Victory Finally

A game that moved along swiftly slowed to a crawl when Georgia's Zach Cone sent the first pitch from Brett Huber in the bottom of the ninth inning out of the park. But in the 13th inning, the Rebels scored three and the Bulldogs answered with only two as Ole Miss prevailed 4-3 Saturday in Athens.

In the top of the 13th after leadoff hitter Tim Ferguson singled for his first hit of the day, Taylor Hashman sent a ball to deep center field that left the park to put Ole Miss up 3-1. The Rebels added another run when Kevin Mort doubled to score Matt Smith, who had singled.

Ole Miss had a chance to score yet another run on that play as Alex Yarbrough tried to score but was thrown out on the relay to the plate. The Rebs led 4-1. But would it be enough?

Georgia appeared to be poised to tie it or win it in the bottom of the 13th, as the first two batters reached on a double and a single to make it 4-2. After another run scored following a base hit, reliever Eric Callender, the third of four Rebel pitchers in the contest, was replaced by Trent Rothlin, who proceeded to get a groundout, strikeout, groundout to end the game. Victory for the Rebels was preserved with Rothlin's first save of the season.

Aaron Barrett had started the game, and until the home run given up by Huber in the ninth was all set to claim another victory. Barrett pitched a career-long 7.1 innings and struck out a career-high 10 batters.

Mike Bianco

"It all starts on the mound, and what a performance by Aaron Barrett," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco after his team improved to 23-9 on the season and 7-4 in Southeastern Conference action. "But really Brett (Huber) did a great job. He came in and got out of a tough situation. Then he gave up the home run on the slider he hung just a little bit. But that's a pitch you're supposed to throw into the strike zone. He did exactly what he was supposed to do. You tip your hat to Cone for tying it up.

"Brett then makes a lot of good pitches and extends the game a little bit," Bianco continued. "And then (Eric) Callender comes in and does a great job. Even in the 13th he made some good pitches. That's just part of the game. And Rothlin comes in and gets the job done. A big win for us."

Callender got the win to move to 2-1 on the year. Georgia is now 10-21 this season and 2-9 in SEC play.

The Rebels led 1-0 when Taylor Hightower singled to drive in Zach Miller who had walked to reach base. That was in the top of the fifth, and a pitchers' battle continued into the ninth with UM up just a run.

Georgia starter Jeff Walters was equally difficult for the Rebels to deal with and had seven strikeouts when relieved with two outs in the seventh.

Zach Miller

The Bulldogs threatened in a big way in the eighth when Huber inherited two runners and hit the first batter he faced. There was one out, and Huber was able to get two quick outs thereafter to move the game ahead with UM up 1-0.

Zach Miller singled with one out in the ninth, but the Rebels couldn't build on their 1-0 lead as Yarbrough and Mort struck out looking.

That's when things moved to the bottom of the ninth and Cone tied it on the first pitch he saw.

Both teams had opportunities before the 13th, but the thrilling end went the Rebels' way. Sunday's game is set for 1 p.m. CT.

"Today was a defensive battle," Hashman said. "The pitchers were throwing well. We just stuck through it. I was able to capitalize. I didn't put (the bunt) down. Then he (Coach Bianco) wiped it off, and I jumped on it."

And sent it out of the park for a 3-1 lead at the time. At that point the Rebels were on their way to victory. And now a potential first weekend sweep of the season is at hand.

Sophomore RHP David Goforth (1-1, 6.26 ERA) takes the mound for Ole Miss, while sophomore RHP Michael Palazzone (3-3, 8.24 ERA) is scheduled to start for Georgia.

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