By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – For Ole Miss, a continued fall through the SEC standings was softened a bit by one detail in Sunday’s 7-6 11-inning loss to Vanderbilt.
The Rebels felt like they played better.
Ole Miss was swept at home for the first time since losing three to Auburn at the end of the 2010 season, and its losing streak reached five games, but coach Mike Bianco saw progress in a ninth-inning rally that stretched the game.
“Today we played much better, and I think there’s more in the tank,” Bianco said. “Certainly we can pitch better, play better defense, but today was more the team that played the first five weeks. We played hard.”
Vanderbilt had 17 hits to nine for Ole Miss (23-9, 4-8 SEC).
Turner starts it
Stuart Turner was 4-for-5 and started the ninth inning with a base hit. Andrew Mistone, the five-hole hitter, immediately followed suit, and the Rebels had something going against Brian Miller.
The Commodores’ (29-4, 11-1) closer with a side-arm deliver had not allowed a run in SEC play but gave up two in the ninth, both earned. They touched home when Preston Overbey’s ground ball scored Turner and when Tanner Mathis was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Turner was a central figure in the 11th inning also in an unfortunate manner. When a Brett Huber pitch got a few feet away from him, Vanderbilt’s Connor Harrell had a good jump to third base. Turner rushed his throw. It got past Mistone and into left field, and Harrell scored easily.
Harrell reached base with one out when his ground ball hit third base and got past Mistone.
“It was frustration on my part,” Turner said. “The ball kicked away from me, and I should have eaten it. I didn’t, and it bit me.”
A timely double from Will Allen and three successful bunts helped the Rebels push across three runs over the first two innings and take a 3-1 lead.
Between the second and ninth innings, however, there were missed opportunities much like Games 1 and 2.
Ole Miss stranded 14 runners and ended the fifth and seventh innings with runners at second and third base, the eighth inning with runners at the corners.
Turner had an RBI single in the fifth.