College Baseball April 1, 2012

By School Reports

Rebels walk-off with series clinching win over No. 1 Florida

By Ole Miss Media Relations
OXFORD, Miss. – With the game tied and the bases loaded in the ninth, the Rebels kept the pressure on the nation’s top-ranked team and pulled off the second rally of the afternoon as No. 16 Ole Miss (20-8, 5-4 SEC) defeated No. 1 Florida (24-4, 6-3 SEC) by a score of 7-6.

With the bases loaded and one out, freshman Senquez Golson delivered a grounder down the first base line to Florida right fielder Preston Tucker, who was playing in as part of a six-man infield defensively for the Gators. Tucker scooped the ball up and threw home in an attempt to get the force out of pinch-running Bobby Wahl, but the throw was off the mark and Wahl slid in safely at home to score the game-winning run.

A total of 27,991 fans packed Swayze Field over the weekend to watch the Rebels take on the top-ranked Gators. It was the largest weekend attendance in a regular-series weekend for the Rebels at O-U Stadium, and second largest attendance for a three-game series ever behind the 2009 Super Regional against Virginia that drew 29,646 over three days.

The win gave the Rebels the weekend series after claiming a 3-0 win over the Gators on Friday night. With the win, Ole Miss is now 11-3 in weekend series against top-10 teams in Oxford dating back to the 2003 season and 3-0 in series against top-ranked teams in series played in Oxford.

Ole Miss also claimed the weekend series against No. 1 South Carolina in 2011 and No. 1 Georgia in 2009.

Brett Huber (1-1) picked up the win as he worked the final 2.0 innings and held the Gators hitless with a strikeout to allow the Rebels to set up the game-winning rally.

Austin Maddox (2-1) suffered the loss for Florida, allowing the one run on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts in his 2.1 innings of work. Maddox entered the game with the score tied at six and no outs following a game-tying double in the seventh, but got the Gators out of the jam to keep the score knotted at six before Ole Miss would make its move in the ninth inning.

“We got off to a great start offensively and swung the bat well against a very good pitcher in Crawford,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We got a five run lead and they did what we thought they would do which was come back swinging. It was like a heavyweight boxing match. It was similar to what they did yesterday.

“I am proud of the way Aaron Greenwood came in and threw balls into the strike zone and ate up some outs for us,” Bianco said. “Alex (Yarbrough) had another great day and showed why he is such a great player in our league. Brett (Huber’s) effort gets a bit lost in all of this. He came in with the game tied for the first time this year and pitched two great innings and gave us the chance to win. This team has become more mentally tough. We are 3-3 in the league and about to go on a long road stretch for two weekends to play two top-25 teams. The question is how much do we grow from this as a team.”

The Rebels struck first, jumping out to a five-run lead after two innings of play.

Ole Miss got two runs in the first off an RBI triple from Yarbrough that was followed by a single to left from Snyder. The Rebels extended the lead in the second inning with a solo home run from Zach Kirksey to open the frame and a two-RBI double from Yarbrough to give the home team the 5-0 advantage.

Florida made a big cut into the lead in the fourth inning, putting together a four-run rally that was sparked by a lead-off home run from Daniel Piggot and put the score at 5-4.

The Gators tied the game in the sixth with a solo home run from Nolan Fontana and took the lead 6-5 on a solo shot from Tucker in the seventh.

Ole Miss responded in the bottom of the seventh, tying the game at six when Yarbrough scored on another RBI single from Snyder. Yarbrough reached on a single and moved to third on a throwing error to first by Bobby Poyner on a pickoff attempt. He tied things up on the single from Snyder.

The Rebels then put together the game-winning rally in the ninth.

Will Allen got things started with a single to right field before Ole Miss sent Friday night’s starting pitcher, Wahl, in to run for the Rebel catcher. Wahl then moved first to third on a single up the middle from Preston Overbey that saw Overbey take second on the throw to third in an attempt to get out Wahl.

Florida then intentionally walked Kirksey to load the bases and get to Golson. With the defensive alignment shifted for an extra infielder and only two outfielders, Golson delivered the grounder to first that brought Wahl home for the game-winning run to clinch the series.

Ole Miss will return to action on Tuesday night, facing Southern Miss at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.

Bulldogs drop rubber game to No. 24 Auburn, 8-2

By Mississippi State Media Relations
AUBURN, Ala. – Mississippi State allowed seven two-out runs to Auburn Sunday afternoon at Plainsman Park. That offensive production was enough to life the 24th-ranked Tigers to an 8-2 win over the Bulldogs in the final game of a weekend three-game Southeastern Conference series.

