April 15, 2013 10:46:40 AM
OXFORD -- Tanner Mathis' bases-loaded single in the 11th inning Sunday helped the University of Mississippi baseball team beat the University of Alabama 4-3 at Swayze Field.
The victory secured a series sweep for Ole Miss, which improved to 26-10 and 7-8 in the Southeastern Conference, while Alabama slipped to 22-16 and 8-7.
The sweep was Ole Miss' first in the conference this season.
With the bases loaded and one out, Mathis, a senior outfielder, delivered a line drive into left field to scored Lance Wilson from third.
Brett Huber (3-1) entered the game to start the 11th and kept Alabama scoreless to allow Ole Miss the chance to get the win in the bottom half of the inning.
Ray Castillo (2-1) took the loss in relief, allowing two runs on six hits with three walks and a strikeout in the final 4 1/3 innings.
"I'm proud of the guys," Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. "It wasn't our best game. We made some mistakes. We didn't execute on a few things, but they played hard today. They were locked in from the first pitch and going full speed. A lot of times you challenge them on Sundays because it's the third day. It gets a little stale. It's the same team for the third day in a row. Our guys played so hard today.
"I'm proud of all of the pitchers that came in," Bianco said. "It seemed like everybody was able to get a big out for us and get out of an inning. You couldn't be happier for a guy like Tanner Mathis. He deserves that. He's had a tough year statistically to this point. He's a grinder and a guy you want up in that situation. You know he's not going to strike out, and he's going to move the ball."
Ole Miss scored first on the afternoon with a pair of RBI singles from Austin Anderson and Andrew Mistone. Tanner Mathis and Auston Bousfield led things off with a walk and a single before the Anderson hit scored Mathis and put the Rebels on the board. A walk of Stuart Turner loaded the bases and set up the RBI single from Mistone to put Ole Miss on top 2-0 after the first.
Rebel starter Sam Smith kept the Crimson Tide off the board through 4 1/3 innings before the Crimson Tide scratched out a run in the sixth. Andrew Miller came home from third on a groundout to third from Kenny Roberts that cut the lead in half at 2-1.
Alabama took the lead in the eighth inning on a pair of unearned runs to grab the first lead of the weekend for the Crimson Tide. A throwing error and a single on back-to-back hits to short put the first two men on base before a one-out walk loaded the bags for Alabama. A sac fly from Andrew Miller tied the game, then Chase Vincent delivered an RBI single up the middle to put Alabama on top before the Rebels would get out of the inning.
Ole Miss answered in the bottom of the eighth, with another big hit from Mistone. The third baseman came to the plate with two on and two outs and singled through the left side to score Holt Perdzock from second and knot the score at three.
The Rebels then picked up the win in the 11th when Mathis came up with the bases-loaded hit to score pinch runner Lance Wilson and complete the series sweep.
Sikes Orvis started the final inning with a single through the right side and was replaced on the base path by Wilson. Cameron Dishon reached after laying down a bunt that hit the dirt in front of the plate and kicked high on the bounce before falling in safely between three converging fielders. Stuart Turner then drew a walk to load the bases and put the pressure on the Tide.
Alabama struck out the next Rebel hitter to get an out on the board, but the lineup flipped back to the top of the order. Mathis then came to the plate and connected on the first pitch to drive in the winning run.
Alabama had 10 hits but stranded 13 runners, including nine in scoring position. Austen Smith led Alabama with three hits and Kenny Roberts and Georgie Salem had two hits each. Miller had a double, an RBI and scored a run and Chance Vincent had an RBI single to that put the Tide ahead in the eighth inning.
Alabama starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull threw six innings, allowing two runs on six hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
Ole Miss will play the University of Memphis at 6:30 tonight at AutoZone Park in Memphis, Tenn., while Alabama will play host to the University of Alabama at Birmingham at 6:05 p.m. Tuesday.