By James Pennington
Special to the Journal
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After consecutive blowout wins for No. 16 Ole Miss, Sunday’s 9-6 win over No. 17 Kentucky was a little bit different. But Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said every game is different, and a slugfest win is the same as any other winning result.
Either way, the Rebels earned a road sweep over a top-20 opponent with nine SEC games to go.
“It was like a heavyweight boxing match,” Bianco said. “You look at the scoreboard, and we had trouble getting them out. It was going to be their day offensively, but we scored every inning from the second to the eighth. We stayed in the fight.”
The Rebels clinched the series with two offensive outbursts Friday and Saturday, scoring a total of 30 runs in the first two games in Lexington. The Ole Miss offense was even more explosive Sunday, and Kentucky’s did a better job of keeping up, but it was still enough to earn a sweep.
Ole Miss didn’t lead until the top of the seventh, when a Sikes Orvis sacrifice fly scored Will Allen. The Rebels scored two runs in the inning but had a chance to add a few more. Instead, they made two outs at the plate.
J.B. Woodman was thrown out at home trying to score on a fielder’s choice to shortstop Matt Reida, and then the inning ended when Kentucky left fielder Ka’ai Tom threw out Preston Overbey trying to score from second on a line-drive single.
Auston Bousfield capped off his impeccable weekend with a 3-for-4, two-double performance. In the three-game series, the Rebels’ center fielder was 10 of 14 with three doubles, a home run, eight runs scored and seven RBI.
Bousfield led off the eighth with a double high off the wall in right-center field. He was brought around immediately to score on Austin Anderson’s single, giving the Rebels a 9-6 lead.
Ole Miss starter Sam Smith was pulled after 22⁄3 innings, but Aaron Greenwood and Jeremy Massie combined to go the rest of the way. Massie pitched the final four innings and earned his third win of the season.
“Sam’s done a great job all year, putting together quality innings, and he didn’t pitch bad today,” said catcher Will Allen, who hit his seventh home run in the third. “He got some ground balls that were just hit in the right places. I feel bad for him, but our bullpen battled. They shut it down, and I’m really proud of them.”
The Rebels return to action Wednesday night at home against Southern Miss. Arkansas visits for an SEC series starting Friday.