With the victory, Auburn improved to 17-11 overall and 6-3 in conference play. MSU fell to 18-11 and 3-6. The Tigers have won four straight series from the Bulldogs here on the plains. Auburn has opened league play with three straight series wins for the first time since 2003.

“We are not as locked in as we need to be to win series in this league,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “Our pitching staff is pitching well enough to win some games. We made too many mistakes during the course of a game. We need to grow up in a hurry.”

The Bulldogs made three errors which led to three unearned runs for the Tigers. On the bases, the Bulldogs were picked off twice and made an additional out trying to advance on an errant throw.

“We need some experience,” Cohen said. “Right now, these kids have really had their minds blown by everything that has taken place in the last three weekends. They have been exposed to a lot in a hurry.”

MSU had a chance at the early lead when Mitch Slauter and C.T. Bradford began the second inning with back-to-back hits. Instead, each was picked off and the Bulldogs were denied in that at-bat.

Auburn then built a 4-0 lead when the Bulldogs could not turn a double play ball to escape the third inning. Instead, the Tigers mixed four hits and two errors to streak to the early lead.

Down 5-0, the Bulldogs battled back with a pair of scores in the fifth inning. Hunter Renfroe started things with a one-out single. Sam Frost followed with a double. An infield error brought home the innings’ first run. After a walk to Matthew Britton loaded the bases, Adam Frazier hit a blooper to center field.

Not knowing if the ball would drop, Wes Rea was late getting to third base. Again, Auburn mishandled the play on the infield, allowing one run to score. Rea was safe at third base but out trying to take home on the play.

After that uprising, MSU managed two hits and two total base runners the rest of the way.

Auburn chased starting pitcher Kendall Graveman (2-1) with two runs in the fifth inning. Graveman allowed eight hits and seven runs (four earned), with two strikeouts and three walks. Caleb Reed followed with 2.1 innings of scoreless relief.

Ben Bracewell returned to the mound for the first time in a month and was touched for two two-out hits and a run in the Auburn eighth inning.

“We need pitchers who can shove the ball in the strike zone,” Cohen said. “We had problems getting that in this series.”

The Bulldogs finished with seven hits. Slauter and Sam Frost each multiple hits.

The Tigers finished with 12 hits, including three by Justin Bryant. Ryan Tella, Garrett Cooper and Dan Glevenyak each added multiple hits.

Daniel Koger (2-1) pitched six innings for the win. Koger allowed six hits and two runs (both earned). Slade Smith faced one batter past the minimum in three innings of shutout relief to earn his third save.

MSU hosts Mississippi Valley State at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Late homer lifts Rice in Series finale over USM 8-6

By USM Media Relations
OUSTON, Texas – Michael Fuda belted a three-run home run that bent around the leftfield fair pole in the seventh to lead Rice to a 8-6 come-from-behind victory over Southern Miss here Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park.

The Golden Eagles fell to 16-12 on the season and 3-3 in Conference USA play as the squad lost their third series in four tries at the Owls’ home park dating back to 2006.

The Owls (21-9, 4-2) rallied from a six-run deficit as they scored four times in the fifth, once in the sixth and the three-run homer in the seventh.

The Golden Eagles initially broke open the game with five runs in the fourth. Blake Brown led off the frame with a walk and then went to second on a Mason Robbins single to left. After a wild pitch to advance the runners a base and a popout, Connor Barron walked before Travis Creel singled home both Brown and Robbins with a shot up the middle.

Dillon Day then knocked in a run on a sacrifice fly before both Kameron Brunty and Blake Brown registered RBIs as each collected a bases-loaded walks.

Austin Roussel, who tallied two hits in the contest, added a RBI single in the fifth to give the Golden Eagles a 6-0 lead before the Owls began their comeback.

The Owls starting their scoring with a sacrifice fly by J.T. Chargois to put Rice on the board and subsequent throw back into the infield was mishandled by Creel which allowed a second run to score on the play. Christian Singer and Craig Manuel then each added RBI singles to make the score 6-4.

Fuda scored a run on a wild pitch on a Ford Stainback single in the sixth, before then delivering the crucial blow one frame later on a 2-1 pitch off of Josh Rogers (0-1), who suffered the loss in the game.

Chargois threw 3 1/3 innings of relief limiting the Golden Eagles to two hits and three walks with three strikeouts to earn the win and improve to 2-1. Tyler Duffey got the final four outs, two by strikeout, to earn his third save of the year.

The Golden Eagles return to action Tuesday night when they take on Ole Miss at Trustmark Park in Pearl. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m.