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Ole Miss sweeps Kentucky, moves into tie for first

 

From Special Reports

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The No. 16 Ole Miss baseball team continued to click Sunday, scoring in seven consecutive innings en route to a 9-6 victory against No. 17 Kentucky. 

 

The victory helped Ole Miss (33-12, 13-8 Southeastern Conference) sweep Kentucky (27-19, 9-12) and move into a tie for first place with No. 8 Alabama atop the SEC's Western Division. 

 

The Rebels scored twice in the seventh inning to take the lead for the first time. They added an insurance run in the eighth to pick up the win. It marked only the third time Ole Miss has swept Kentucky in Lexington. 

 

Jeremy Massie (3-2) picked up the win in relief, working the final four innings. He held the Wildcats to two hits and struck out four. 

 

Logan Salow (2-2) suffered the loss, giving up the go-ahead run. He worked 1 1/3 innings and allowed three runs -- two earned -- on six hits. 

 

"We knew at some point that Kentucky offense would get going and it did today," Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. "Aaron Greenwood came in for us in the third and slowed them down enough for us to get back in things. (Jeremy) Massie was just terrific at the end. He's the only pitcher for us today who really kept them at bay. 

 

"Auston (Bousfield) had an unbelievable weekend that continued today and we had so many guys with big hits and so many clutch hits. We got some great base running and some gutsy calls with runners at third base from Coach Godwin." 

 

Kentucky got off to a quick start with Austin Cousino taking the first pitch and sending it back up the middle to put the leadoff man on for the Wildcats in the first. Cousino was out on the next play with a fielder's choice, but a walk of A.J. Reed put two men on base. Michael Thomas then hit a soft grounder to first to advance both runners to scoring position with two outs on the board. 

 

Ka'ai Tom then doubled off the wall in right field to bring home both runners and put the Wildcats on top 2-0 after the first. 

 

Ole Miss answered in the second, using a leadoff double from Sikes Orvis and a two-out single to left center from Preston Overbey to cut the lead in half at 2-1. 

 

A solo shot from Storm Wilson to open the home half of the second put the lead back out to two runs at 3-1 as the Wildcats put together an answering rally. Kentucky continued to build on the lead from there, using a single from Javon Shelby and a wild pitch to put him in scoring position. He then came home on a two-out single through the left side from Max Kuhn before the Rebels would get out of the inning down three runs. 

 

The hit parade continued in the third as Will Allen hit a two-run shot to right to cut the lead to 4-3 in favor of the Wildcats after the top of the third. 

 

Kentucky looked to put together an answering rally for the third-straight inning, but the Rebels escaped the bases-loaded jam when Greenwood coaxed a fly ball to center out of Cousino to end the inning and keep the score 4-3 heading to the fourth. 

 

Ole Miss tied the game in the fourth on an RBI groundout to short from Overbey that scored Woodman from third. Woodman opened the inning with a single up the middle and took second on a throwing error as Kentucky tried to pick him off. He then moved to third on a ground ball from Jamison before Overbey brought him home. 

 

The Wildcats moved back in front in the bottom of the fourth. 

 

Max Kuhn drew a walk to start things off before Reed came to the plate. The Rebels shifted the infield defensively for the left-handed slugger who poked one over the infield into shallow left and Kuhn went from first to third on the play as no one was able to recover and cover the bag. Thomas then hit a sac fly to center to score Kuhn and put Kentucky back on top 5-4 before the Rebels would get out of the inning. 

 

Again the Rebels had an answer when Allen came through with a big two-out hit to right center to score Bousfield from first. Bousfield was hit by a pitch to put him on and scored from first when Allen drove the ball deep to right center to even the game at 5-5. 

 

The Wildcats moved back in front with a single run in the bottom of the fifth, grabbing a 6-5 lead on an RBI groundout to second from Cousino. But, the Rebels once again answered with a two-out RBI double to right center from Braxton Lee in the top of the sixth that put the score at 6-6. 

 

Ole Miss moved in front of the Wildcats for the first time on the afternoon when Orvis delivered a sacrifice fly to score Allen in the seventh. Allen doubled to open the inning and took third on a wild pitch to set up the go-ahead score on the Orvis fly ball. A throwing error four batters later brought a second run home in the inning and the Rebels held an 8-6 lead over the Wildcats at the stretch. 

 

Ole Miss added to the lead in the eighth inning with an RBI single to right from Anderson that scored Bousfield, who opened the inning with a double off the wall in right. The Rebels held a 9-6 lead after the top of the eighth. 

 

Massie then held the Wildcats in check through the final two frames as the Rebels picked up the win. 

 

Ole Miss will return to action at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday when it plays host to Southern Miss at Swayze Field in the final home midweek contest of the season.

 

 

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