OXFORD, Miss. – The bullpen came in and held the Warhawks down over the last five innings to allow the home team to rally as No. 24 Ole Miss (7-1) downed ULM (4-4) by a score of 5-4 on Tuesday afternoon at Swayze Field.
With the bases loaded in the ninth inning and two outs on the board, junior outfielder Braxton Lee hit a chopper to short and motored safely down the first base line as Holt Perdzock crossed home plate to complete a dramatic ninth-inning rally.
Trailing by two runs entering the inning, the Rebels and Warhawks started a chess match of pinch hitters and pitching changes as both teams fought for the win.
The Rebels got three consecutive batters on base with a walk, a single to right and a hit batter. Dalton Dulin brought the tying run home with a ground ball to short, reaching as the Warhawks went to second with the play to erase Errol Robinson from the base path. The play allowed pinch-running Will Jamison to score and knot the game at four.
Lee then delivered his chopper to short, scoring Perdzock as the Rebels picked up the come-from-behind win.
“At the end, it was all of the at-bats starting with (Colby) Bortles, a freshman off the bench,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “He fouls balls off and gets a 3-2 walk and gets to first. Then Holt (Perdzock) has another great at-bat and drops one in. Errol (Robinson) comes up with another great at-bat. He’s at 2-2 and takes a breaking ball in the back.
“Then the speed took over,” Bianco said. “You have Dalton (Dulin), who hits a ball. It looks somewhat like a routine double-play ball. He runs a great 90 (feet) to first and beats it out and we tie the game up. Then Braxton (Lee) at the end, when he chopped that ball, you knew he was going to have a play. He was too good down the base path.”
Wyatt Short (1-0) picked up the win in relief, working the final 0.2 innings and getting the Rebels out of a potential jam after entering the game with one out and a man on second.
Short was the third Rebel out of the bullpen to hold ULM in check as Matt Denny worked 3.0 scoreless innings and allowed one hit. Preston Tarkington then worked 1.1 innings without allowing a hit and only one base runner on a fielding error to open the ninth.
Reliever Tyler Bray (1-1) suffered the loss for the Warhawks, working the final 0.1 of an inning. He entered the game with ULM leading 4-3, one out and a runner on first.
Ole Miss got on the board in the first inning with a two-run home run from Auston Bousfield. Lee opened the home half of the first with a walk before Bousfield sent the pitch back over the wall in left center to put the Rebels on top 2-0.
ULM answered in the top of the fourth, taking advantage of breaks to load the bases before pushing four runs home.
An RBI single from Josh Faciane brought the first run home to cut the lead to 2-1 with one out on the board. The Rebels then got a strikeout for the second out, but the Warhawk lineup flipped back to the top spot and Dalton Herrington delivered a three-RBI double to the wall in right center to give his team a 4-2 lead on Ole Miss.
The Rebels capitalized on a break of their own in the fourth inning to cut the lead to one. Austin Knight came to the plate with two outs and a runner in scoring position. Knight struck out, but the dropped third strike forced a play at first and the catcher threw the ball over the head of the fielder, allowing J.B. Woodman to score from second.
Ole Miss’ bullpen then kept the Warhawks off the board the rest of the way, setting up the ninth-inning dramatics that resulted in a Rebel victory.
The two teams will take the field again on Wednesday with a 4 p.m. first pitch to conclude the two-game midweek set.
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