OXFORD, Miss. - For the fifth time in the last seven games, the Rebels got a little walk-off magic as No. 15 Ole Miss (12-2) rallied for a 2-1 win over UALR (8-2) in 10 innings on Friday night.
Freshman Brantley Bell delivered the game-winning hit with two outs, taking an 0-2 pitch with the bases loaded and driving it into the gap in right center to bring home Austin Anderson for the Rebel win. Bell also scored the game-tying run in the ninth inning to keep the Rebels' chances for a rally alive.
Josh Laxer (1-0) picked up the win in relief, working the final 4.0 innings with seven strikeouts and allowed one run on one hit without walking a batter. Starter Chris Ellis worked 5.2 scoreless innings, striking out seven batters of his own with two hits and four walks.
Ellis has not allowed an earned run through four starts this season.
Jesse Harbin (2-1) took the loss for the Trojans, working 3.0 innings and allowing two runs on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Travis McDonald worked 6.1 scoreless innings in the start, allowing three hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
"No offense deserved to win tonight," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "Both defenses deserved to win, but neither offense deserved to win that game. It would have been a tough one to swallow had we lost 1-0 on an unearned run as well as Chris (Ellis) and Josh (Laxer) pitched at the end. It was a tough one for them, obviously. Our guys hung in there and kept it close. Once it got to that point, we had some good at-bats."
The two pitchers and defenses held things in check through the first six innings of play, squelching rally attempts and keeping runners off the bases. That changed in the seventh when UALR broke through, taking advantage of an Ole Miss error to bring a run home with two outs on the board.
Mitchell Scheuler opened the inning with a single before back-to-back sac bunts moved the right fielder to third base. With two outs, a throwing error on a ground ball to short allowed Scheuler to score as UALR leadoff hitter Ben Crumpton reached base safely, keeping the inning alive and giving the visiting team a 1-0 lead.
OIe Miss answered in the ninth, taking advantage of a fielding error in left field to tie the game and send things into extra frames.
Bell delivered a one-out single through the left side and advanced to second on the play as pinch runner Cameron Dishon, who was on second for the at bat, was thrown out at the plate. Pinch hitter Henri Lartigue then sent a fly ball into left field that was dropped as the left and center fielders collided, allowing Bell to score from second and knot the game at one.
The Rebels then claimed the win in the 10th inning on the Bell hit to give Ole Miss the victory in the series opener against the Trojans. The came to the plate for the game-winning hit with the bases loaded thanks to an double from Anderson, an intentional walk of Will Allen and Dalton Dulin being hit by a pitch.
Ole Miss and UALR will take the field for game two of the series at 4 p.m. Saturday at Swayze Field.
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