OXFORD, Miss. – The Rebels found themselves in the middle of another tight contest, but a big ninth inning broke things open as No. 12 Ole Miss (16-2) pushed four runs across the plate in the final inning to defeat Southeastern Louisiana (9-7) by a score of 8-3 Wednesday.
Brantley Bell led a Rebel offense that tallied 16 hits on the afternoon, going 4-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI and five Ole Miss players tallied double-digit hits.
Cheyne Bickel (3-1) picked up the win in relief, working 2.0 innings and allowing only one hit and a strikeout. Freshman Evan Anderson was solid in the start, working 3.0 no-hit innings with three strikeouts and facing only nine batters. Five Rebel pitchers saw action on the afternoon.
“I thought out pitchers did a good job today on the mound, even the guys who gave up a couple of runs,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We ran several guys out there and at the end of the day we only gave up three runs.
“I’m proud of the focus this team showed the last two days,” Bianco said. “They came down here and did what we needed to do. I know they’re excited as we head home and prepare to go on the road this weekend against the top team in the nation at a great facility and in an exciting atmosphere.”
The Rebels got things started in the third inning with back-to-back singles from Errol Robinson and Auston Bousfield. With men at the corners, Braxton Lee hit a ground ball to second, reaching on a fielder’s choice as Robinson scored. An errant throw allowed Bousfield to reach safely and scamper to third as the ball rolled into left. Bousfield then scored a batter later when Austin Anderson lay down a sac bunt and the Rebels took a 2-0 lead on the Lions.
Ole Miss put together a two-out rally in the fourth when three straight single from Brantley Bell, Will Jamison and Errol Robinson loaded the bases. Bousfield was then hit by a pitch to bring Bell home and take the Rebel lead out to 3-0 before the Lions would get out of the inning.
Southeastern Louisiana got on the board in the home half of the fourth, loading the bases with one out as the first four batters all reached base through a trio of singles and a walk. A ground ball to third looked to be a double play ball, but a throwing error allowed two runs to score and kept the Lions alive after cutting the lead to 3-2.
Another single sent the Rebels to the bullpen for a second time in the inning, but a four –pitch walk loaded the bases again for Southeastern Louisiana. Waguespack came through in the clutch, striking out the next batter to end the inning and keep the Rebels up by one.
The Lions continued to chip away, using a two-out rally in the fifth to tie the game. With men at first and second, Andrew Gobold hit a single to right and scored Jacob Williams. The Rebels were able to get out of the inning, however, with no more damage and the score knotted at three.
The Rebels moved back into the lead in the seventh on a groundball to short from Will Allen that brought Bousfield home from third. Bousfield reached when he was hit by a pitch to open the inning and took second on a groundout from Lee. A single from Anderson put men at the corners to set up the score on the ground ball from Allen that put the Rebels back up 4-3.
Ole Miss broke things open in the top of the ninth, using four hits and three errors by the home team to build a five-run cushion for the final frame. The Rebels led 8-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Weathersby then held the Lions off the board in the bottom of the ninth to close out the game.
Ole Miss will return to action this weekend, opening Southeastern Conference play on the road at top-ranked South Carolina. Game one of the weekend series begins at 6 p.m. CT with coverage on the Ole Miss Baseball Radio Network, RebelVision and live stats at OleMissSports.com.