OXFORD, Miss. -- Max Kuhn’s RBI single with the bases loaded in the eighth inning forced in the eventual game-winning run and No. 24 Kentucky got a dynamic start from Corey Littrell and a clutch-relief outing from Trevor Gott, to post a 5-4 comeback win at No. 16 Ole Miss, on Saturday afternoon in front of 9,032 at Swayze Field.
Kentucky (26-17, 9-12 Southeastern Conference) fell behind after the first inning, 1-0 before rallying to even the game in the second and take a 2-1 lead after four innings. Austin Anderson then lifted the Rebels to the lead with a two-out, two-run homer in the fifth inning. The Wildcats evened up the game on Greg Fettes’ solo homer in the sixth and took a 5-3 lead in the eighth with a pair of runs, with Kuhn’s RBI single driving in the eventual game-winning run. Gott took over in the ninth and worked around two hits and a run to nail down his school-record 10th save of 2013 and the 21st of his career.
UK starter Corey Littrell (5-3) worked eight strong innings, allowing seven hits and three runs, walking one and striking out six. Gott took over to start the ninth inning and allowing a pair of hits and a run to score, battling around the game-tying run at second base to end the game on a strikeout and lift the Wildcats to the series win.
The series victory for UK in Oxford is its first since the 2007 season and just the third in program history, with UK also winning two of three at Ole Miss in 2001.
Ole Miss (31-13, 11-9 SEC) starter Sam Smith worked 4.2 innings, allowing two hits and two runs, walking two and striking out two. Aaron Greenwood took over in the fifth inning, working two innings, allowing four hits and one run, striking out three. Lefty Matt Denny (1-1) got an out in the seventh, allowing two unearned runs, with Tanner Bailey also getting two outs in the seventh. Jeremy Massie got four outs in relief in the eighth and ninth.
UK will break for finals next week and return to action with No. 14 Arkansas in a three-game series, starting on Friday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Rebels jumped out to an early lead for the second straight game in the first inning, as Tanner Mathis led off with a single, bounced off the plate and over the mound. Austin Anderson then singled up the middle to push Mathis to third with no outs. After a key strikeout for the first out, Stuart Turner lined a two-strike pitch into leftfield to score Mathis and give Ole Miss a 1-0 lead.
UK immediately answered in the top of the second inning as Zellers led off getting hit by a pitch, stealing second base. Fettes then drew a walk to bring up Kuhn, who worked the count and smacked a two-strike single into right-centerfield to score Zellers from second.
In the top of the fourth, UK mounted a rally to take a lead. Reed led off with his seventh double of the year into the left-centerfield gap, taking third on a well-place grounder from Riddle. Zellers then hung a sacrifice fly down the rightfield line to score Reed on a feet-first slide at the plate.
The Rebels regained the lead in the fifth inning, as Mathis singled with two outs, scoring on Anderson’s two-run homer of the rightfield fence.
Fettes evened up the game for the Wildcats in the top of the seventh inning, belting a leadoff, solo homer over the fence in leftfield for his second homer of the year. It was the first homer allowed by Greenwood in 2013.
UK took the lead in the eighth inning as Reed led off with a single into the left-centerfield gap. Riddle then followed and laid down a sacrifice bunt, with the throw from the mound sailing high to allow Riddle to reach. Ole Miss turned to Bailey in relief to face Zellers, with Zellers bouncing a sacrifice bunt back to the mound. Bailey turned and tried to get Reed as the lead out at third base but his throw sailed high and down the leftfield line, allowing Reed to score and Riddle to take third. After an intentional walk of Fettes, Kuhn chopped a single over the head of the drawn-in Rebels third baseman to score Riddle for a 5-3 lead.