LEXINGTON, Ky. – It was a quirky game with missed opportunities on both sides, but the final bounce of the ball went the way of the home team on Friday night as No. 10 Ole Miss (20-9, 5-5 SEC) fell to No. 1 Kentucky (29-2, 8-2 SEC) by a score of 3-2 at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Ole Miss out-hit the Wildcats handily, pounding out 14 hits to Kentucky’s seven. But the Rebels couldn’t get the timely hit and left 10 men stranded in the one-run loss. Ole Miss also had three men thrown out at the plate.
Dylan Chavez (3-2) took the loss in relief for the Rebels, allowing one run on three hits with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings of work.
Alex Phillips (5-1) picked up the win in relief, holding Ole Miss scoreless over 3.1 innings and allowing three hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Trevor Gott picked up his seventh save of the season, working the final two outs with a walk and a strikeout.
“Kentucky threw out three men at the plate, and I don’t know that ever seen that happen,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “You have to tip your hat. They maxed it out when they got an opportunity. We have to do a better job of getting the timely hit and the big hit when we have runners in scoring position.”
Kentucky scored first, getting a run home when J.T. Riddle scored from third on a grounder to short. Riddle walked with one out before moving to third on a double to left field from Michael Williams. Riddle then scored on the ground ball to short from Matt Reida to put the Wildcats up 1-0.
Ole Miss answered in the third inning, using three straight singles to bring a run home. Auston Bousfield singled before moving to third on a single to left center from Alex Yarbrough. Bousfield then scored on a single to center field from Matt Snyder to tie the game at one.
The Rebels took the lead in the fourth, again pushing a single run across the plate to go up 2-1. Preston Overbey singled through the right side before scoring from first on a double to the wall in left from Andrew Mistone.
It looked like Kentucky had tied things up in the fourth with a sac fly to right field, but Will Allen threw the ball to third on appeal and the umpire ruled the Wildcat base runner had left early giving Ole Miss the final out of the inning keeping the 2-1 lead.
Kentucky tied things up in the sixth inning on a sac fly to right field that scored Luke Maile from third. Maile doubled to right field to open the inning and took third on a passed ball. He then scored on the fly out to right field from Zac Zellers to tie the game at two.
In the seventh inning it appeared that Ole Miss was going to move back on top with a sac fly to center field from Matt Snyder with one out. It was ruled that Tanner Mathis was out at the plate on the play, however, and the score remained knotted at two at the stretch.
Kentucky took the lead for good in the eighth, getting a double to left center from Maile to lead things off. He then scored on a single up the middle from Cameron Flynn to put the home team up 3-2.
Ole Miss got a man to second with one out in the top of the ninth, but couldn’t get him home as Kentucky notched a strikeout and a groundout to claim the win in the series opener.
The Rebels and Wildcats will tangle again at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
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