OXFORD, Miss. – The Rebels fought back, but came up short in the rally as Ole Miss (15-5, 1-1 SEC) fell to Alabama (12-7, 1-1 SEC) by a score of 7-5 on Saturday at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
The two teams will play the deciding game of the series at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, as the Rebels won the first game of the series 4-0 on Friday night.
David Goforth (0-3) suffered the loss for the Rebels on Saturday, allowing four runs – three of them earned – on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts in 5.1 innings of work.
Adam Morgan (3-1) picked up the win for the Crimson Tide as he allowed five runs – four earned – on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Jonathan Smart grabbed his second save of the inning, holding the Rebels off the board the final inning after entering the game with two men in scoring position and no outs in the ninth.
“Today just wasn’t a good day for us overall,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We did not have a good day on the mound, and were not able to get hits with guys on third base and less than two outs. That is what we are going to have to do to be successful moving forward. It was good to see our guys have an answer for their big inning by having one of our own. Not being able to fully capitalize on our chances in the later innings hurt us.”
Alabama struck first, scoring two runs in the fourth inning on a single to left center from Andrew Miller. David Kindred singled to open the inning and moved to second when Jonathan Kelton was hit by a pitch. Both runners advanced on a passed ball before scoring on the Miller hit to give the Crimson Tide the 2-0 lead.
Ole Miss answered in the bottom of the inning with a solo home run from Matt Smith to cut the lead to 2-1.
Alabama moved back out by two runs in the fifth inning with a single run that came on a sac fly from Austen Smith. Taylor Dugas reached on a lead-off single and moved to second on a sac bunt. He took third on a wild pitch to set up the score on the Smith fly out.
The Crimson Tide added three more runs in the sixth inning to take a 6-1 lead on the Rebels.
Ole Miss fought back in the bottom of the frame, putting together a four-run rally that cut the lead to one. Three straight singles loaded the bases for the Rebels before Matt Smith drew a walk to push the first run across. Matt Snyder grounded out to first, pushing a second run across the plate and leaving two men in scoring position.
Preston Overbey then singled deep in the hole in short, scoring Alex Yarbrough and moving Smith to third. The Rebel senior then scored on the play as the Alabama shortstop’s throw to first was low and took an awkward bounce in an attempt to get Overbey out. The run put the score at 6-5, but the Rebels were unable to push another run across as the Crimson Tide got out of the inning with no more damage done by turning a double play in the next at bat.
Alabama extended the lead in the ninth, pushing a single run across the plate to take a 7-5 lead on the home-standing Rebels.
Ole Miss mounted a rally in the bottom of the ninth, using a single and a double from the first two batters to put two men in scoring position with no outs, but the Rebels couldn’t get them home as Alabama claimed the series evening win.
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