HOOVER, Ala. – For the second day in a row, the Rebels went into extra-innings but were unable to emerge with the victory as No. 21 Ole Miss (37-22) fell to Alabama (34-25) 7-5 in 10 innings at the SEC Tournament on Thursday.
With the loss, the Rebels were eliminated from the SEC Tournament and will now await NCAA Tournament selection announcements at 11 a.m. on Monday. The selection of the NCAA Tournament field will be televised by ESPNU.
Tanner Bailey (4-2) suffered the loss for the Rebels, allowing two runs on one hit with two walks in 2.1 innings of work. Bailey entered the game to start the eighth and held the Crimson Tide in check for Ole Miss to rally from a two-run deficit and force extra-innings before Alabama would get two men on in the 10th and he would leave the game.
Tucker Hawley (5-2) picked up the win for the Crimson Tide, allowing two hits with two walks through 3.0 scoreless innings of work to close out the game as Alabama rallied for the win.
“I thought we did some things well today, but we just had a couple of times where we could have made one more pitch or one more hit and the outcome would have been different,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “That’s life in the Southeastern Conference. Now we have to look forward to the NCAA Tournament and the start of a new season as we move on in the post-season.”
Ole Miss struck first, pushing three runs home in the second inning with a two-out rally. Andrew Mistone started things off with a leadoff double, then scored a few batters later when Preston Overbey doubled down the third base line to bring him home. Christian Helsel then drew a walk to put two on and keep the inning alive for the Rebels.
Will Jamison drove a single back up the middle to score Overbey and send Helsel on the move from first. Aggressive base running on the play proved to be a good call for the Rebels as Alabama went home on with the throw on the single to center, but the ball got away from the catcher as Overbey slid in safely. Helsel then scampered home on the play, scoring as the throw back to the plate from the Alabama catcher again was off the mark putting the Rebels up 3-0.
Alabama responded in the fourth, pushing its first run home on a sac fly to center from Ben Moore with runners at the corners. The scoring continued a batter later when Mikey White singled to the gap in right center to bring home the runner on first and the Crimson Tide trimmed the lead to 3-2 with two outs.
A walk of Brett Booth put two men on base again and sent Ole Miss to the bullpen for right-hander Scott Weathersby. The sophomore got a fly ball to right to end the inning and the Rebels continued to hold the lead, though it dwindled to one run at 3-2.
Alabama tied things up in the fifth, continuing the two-out hitting. With a man on first, the Crimson Tide got singles up the middle from Georgie Salem and Kyle Overstreet pushed home the run and knotted the game at three.
The Crimson Tide continued the scoring in the sixth inning, capitalizing on a throwing error on a ground ball to short that put the leadoff man on second. A triple to the wall in right center from Austen Smith scored the run, and then Smith scored a batter later on a groundout from Booth to take the 5-3 lead.
Ole Miss responded with its own two-out rally in the seventh, drawing three straight walks before Stuart Turner drove a ball into left to plate two runs and tie the game at five.>Will Jamison and Mathis scored on the play after sparking the rally with the two walks and Austin Anderson followed it up with his own full-count walk to bring Turner to the plate.
The Rebels got a chance to claim the game in the ninth with a man in scoring position and one out, but a line drive into a double play ended the scoring threat and sent the game to extra innings.
Alabama made the most of the extra frame, getting a walk and a double with one out to send the Rebels to the bullpen for Brett Huber. Mikey White then drove 1-2 pitch up the middle to bring home both runs and give the Crimson Tide the 7-5 lead.
The Rebels were unable to answer in the bottom of the inning, falling for the second time in two days in an extra-inning game.