OXFORD, Miss. - Senior third baseman Andrew Mistone finished a home run shy of the cycle on Friday night, pacing a Rebel offense that tallied 13 hits as No. 16 Ole Miss (31-13, 11-9 SEC) defeated No. 24 Kentucky (25-17, 9-11 SEC) by a score of 11-5.
The win evened the weekend series and set up a rubber match between the two teams on Saturday in a game televised by Fox SportsSouth at 2:15 p.m.
Mistone went 3-for-4 on the night with five RBI and a run scored on a night where the senior tallied at least one RBI on each hit. He was one of four Rebels to put together a multiple-hit game, including junior catcher Stuart Turner who went 2-for-3 with two walks - both intentional - four runs scored and a two-run home run.
Mike Mayers (3-4) picked up the win, working 6.0 innings and allowing three runs - only one of which was earned - on one hit. He also struck out eight batters while allowing three walks. It was the first win for Mayers since March 9, despite turning in four quality starts in the six weeks since that decision.
Jerad Grundy (5-5) took the loss for Kentucky, allowing nine runs on nine hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
"I'm proud of the way we swung the bats tonight," Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. "Coming off of last night, we weren't very good. Tonight we were terrific against a very good pitcher in (Jerad) Grundy. We had a lot of terrific at bats. Of course in the first inning, we had a walk and a couple of good drag bunts. Then we had a big single by (Andrew) Mistone, he had a terrific night tonight. We had (Stuart) Turner with the home run and a single. It was a just a good night one through nine."
The Rebels got off to the quick start with a four-run first inning to take a lead that would be threatened, but never surrendered. Tanner Mathis and Austin Anderson got things started with a walk and a single before a sac bunt from Auston Bousfield moved them both into scoring position. Kentucky would then intentionally walk Turner to load the bases, only to have Mistone drive a single to right to bring home the first run of the game and keep the bases loaded.
Preston Overbey followed it up with a two-RBI single through the left side in the next at bat and Christian Helsel capped the scoring with an RBI single to right to put Ole Miss on top 4-0 after the first.
The Wildcats answered in the second, taking advantage of Rebel miscues to cut into the lead. A balk with runners at the corners when Mayers slipped mid-delivery brought the first run home before a fielding error at first on a dropped third strike allowed the ball to sail into right field. The ball in right was then bobbled, allowing batter, Matt Reida, to go from home to third on the play while Max Kuhn scored from first.
A fielder's choice on a ground ball to second from leadoff hitter Kyle Barrett brought Reida home for the third run in the inning. Reida was then caught stealing at second by Turner to end the inning and keep Ole Miss on top 4-3.
The Rebels pushed the lead back out to three runs in the third when Turner delivered his fifth home run of the season, this time with a two-run shot following a leadoff single from Bousfield.
Ole Miss would go on to add two runs in the fifth on an RBI double from Mistone and a fielder's choice off a beautiful bunt from Helsel to take the lead out to 8-3 after five.
Mistone again came up big in the sixth, hammering a two-out triple to right center with the bases loaded to extend the lead to 11-3. Lance Wilson opened the inning with a single, then Bousfield drew a two-out walk to keep the inning alive.
A passed ball moved both runners into scoring position and Kentucky elected to intentionally walk Turner for a second time on the night and bring Mistone to the plate. The third baseman then drove the triple over the heads of a converging Austin Cousino and Kyle Barrett in right center to bring in all three runners.
The Wildcats weren't done, however, again taking advantage of a Rebel miscue and a timely hit from Zac Zellers in the eighth to trim push two more runs home. Barrett opened the inning with a single to left before a fielding error on a chopper to first put two men on base. A wild pitch put both men in scoring position and set up a sac fly from A.J. Reed to bring the first run home.
The next batter was hit by a pitch to put men at the corners and brought Zellers to the plate, who promptly hit an RBI double to left field and sent the Rebels to the bullpen for left-hander Jeremy Massie to replace reliever Chris Ellis on the mound.
Massie then got a foul fly and a fly out to left to end the inning with the Rebels on top 11-5. He held Kentucky off the board, retiring the side in order in the ninth to end the game and give Ole Miss the win.