April 25, 2010

Courtesy of Mississippi

OXFORD, Miss. - It took 11 innings, but freshman Alex Yarbrough came up with a walk-off RBI single to drive in Matt Smith and give No. 19 Ole Miss (27-13, 10-7 SEC) a 9-8 win over No. 5 LSU (32-8, 11-6 SEC).

The win gave the Rebels the weekend series as Ole Miss claimed the first game of the doubleheader, 11-9 earlier in the day.

With men at the corners and two outs, Yarbrough took a full count pitch and drove it back up the middle on Tigers reliever Matt Ott to score Smith from third and snag the win for the Rebels.

Matt Crouse (4-1) picked up the win in relief for Ole Miss with 2.2 innings of work. Crouse allowed only one hit with one walk and struck out four in his time on the mound.

Ott (1-1) took the loss for the Tigers as he worked 3.2 innings of relief and gave up one run on two hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

"Those were two great games for us," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "It was a great day at the ballpark and there were a lot of heroes. In the second game I was really proud of how [Aaron] Barrett hung in there and didn't give up any runs outside of the first. The guys hung in there and we were able to get the big hit at the end. I thought [Taylor] Hashman was tremendous off the bench with his homerun, double, and walk at the plate.

"[The day's first game] didn't turn out to be the pitching duel we expected, but it was nice for us to swing the bat the way we did. There were some wind-aided balls for both teams, but we also had some very hard hit balls. [Matt] Crouse was tremendous in the last few innings [of the second game]. We really had to lean on him once we got to extra innings, and he certainly came through and was huge for us."

LSU got off to a quick start in the second game, using a pair of home runs to put together a four run inning and jump out to the early lead on the Rebels.

The Tigers added a fifth run in the second inning when Johnny Dishon scored on a sacrifice fly to right field from Austin Nola. Dishon walked to open the inning before a throwing error from the catcher on a pickoff attempt was wide, allowing him to move to second. He took third on a flyout to right and then scored on the sacrifice fly to give LSU the 5-0 lead.

Ole Miss responded in the bottom of the third, loading the bases with one out and scoring on a walk of Matt Smith. The Rebels could get no more, however, as Matt Snyder grounded into a double play in the next at bat to end the inning.
The fourth inning saw the Rebels claw back, taking advantage of a hit batter and a throwing error to set up a four run inning to tie things at five. Zach Miller was hit by a pitch to open the frame and moved to third on a double from Kevin Mort. Both runners scored on a grounder to third from Yarbrough that saw the freshman reach safely as the throw sailed high. A pinch hitting Taylor Hashman then hit a two run home run to left field to knot the game.

The fifth inning saw the Rebels continue to pound away as Hashman again came up big, this time catapulting Ole Miss into the lead with a bases loaded double to right center that gave the Rebels a three run advantage at 8-5.

LSU cut into the lead in the seventh, putting together a rally with one out on the board as four straight singles from Mikie Mahtook, Nola, Blake Dean and Micah Gibbs pushed two runs across the plate. With men on first and second, the Rebels went to the bullpen for Trent Rothlin.

Rothlin got a pop out for the second out in the inning, but a double down the left field line from Matt Gaudet pushed a third run across in the inning and tied the game at eight as the Rebels threw out Leon Landry at home as the LSU outfielder tried to score from first.

The Tigers looked to put together a rally in the ninth with two men on and two down for Gaudet. Following a flyout to left center - a home run robbed by Rebel centerfielder Tim Ferguson - Ole Miss went to the bullpen for Matt Crouse. A walk of Dean and a single from Gibbs later, Crouse struck out Leon Landry to bring Gaudet to the plate. Crouse had other plans, however, fanning Gaudet to end the inning and send the game to the bottom of the ninth.

The pitching stepped up in extra innings as both relievers continued to shine, but the Rebels broke through first with the solid outing in the bottom of the 11th.

Smith opened the inning with a double off the wall in right center and took third on a fly out to right from Kevin Mort and move him into scoring position for the Yarbrough hit to clinch the game.

The two teams will face off again at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday at Swayze Field in a game televised by CSS.