By Parrish Alford
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – A three-run rally in the seventh had Ole Miss ahead 4-2 and counting outs Saturday night, but Alabama countered against the Rebels’ bullpen.
Ole Miss relievers Josh Laxer and Wyatt Short combined for six walks and a hit batsman, and the Crimson Tide got a walk-off single in the 10th to defeat the No. 13-ranked Rebels 6-5 before a crowd of 4,001 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
The second one-run win of the weekend for Alabama (18-8, 5-3 SEC) gives the the Rebels (21-7, 4-4) their third straight loss and their second conference series loss in three weekends.
One of Short’s four walks was intentional. After Sikes Orvis’ RBI hit put the Rebels ahead in the top of the 10th, Short walked his first batter and hit his second in the bottom half.
The runners were bunted forward, and Alabama tied the game with a sacrifice fly and won it when Hunter Webb singled to left.
It was the only hit allowed by Short in 2.2 innings of work.
“It’s been a bad week for the bullpen starting down at Pearl,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “The last three games we’ve lost we’ve had the lead.”
After Ole Miss starter Christian Trent and reliever Preston Tarkington issued no walks over seven innings.
Trent went 6.1 innings, and Tarkington fanned the only two batters he faced to get Ole Miss to the eighth with a lead.
Bianco said Trent felt good but was about at the “limit” of how deep he pitches with success.
“There have been times we’ve pushed him and tried to squeeze some more out of him, and it wasn’t good,” Bianco said.
It wasn’t only about walks.
Freshman shortstop Errol Robinson committed errors in the first and eighth innings, and both baserunners came home to score.
After a poor throw put the leadoff man aboard in the eight, Laxer gave up a basehit and a walk to load the bases, then walked home the third run and kept the bases full for Short.
The Tide got a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 4, and Short got out of the inning with a 5-3 double play.
After trailing the first six innings Ole Miss scored three times in the seventh on two hits – one of them a two-run single by Braxton Lee – a walk and an error. All the action came with two outs.
“We’ve got to be better. We’ve got to be better out of the bullpen, and we’ve got to be better in the field,” Bianco said. “We’ve got to make plays at the end of the game to win the game.”