After sweep of State, Ole Miss faces ASU on the road
After sweeping Mississippi State this past weekend, Ole Miss sits in great position to become eligible for the NCAA Tournament. Teams must be above .500 to make the NCAA postseason, so with a record of 28-24 the Rebels need only win one of their four remaining games in order to avoid a must-win scenario in the SEC Tournament.
Sweeping State: Ninth inning Play-by-Play
After beating State 4-3 on Thursday and 13-10 on Friday, Ole Miss was looking for the sweep on Saturday. The 9,743 fans in attendance were treated to a comeback they will likely never forget.
Behind 7-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning—with two outs—Ole Miss launched an improbable five-run rally to tie the game and force extra innings.
Here’s the play-by-play of one of the most exciting innings in Rebel history:
Sikes Orvis got things going when he singled to right field to begin the ninth. Austin Knight was up next and flied out to centerfield for the first Rebel out. J.B. Woodman was then walked by State’s Sexton, and Orvis advanced to second.
Following a State pitching change (Houston in for Sexton), Nic Perkins fouled out to the catcher for the second Ole Miss out. Kyle Watson was up next for the Rebels, and he drew a walk—which advanced Woodman to second and Orvis to third.
Henri Lartigue came in to pinch hit for Cameron Dishon, and with the count sitting at 1-2 (with two outs), Lartigue was hit by a pitch. This advanced Watson to second, Woodman to third and plated Orvis. This cut the State lead to 7-3.
Errol Robinson came up next for Ole Miss. He singled through the right side, advancing Lartigue to second, Watson to third and scoring Woodman. The State lead was cut to 7-4.
Will Golsan was up next for the Rebels and he drew a walk. This advanced Robinson to second, Lartigue to third and plated Watson to cut the State lead to 7-5.
Following a pitching change by State (Hudson in for Houston), Colby Bortles came up to bat and promptly singled up the middle for 2 RBIs, as Robinson and Lartigue scored. The game was then tied at 7-7.
With Golsan on third, Orvis struck out to end the inning; however, the damage was done and the Rebels had new life heading into the tenth inning. They ended the ninth with five runs, three hits and two left on base.
Tenth inning culminates with Rebel win
After holding State scoreless in the top of the tenth, Ole Miss was back at the plate. Austin Knight drew a walk that was followed by a J.B. Woodman sacrifice bunt that moved Knight to second. Knight then advanced to third on a passed ball, and Tate Blackman came in to pinch run for him.
With one out and Blackman on third, Nic Perkins singled to left field to bring Blackman home, thus winning the game for the Rebels, 8-7, and completing the sweep of State.
The comeback was the second time this season Ole Miss rallied for a comeback after trailing by four-or-more runs in the ninth inning. On April 10, the Rebels were down four against No. 1 ranked Vanderbilt when Colby Bortles blasted a grand slam home run to tie the game in the ninth. Ole Miss won that game, 6-5, in 16 innings, and now has a record of 3-0 in extra-inning games this season—all of which came in conference play.
Orvis led Ole Miss at the plate with a career-high four hits, including two solo home runs. The homers brought his total to 14 on the season, and five in the last four games. He has 32 in his career as a Rebel.
Next Up: Arkansas State
On Tuesday, the Rebels head to Jonesboro, Ark. to face the Arkansas State Red Wolves. The teams last played February 24, 2015, with Ole Miss winning, 2-1, in Oxford.
ASU enters the game with a record of 23-26. They are led at the plate by redshirt-senior Zach George who is batting .390 with 69 hits this season. On the mound, the Red Wolves will pitch sophomore lefty Collin Nord. This will be his second start of the season. Though he has made nine appearances this year, he has only pitched 5.2 innings. He is 0-1 with an ERA of 11.12
Babb gets the start for Ole Miss
Mitchell Babb will start for Ole Miss. He is 2-0 this season with an ERA of 5.66. The junior lefty has made relief appearances in 12 games this season and has not allowed a run in eight of his 13 appearances. He pitched the final 1.2 innings in game one against Vandy and retired all five batters he faced.
(Feature image credit: Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)
Evelyn Van Pelt
Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.