LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Cody Overbeck’s bases-loaded hit-by-pitch in the top of the 11th inning provided the difference in a 5-5 game, giving the Ole Miss Rebels a series salvaging and Southeastern Conference Tournament-clinching 7-5 win over the No. 20 Kentucky Wildcats, on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (41-15, 16-14 SEC) secures a four-seed in the SEC Tournament, beginning on Wednesday at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. UK will face the fifth-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide, a team its swept to open SEC Play, in the final game on Wednesday, slated for a 9 p.m. ET first pitch.
In a game that lasted over four hours, Ole Miss got the top of the 11th started with singles from Brett Basham and Jordan Henry, both off Andrew Albers and hit through the left side. After a successful sacrifice from Fuller Smith, UK called for an intentional walk of Logan Power to load the bases and set up the double play. Overbeck took a 2-2 pitch off the shoulder from reliever Brock Baber, sending the game-winning run home. After Baber got Michael Guerrero to pop out, Matt Smith drew a bases-loaded walk for the final margin, 7-5.
Kentucky had its best opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the ninth, getting the game-winning run thrown out at the plate. Keenan Wiley got his third hit of the game to lead off the frame, and Ryan Wilkes forced him to second with a walk. After Sawyer Carroll made a productive out, allowing the runners to move into scoring position, Cowgill hit a hard grounder at Ole Miss third baseman, Cody Overbeck. With Wiley in motion at third upon contact, Overbeck attempted to save the game for Ole Miss, throwing a hurried throw to the plate, just getting under the Rebel catcher’s glove. Wiley stopped before he got home, thinking he was going to be in a run down and attempting to allow the runners to move up a base. After Basham got control of the ball, he tagged Wiley out. Chris McClendon followed, lining a shot into the air on the left side of the infield, a ball that OM shortstop Tim Ferguson leapt in the air to snag, saving the game-winning run from scoring.
Wiley led UK at the plate, going 3-for-6 with his 13th double of the year. Freshman Bryan Rose tallied a team-best three RBI, going 2-for-5 on the day, while McClendon added UK’s only other multi-hit game, finishing 2-for-5 with an RBI.
Greg Dombrowski worked 5.2 innings for UK, allowing eight hits and five runs - three earned - striking out five. Aaron Lovett worked 1.1 hitless innings, before turning the ball over the Scott Green who went three scoreless, striking out four and allowing two hits. Albers took the loss, allowing the two hits and runs in the 11th, falling to 7-4 on the year.
For the third time in as many games, UK chased the Ole Miss starting pitcher in the fourth inning, as Team USA standout Cody Satterwhite, lasted 3.2 innings, allowing five hits and four runs, walking two and striking out three. Ace reliever Scott Bittle (6-1) pitched a gem for the win, going 7.1 innings, allowing five hits and one run, striking out 10.
Ole Miss jumped all over Dombrowski in the first inning, getting three runs on five hits, beginning with a one-out single from Fuller Smith, who stole second base. Overbeck singled through the left side and Guerrero doubled down the line, scoring Smith. Matt Smith followed with a single into right field, coring Overbeck and Miller plated Guerrero with a single into left.
UK took a 4-3 lead with a four-run fourth inning. Wilkes led off with an opposite field single and Carroll drew a walk. McClendon scored Wilkes with an RBI single and Brian Spear drew a walk. Rose emptied the loaded bags with a double into left field, giving UK a 4-3 lead.
Ole Miss took a 5-4 lead in the sixth, as Overbeck singled with one out and Matt Smith reached on a fielding error. Zach Miller ripped an RBI single into centerfield, scoring Smith and Overbeck with unearned runs.
UK tied the game off Bittle in the eighth, as Spear cranked his ninth home run of the year, a shot into left field.