Button single helps lift No. 15 Rebels to 8-7 win over Jackson State

OXFORD – An Evan Button single to right field and a throwing error on the play allowed two runs to score in the bottom of the ninth as No. 15 Ole Miss (18-8) rallied for an 8-7 win over Jackson State (17-10) on Tuesday at Oxford-University Stadium.

Trailing 7-6 heading into the bottom of the frame, a pinch hitting Logan Power drew a lead-off walk before moving to second on a fielder’s choice sac bunt from Matt Smith that saw Power reach safely as the throw to the bag was late. Then with two men on, Evan Button came up with his big hit as a pinch hitter, sending the ball into right field and allowing Power to score and moving Smith to third.

Smith went on to score, however, as the throw from right field was wild and overthrown, allowing him to score safely and give the Rebels the come-from-behind win.

David Goforth (1-0) picked up the win as he worked 2.0 scoreless innings to close out the game after entering to relieve Michael Park in the eighth. Goforth held the Tiger offense in check as he allowed only two hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Starter Kyle Barbeck worked 4.2 innings and allowed two runs on six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. Both runs allowed by Barbeck were unearned.

Reliever Quintavious Drains (1-3) suffered the loss for Jackson State as he allowed three runs on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts in 3.0 innings of work. Only one of the three runs Drains allowed was earned.

“It was just a good college game,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “It was really entertaining. You can see how good Jackson State is as a team. Offensively, they are tremendous. Defensively, they made three double plays. They throw the ball in the strike zone. I’m disappointed we left some runners on, but Barbeck was tremendous early and Goforth took it to another level at the end. He’s becoming our guy.”

Ole Miss got on the board in the fourth inning, pushing two runs across on four hits. David Phillips opened the frame with a double and scored on a Matt Smith single up the middle. Logan Williams grounded into a double play to put two outs on the board before Taylor Hightower drew a walk and Kevin Mort singled to put two on and send Jackson State to the bullpen for Marlon Sommerville.

Hightower then scored on a bunt single from Jordan Henry to give the Rebels a 2-0 lead heading into the fifth.

Jackson State answered, capitalizing on a throwing error from Barbeck on a sac bunt attempt and using a trio of hits to push two runs across and tie the game at two.

Matt Smith then came up with a three-run home run in the fifth to push Ole Miss back out on top 5-2.

The Tigers again rallied in the sixth, using three hits, a pair of walks, two stolen bases and a sac fly to push three runs across and even the game at five as Ole Miss sent a pair of pitchers to the mound during the inning in Aaron Barrett and Michael Park.

Ole Miss turned the tables on the Tigers in the sixth, capitalizing on two Jackson State errors to push a single run across the plate and reclaim the lead 6-5. But the lead would be short-lived as Jackson State would again rally in the top of the seventh.

The Tigers used a pair of hits and two sac bunts to push two runs across the plate and move back in front of the Rebels 7-6 after the top of the seventh.

The Tigers held the Rebels in check in the seventh and the eighth, but the ninth inning proved to be too much as Ole Miss rallied for the 8-7 win.

The Rebels will play their sixth-straight game on Wednesday when Ole Miss will travel to Memphis to play the Tigers at AutoZone Park at 6:30 p.m.

Ole Miss Media Relations

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