By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Clutch hitting trumps volume hitting, and Ole Miss got the hits at the right time to beat Alabama 5-2 before a record crowd of 11,729 at Swayze Field on Saturday afternoon.
After giving up a two-run lead in the seventh, the Rebels got two-out RBI hits from Will Allen and pinch-hitter Austin Knight in the eighth, securing the SEC series after a 6-0 win Friday night.
It’s only the second conference series victory for Ole Miss (25-10, 6-8 SEC) which had lost three straight weekends after opening with a pair of wins at Arkansas.
The Rebels will go for the sweep today at 1:30 p.m.
Mike Mayers pitched six-straight scoreless innings before fading in the seventh when Alabama (22-15, 8-6) scored what remains its only two runs of the weekend.
Tanner Bailey went 12⁄3 innings, and Brett Huber allowed only one base runner in the ninth.
The productive swings by Allen and Knight accounted for half of the four Ole Miss hits. Two of those came from Allen, who doubled and homered Friday.
“There weren’t very many hits, but they were all very big hits,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said.
Andrew Mistone had an RBI hit in a two-run sixth when the Rebels also scored on a bases-loaded walk by Sikes Orvis.
Mistone was a key figure in the eighth as well. Two were on with no outs when his bunt was fielded by Jon Keller, Alabama’s third pitcher, who threw to third base to force Auston Bousfield and erase Mistone’s sacrifice attempt.
After Preston Overbey walked and Orvis struck out, Allen singled up the middle. That left runners on the corner for Knight, who early this season had a game-winning pinch-hit against Rhode Island.