By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – Will Allen didn’t start digging for first base.
He’d hit it so hard, he knew, that there could be only one of two results. So he slowed his pace to either admire his handiwork or think about what might have been.
Allen’s home run to straightaway center field in the bottom of the 10th, his third homer of the season, gave Ole Miss its fourth consecutive walk-off win, 5-4 against Central Florida, much to the delight of 8,239 fans at Swayze Field on Saturday afternoon.
Allen has had two of those four walkoffs.
The Rebels had last at-bat wins against Louisiana-Monroe on Tuesday and Wednesday earlier in the week. They beat Central Florida 4-3 on Friday with a run in the 13th.
The Rebels (10-1) go for the sweep of UCF (6-4) today at noon.
“I’ve seen a lot of well-hit balls to dead center that didn’t go out,” said Allen, the Rebels’ senior catcher. “I knew it was either going to be caught for an out or go out, so I was watching it the whole time.”
Allen also had a two-run double to center field in when the Rebels scored four times in the fifth to erase a 3-0 deficit. He was 2-for-4 with three RBIs on the day.
His home run was necessary after the Knights scratched out a run in the eighth against Ole Miss starter Christian Trent.
Junior college transfer Preston Tarkington relieved Trent with one out and the go-ahead run at third. He walked the first batter he faced but got a pop-up and a check-swing strikeout to keep the game tied at 4.
Freshman Wyatt Short (2-0) pitched the ninth and 10th with no hits, no walks and three strikeouts.
Short had two called strikeouts in the 10th, the first to UCF center fielder Derrick Salberg, who was 3-for-5 and scored three runs.
“I’ve never seen this many in a row, not even close to this,” said Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco of his team’s streak of walk-off wins.
Rebels at the plate
Auston Bousfield had three hits, and Preston Overbey was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Ole Miss had 10 hits on the day.
Bianco is watching his team’s confidence grow. The Rebels were picked sixth in the SEC West by league coaches.
They have one more non-conference series – at home this weekend against Arkansas-Little Rock – before starting SEC play at South Carolina.
“The last four games, when it’s gotten down to it we’ve played our best baseball. Guys have made pitches,” Bianco said. “The games haven’t been our best games, but when the game’s on the line, deep in the game when everything is really magnified, we’ve played really well and played with a lot of confidence.”