PEARL – A pitcher’s duel for most of the night between a pair of in-state rivals essentially came down to an error and a timely hit as No. 17 Ole Miss (26-12) fell to Southern Miss (19-17) by a score of 2-1 on Tuesday night at Trustmark Park.
The Golden Eagles used an extended inning off a fielding error in the third to score the first run of the night – an unearned one – before coming up with a two-out RBI in the ninth to push past the Rebels.
Aaron Greenwood (3-1) took the loss in relief, putting the game-winning run on base in the ninth on a hit batter to start things off despite an otherwise strong outing. The right-hander worked 1.2 innings in relief, allowing only two hits with a walk and the run.
Jay Myrick (3-0) picked up the win, working 3.1 innings in relief and holding the Rebels to one hit with five strikeouts in his time on the mound. Bradley Roney then grabbed his fifth save of the season, pitching the ninth to keep the Rebels from rallying.
Auston Bousfield continued to swing the bat well, building on his 4-for-4 night on Monday at Memphis with a 2-for-4 night and a run scored in the game against the Golden Eagles.
“You have to be able to score and we have to get better at bats,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We have to continue to pitch well and we have to play better defense than we did tonight to take some pressure off our pitchers. We’re good enough to play good defense and to hold teams down offensively if we’ll do those things until we bust out of this and get something going offensively.”
Southern Miss got on the board in the third inning, taking advantage of free bases and Rebel miscues defensively to bring home an unearned run.
A leadoff walk started the inning for the Golden Eagles before a fielding error at second on the front end of a double play attempt on a groundball to third put men at the corners with no outs. Michael Robbins then hit a grounder to third and the Rebels went home with the throw to get the lead runner, but the other Travis Creel and Robbins moved into scoring position on the rundown between third and home.
A ground ball to second brought Creel home before the Rebels would get out of the inning with a strikeout to keep the lead at 1-0 in favor of the Golden Eagles.
Ole Miss responded in the fourth, tying the game on an RBI single to left from Preston Overbey that brought Auston Bousfield home from second. Bousfield reached on a double to the wall in the left-center gap two batters earlier to set up the tying hit from Overbey that knotted the game at one.
Southern Miss moved back in the lead in the ninth when pinch hitter Andrew Furr snuck a ground ball through the right side to bring Roney home from second. The two-out ground ball took a hop over the glove of a diving Overbey at the last second on what looked originally like it would have been the final out of the inning. Instead, the bounce gave the Golden Eagles the 2-1 lead.
Ole Miss was unable to answer in the bottom of the inning as Roney moved from third base to the mound and closed out the game for Southern Miss.
The Rebels will continue to play on the road this weekend with a three-game series at Tennessee. Game one of the series is set for a 5 p.m. CT start on Friday night, with game two at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday. The series finale will begin at 1 p.m. CT on Sunday and will be televised by ESPNU.