By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – It had been a difficult day for mothers with sons taking swings for Ole Miss, but Auston Bousfield rescued their holiday with his second chance.
Unable to drive in the go-ahead run in the eighth, Bousfield lined a walk-off hit into right-center in the 10th, and No. 11 Ole Miss rallied to beat Georgia 2-1 and take the SEC series before 7,338 fans at Swayze Field on Sunday.
The Rebels (37-15, 17-10 SEC) remain in sole possession of first place in the Western Division as the final three games begin Thursday. Ole Miss has its most conference wins since sharing the overall title in 2009 and will visit Texas A&M for the last series.
The Rebels struggled against Georgia right-hander David Sosebee and end the weekend with just three runs in 18 innings after a 12-2 win in Game 1.
Ultimately it was Bousfield – who began the weekend as the SEC’s leading hitter – who drove in both runs with a 2-for-5 day at the plate.
Ole Miss right-hander Sam Smith gave up a run in the first before throwing six scoreless innings. Left-hander Jeremy Massie allowed just one hit with no walks and four strikeouts in the final three innings.
“I don’t know that there’s a better guy in the country than Auston, a guy who’s not going to strike out, can’t catch up to the fastball, handle the breaking ball, a guy that runs,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “A difficult situation for the opponent there.”
The eighth inning began with promise, but after a hit by Errol Robinson and a bunt single by Braxton Lee, Robinson was forced out at third on Bousfield’s ground ball. Austin Anderson then hit into a double play to end the inning.
Robinson, who was 3-for-4, was prominent in the 10th as well. He followed Holt Perdzock’s one-out walk with a hit and took second when the Bulldogs (25-25-1, 10-16-1 SEC) couldn’t get Perdzock at third.
Braxton Lee was intentionally walked to get to Bousfield.
“We’re feeling really good right now, and this is something we want to fuel us for the next series,” Robinson said.
Smith, who was coming off back-to-back short outings against Kentucky and Arkansas, settled in and retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced. He scattered seven hits, walked none and struck out three.
The Rebels finished with eight hits.
“I rarely say this because I don’t want to sound whiny,” Bianco said. “We had some great at-bats. There were some balls right at them, and they made some spectacular plays. I was proud of the way we swung it.”