By Brett Hudson/Special to the Journal
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – With the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning, Alabama’s Jared Reaves hit a two-RBI single that not only put the Rebels in a 4-2 deficit, but caused a bench-clearing argument after Ole Miss starting pitcher Mike Mayers ran into an Alabama baserunner.
The Rebels were able to bounce back and drum up a five-hit, four-run top of the eighth that paved the way for a 8-4 win over Alabama.
The eight-inning explosion saw Ole Miss get more hits and runs than it did in the entirety of Saturday’s 3-2 loss.
“I think we got some timely hits,” head coach Mike Bianco said. “All of a sudden, once we scored and tied it up we just got more relaxed at the plate and got better swings off.”
Sunday’s win gave Ole Miss a confidence boost after being able to bounce back from not only Saturday’s loss, but also a series loss to Auburn last weekend and 10-0 loss to Southern Miss on Tuesday.
Sunday’s game also required a comeback effort, after Ole Miss found itself down to Alabama 4-2 after seven innings.
“Especially on the road in a very emotional game, we hung in there,” Bianco said. “It’s not secret that we haven’t swung well. We haven’t really been ourselves now for about 10 days.”
Bianco was praising the offensive progression out of more than the 16-hit, eight-run statistical output.
“(It’s) not that many hits, but the swings,” Bianco said. “You could tell when we tied it up the swings were totally different. Confidence swings, going after the fastball.”
Ole Miss got a few confidence swings from rightfielder Preston Overbey. Overbey had two-hits, including a two-run homerun to left-center in the top of the fifth, as well as two RBIs and two runs scored.
“I thought it was a huge day for Overbey,” Bianco said. “Not just the homerun, but the huge hit to right late.”
Ole Miss returns to Oxford for a Tuesday night game against Jackson State, a team the Rebels beat 13-1 on Feb. 29. That game will be followed by a three-game weekend series at Swayze Field versus the No. 1-ranked Florida Gators.
Also on Sunday
Kentucky 6-6, Tennessee 2-0: The No. 16 Wildcats (24-1, 5-1 SEC) clinched the series with a pair of wins.
They closed out a suspended game they led 5-0 on Saturday when it began to rain, then Corey Littrell threw six shutout innings in the seven-inning wrapup game.
J.T. Riddle broke open the scoreless Game 3 with a run-scoring double in the sixth inning.
Vanderbilt 5, Georgia 3: The Commodores (9-15, 2-4) trailed 2-1 heading to the bottom of the eighth, but scored four runs to take control and clinch the three-game series.
Georgia (17-8, 3-3) plagued by three wild pitches in the eighth, got its first two men on base in the ninth before a double play killed the momentum. The visiting Bulldogs scored a single run with two outs.
LSU 4, Auburn 3: JaCoby Jones lined an RBI single in the top of the ninth inning as visiting LSU (18-6, 3-3) avoided a series sweep.