OXFORD, Miss. – Alex Yarbrough went 2-for-5 with two RBI and came up with a big hit to cut an early Hilltopper lead to one, but the Rebels weren’t able to hold on down the stretch as Ole Miss (10-4) fell to Western Kentucky (7-5) by a score of 7-3 on Wednesday night.
Ole Miss cut the early Western Kentucky lead to 4-3 in the fifth inning on the Yarbrough hit, but single runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth pushed the advantage out to the final 7-3 score for the Hilltoppers.
Matt Tracy (1-1) took the loss for the Rebels as he allowed four runs on six hits with three walks and six strikeouts in 3.1 innings of work.
Brian Edelen (1-0) picked up the win for Western Kentucky as the predetermined pitcher of record. Edelen allowed one run on two hits with a walk and five strikeouts in 2.2 innings of work.
“This was a disappointing loss in that we didn’t utilize on our strengths,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We didn’t protect the bags very well. We lacked confidence at the plate and didn’t get enough hits. Bottom line is that we have be more aggressive. Mike Myers pitched well and continues to improve. Coming off an injury and only having pitched a few innings up till now, I think he is doing great.”
Western Kentucky struck first, pushing three runs across the plate in the second inning. A lead-off single from Ryan Hutchison started things off before a walk and another single loaded the bases. Casey Dykes then singled up the middle to score a run and keep the bases loaded for the Hilltoppers.
Two batters later, Ivan Hartle doubled down the left field line with two outs to drive in two more runs and give Western Kentucky the 3-0 lead.
Ole Miss answered in the third, using a single to right from Yarbrough to score Austin Anderson from second. Anderson opened the frame with a single before taking second on a wild pitch to set up the score on the Yarbrough hit to cut the lead to 3-1.
The Hilltoppers added a run in the fourth when Logan Robbins scored from third on a fielder’s choice to short from Hartle. Robbins doubled and took third on a sac bunt from Matt Borgeschulte. He then scored on a slow roller deep in the hole at short that was fielded by Anderson and thrown to third to get the trailing runner as the only real option available on the play.
Again, Ole Miss responded by pushing a pair of runs across the plate in the fifth inning to trim the lead to one. A double to right center from Will Allen put the first man on before a double to shallow center from Taylor Hightower put both runners in scoring position with one out. Allen scored on a groundout to second from Tanner Mathis before Hightower scored on a single through the right side from Yarbrough.
The Rebels were unable to overtake Western Kentucky in the end, however, as the Hilltoppers pushed runs across in the final three innings to claim the 7-3 win.
Ole Miss returns to action on Friday when the Rebels host Lipscomb in the first of a three-game series. Friday’s first pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
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