COLUMBIA, S.C. – A pair of late rallies proved to be too much to overcome for the first time this season as No. 12 Ole Miss (17-4, 1-2 SEC) dropped both games of a doubleheader to No. 1 South Carolina, including a 5-4 loss in 10-innings in game one and a 3-1 loss in game two.
The weekend series closed out a five-game road swing for the Rebels and now Ole Miss will return home for a five game stretch that includes a Wednesday night game against Arkansas State and a series against Missouri over the weekend.
“We’ve been in a lot of close games and they’ve all gone our way until today, and it just didn’t happen that way this time,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “You have to tip your hat to South Carolina. That’s baseball and they showed why they’re a good team today.
“It comes down to making the hit in a couple of at bats and making a couple of pitches,” Bianco said. “They seemed to get all of the hits when they needed them today. That’s how you win in this league.”
GAME 2 – No. 1 South Carolina 3, No. 12 Ole Miss 1
Sam Smith (3-1) turned in a stellar outing in game two despite the loss, allowing three runs – two earned – on six hits through 7.0 innings of work. Smith struck out five in the outing. He left the game with the Rebels down 2-1 and a man on first who was charged to him after he came home two batters later.
Wil Crowe (4-0) picked up the win, holding the Rebels to one run on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
South Carolina got on the board first, pushing home a run in the second inning, taking advantage of a throwing error on a relay following a fly out to left field. The throw sailed and bounced into the stands, sending the runner to third before coming home to score a batter later on a sac fly from Grayson Greiner. The Gamecocks held a 1-0 lead after two innings of play.
Ole Miss tied things up in the fourth on a Sikes Orvis single through the right side that scored Austin Anderson from second. Anderson reached when he was hit by a pitch and took second on a single to left from Will Allen before coming home on the Orvis hit and tying the game at 1-1.
South Carolina moved back in front in the bottom of the fifth when Tanner English pushed a bunt down the first base side of the mound with two outs on the board. Connor Bright scored on the play as the bunt was placed in no man’s land and after the field, English beat the Rebel fielder’s to the bag. The Gamecocks led 2-1 after the fifth.
Ole Miss had a chance in the sixth, loading the bases with one out, but the Gamecocks turned a double play on a ground ball to second to end the inning and hold on to the one-run lead.
South Carolina took the lead out to two runs in the eighth when Marcus Mooney scored from second on a single through the left side from Joey Pankake. Mooney reached with a walk before advancing to second on a sac bunt from Elliott Caldwell.
The Rebels would get runners in scoring position in the seventh and eighth, but couldn’t get them home as South Carolina went on to grab the series with the 3-1 win in game two of the Saturday doubleheader.
GAME 1 – No. 1 South Carolina 5, No. 12 Ole Miss 4 (10 Innings)
A ninth-inning rally spelled trouble for the Rebels and set the table for the Gamecock comeback as No. 12 Ole Miss (17-3, 1-1 SEC) fell to No. 1 South Carolina (17-1, 1-1 SEC) by a score of 5-4, dropping its first extra-inning and first one-run game of the season.
It was the first game of a Saturday doubleheader due to impending inclement weather on Sunday that forced a change in the schedule for the three-game series. Ole Miss won the series-opener 6-4 on Friday night.
South Carolina got a leadoff single from Grayson Greiner to open the home half of the 10th and used a sac bunt to move him into scoring position. Pinch hitter Brison Celek then came to the plate as the Rebels countered with right-hander Aaron Greenwood out of the bullpen.
Celek drove in the game-winning run with a single to right, bringing Greiner home to score and securing the win for the Gamecocks.
Matt Denny (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing one run on one hit in his 0.2 innings of work. The left-hander put the winning run on base before leaving the game with one out in the 10th. Starter Christian Trent worked 6.0 innings and allowed one run on six hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
Joel Seddon (1-0) picked up the relief win, allowing two hits but keeping the Rebels off the board after entering the game to start the 10th inning. Starter Jack Wynkoop allowed four runs – two earned – on seven hits with a strikeout in his 3.0 innings of work, but the bullpen worked 7.0 scoreless to allow the home team to rally for the win.
Ole Miss scored first for the second straight game against the Gamecocks when Will Allen delivered a two-out double to score Austin Anderson from second. Anderson reached on a fielder’s choice before a Wynkoop balk pushed him into scoring position for the Allen hit that put the Rebels up 1-0.
This time around, the Rebels kept South Carolina off the board in the home half of the first. With a man at third and two outs, Errol Robinson ranged to his left on a ball up the middle, scooping it up behind the bag and making the throw to first to end the inning without a run scoring.
Allen again came up with an RBI double in the third, driving one to the top of the wall in left to score Braxton Lee from second and put Anderson and Allen in scoring position with one out. Lee reached on a fielding error at short before Anderson was hit by a pitch to put both men on for the Allen hit. Brantley Bell then singled to drive in Anderson and take the lead out to 3-0 for the Rebels.
Preston Overbey then delivered a sac fly to the wall in left to bring Allen home and Ole Miss held a 4-0 lead on the Gamecocks after the top of the third.
South Carolina got a rally going in the sixth, using a pair of hits and a walk to load the bases with one out on the board. Weber Pike then reached on a fielder’s choice with a ground ball to short, bringing home a run as the Rebels just missed on turning a double play to get out of the inning. Trent responded with a strikeout looking to the next batter, ending the inning and keeping Ole Miss on top 4-1.
The Gamecocks again put together a rally in the seventh, chipping away at the Rebel lead. A single and a double with one out on the board and sent the Rebels to the bullpen for the second time in the inning. Right-hander Preston Tarkington came to the mound to relieve Cheyne Bickel, who started the inning in relief of Trent, and try to limit the South Carolina inning.
Tarkington got a lineout to first and a fly out to right to end the inning and keep Ole Miss on top of the Gamecocks by three runs.
South Carolina again looked to mount a rally in the ninth. With two outs on the board and a man at second, Conner Bright drove a ball to right that scored Tanner English and cut the lead to 4-2. Pinch hitter Max Schrock then hit a two-run shot to right field to tie the game at four.
Joey Pankake then hit a double to the wall in right center sending the Rebels back to the bullpen for left-hander Matt Denny in relief of Laxer. Denny got a groundout to end the inning and send things to extra frames with the score knotted at four.
South Carolina then kept the Rebels off the bags in the extra-frame before getting back-to-back hits with one out to grab the one-run win in the first game of the doubleheader.
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