OXFORD, Miss. -- No. 16 Ole Miss plated four runs on four hits in the first inning to jump out to an early lead and held on for an 11-5 win over No. 24 Kentucky to even the series, on Friday night in front of 7,676 at Swayze Field.
Kentucky (25-17, 8-12 Southeastern Conference) posted a thrilling 3-2 win on Thursday night to open the series before the Rebels jumped out to an early lead in the first inning with four runs on four singles and a pair of walks. The Wildcats answered with three runs in their next inning but the Rebels got a two-run homer for a 6-3 lead after three innings, adding five runs in the middle innings. UK rallied with two runs in the eighth for the final margin, 11-5.
UK starter Jerad Grundy (5-5) suffered the loss as the Rebels jumped on the board early. Grundy worked 5.2 innings, allowing 12 hits and nine runs, walking two and striking out two. Freshman Zach Strecker took over in the sixth, walking a pair and allowing two runs – a miscommunicated, three-run triple in rightfield. Freshmen lefties Dylan Dwyer and Ryne Combs worked scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth.
UK totaled five runs on three hits with the first knock coming from sophomore Max Kuhn in UK’s three-run second inning and Kyle Barrett adding an opposite-field single in the eighth. Austin Cousino was hit by a pitch, along with J.T. Riddle. Senior Zac Zellers added his third double of 2013. UK got walks from Matt Reida and Greg Fettes and a sacrifice fly from A.J. Reed, the NCAA’s leader among sophomores in homers and RBI.
Ole Miss (31-13, 11-9 SEC) starter Mike Mayers (3-4) picked up the with six innings, allowing just an infield single and three runs – one earned – walking three and striking out eight. Righty Chris Ellis came on to pitch the seventh, working 1.1 inning, allowing three hits and two runs, walking one and striking out two. Jeremy Massie got the final four outs to end the game for the Rebs.
The series will conclude on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. ET at Swayze Field. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Central Kentucky can hear the games live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
The Rebels jumped on the board in the first inning as Tanner Mathis led off the game with a seven-pitch walk and Austin Anderson laid down a perfect bunt single. Austin Bousfield then moved the runners into scoring position and UK loaded the bases with a walk of Stuart Turner. Andrew Mistone then singled to rightfield to score a run and re-load the bases. Preston Overbey followed with a two-run single and Christian Helsel scored another run with a single into rightfield.
UK answered in the top of the second inning, as Zellers led off with a walk, taking second on Paul McConkey’s full-count strikeout. Kuhn followed with a single up the middle, with Austin Anderson diving to keep Zellers at third. After a balk scored Zellers and moved Kuhn to second, Matt Reida struck out swinging but motored to third on a pair of errors due to the dropped third strike, scoring Kuhn. After a Greg Fettes walk, Barrett beat out the back end of a double play to score Reida.
The Rebels answered in the bottom of the third with a leadoff single from Bousfield and a two-run homer from Turner, his fifth of the year.
Ole Miss added to its lead in the fifth, as Turner singled with one out and scored on Mistone’s double down the leftfield line. Overbey followed with a single into centerfield, moving Mistone to third base. Helsel then laid down a squeeze bunt to give the Rebels an 8-3 lead.
The Rebels emptied the bases with a two-out triple in the sixth inning as UK’s center and rightfielders nearly collided on a fly ball that fell in between them, allowing Bousfield, Turner and Lance Wilson to score for an 11-3 lead.
UK mounted an eighth-inning rally, as Barrett singled to leadoff, Cousino smacked a top-spin single to the right side and after a wild pitch moved the duo into scoring position, A.J. Reed lofted a sacrifice fly to score Barrett. Riddle was then hit by a pitch and Zellers followed with a double into the gap to score Cousino and move Riddle to third with one out.