC) trailed 7-2 heading to the bottom of the eighth, but Ole Miss reliever David Goforth gave up four runs on three hits with a walk and no strikeouts. Only a pop up by Keenen Wiley to Miles Hamblin at first base got Goforth and the Rebels out of it to end the frame.
After the Rebs (15-4, 2-0) failed to score in the top of the ninth, Brett Huber came on to close things out for Ole Miss, and did so in mostly impressive fashion.
The redshirt freshman right-hander struck out Gunner Glad. Michael Williams followed suit with a strikeout. Chad Wright walked, and up came Lance Ray, one of two UK players who had homered in the eighth off Goforth. After a battle with Ray fouling off at least a half dozen pitches, Ray flew out to Tanner Mathis in left field to seal it for the Rebels.
Aaron Barrett's seven-inning, two runs, one earned, seven strikeout, one walk performance was almost overshadowed by the end of the game dramatics. But the senior right-hander moved to 5-0 this season and has pitched well all year.
"I just have to keep going out week after week and keep battling," said Barrett, the Rebels' Saturday starter for five weeks. "With my teammates behind me, I'm just going to keep battling."
"Most of all I want to pound the zone," said Huber, who got his first save of the year. "I just felt great out there, hitting spots. I just came in to do whatever it took to win the game."
Ole Miss got to UK starter Taylor Rogers in a hurry, scoring three runs on three hits with two walks as eight Rebels went to the plate in the first inning.
But Kentucky head coach Gary Henderson stuck with Rogers, and the freshman left-hander recovered nicely. Rogers (3-1) suffered his first loss of the season as he worked 7.1 innings and allowed five runs on eight hits with two walks and no strikeouts. Kentucky didn't strike out a Rebel batter until the eighth inning and only struck out two batters all afternoon.
"He did a great job for a freshman," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco of UK's Rogers. "We had him on the ropes, and they had their bullpen going early. But we couldn't get the big hit in the second and third, and he hung in there and started making some pitches and going to his offspeed a lot, especially early in the count and keeping us off balance."
The Wildcats clawed their way back in it with a run in the third and a run in the fourth. Ole Miss was up 3-2 when the top of the eighth rolled around. Zach Miller doubled with one out, and David Phillips was hit by a Rogers pitch. Henderson then made his move, bringing in Braden Kapteyn, who only pitched to Taylor Hightower who walked.
Nick Kennedy was called on next, and things got worse for UK. Miles Hamblin singled up the middle to score Miller and Phillips to make it 5-2. Kevin Mort reached on an error by the third baseman which got Hightower home. After Alex Yarbrough walked, Tanner Mathis got a base hit to score Mort.
But that's when Goforth came in and Tim Ferguson momentarily delayed a big inning for Kentucky with a highlight catch at the top of the centerfield wall to save a home run by leadoff batter Chad Wright.
But Ray stepped up and sent a solo shot out of the park to make it 7-3. Chris Bisson singled, and Kapteyn walked. Cory Farris then made things interesting with a three-run homer and it was 7-6.
Marcus Nidiffer grounded out, and Wiley got the pop up to Hamblin, and that was all the damage for UK in the eighth.
After the Rebels got nothing in their half of the ninth, Huber came in to end it.
Game three is at Noon CDT Sunday.
Two For Two
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