OXFORD, Miss. – Just like the previous two nights it came down to holding the Wildcats off late, but this time the Rebels had to put together a rally of their own to go back in front in the seventh as Ole Miss (23-14, 8-7 SEC) swept Kentucky (17-20, 2-13 SEC) with a 6-5 win on Sunday.
The Rebels downed the Wildcats 3-2 on Friday night and 12-10 on Saturday to post the first SEC sweep of the season. It also marked the first SEC home sweep for the Rebels since taking all three games from fifth-ranked LSU the final weekend of April in 2010.
Eric Callender (1-0) picked up his first win of the season in relief as he allowed three runs on three hits with a strikeout in 2.0 innings of work. The senior gave up the go-ahead runs in the sixth inning, but shut Kentucky down after that to allow his team the chance to rally for the win.
Brett Huber picked up his fourth save of the season, allowing only one hit with a walk and a strikeout in the final 2.0 innings of work.
Braden Kapteyn (0-2) suffered the loss in relief for Kentucky as he allowed three runs on two hits with two walks and a strikeout in 0.2 innings of work. He entered the game with Kentucky holding a 5-3 lead in the sixth before giving up the three runs in the seventh that put Ole Miss back on top for good.
“This was just like the previous two games - hard fought,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “I was really proud of how all weekend our guys handled adversity when it presented itself and were able to come back from behind today and get the win.
“Huber was terrific on the mound and commanded the end of the game. Though we gave up five runs to them in the sixth, Eric Callender gave us a boost by getting one-two-three in the next inning. That was a good momentum shift that allowed our hitters to get going in the bottom of the seventh to put them away. This sweep gives us a lift going into the week ahead to play Mississippi State in what will be an extremely tough game. Overall, I’m just proud of our guys.”
Ole Miss plated single runs in each of the first three innings, using a solo home run from Alex Yarbrough in the first and a solo shot from Will Allen in the second to go up 2-0. The Rebels then got a third run in the third inning when Matt Tracy singled to right field to score Blake Newalu from second.
Kentucky struck back in the sixth, moving on top with a five run inning that was capped by a two run shot to left field from Kapteyn. Back-to-back singles opened the inning with a fielding error on a single to left allowing the first run to score with one out and leave two men in scoring position. A goundout to second drove a second run home before a fourth single in the inning tied the game at three. Kapteyn then hit his two-run shot to put Kentucky on top.
Ole Miss rallied in the seventh after Kapteyn moved to the mound after starting the game as the designated hitter. Back-to-back doubles from Yarbrough and Matt Smith got the first run home before a pair of walks loaded the bases.
Kentucky turned to the bullpen for Alex Phillips who got Miles Hamblin to hit a ground ball to second, but Hamblin beat out the throw to first on the double play attempt as Smith scored to tie the game at five. Taylor Hightower then ripped a single to the gap in left center to drive in Preston Overbey, and the Rebels were in the lead once again.
Ole Miss turned to Huber out of the bullpen to start the eighth inning and the closer, who earned Freshman All-America honors a year ago, kept the Wildcats off the board in the final two frames to give the Rebels the sweep.
Ole Miss will return to action on Tuesday night with the annual Governor’s Cup game against Mississippi State at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. The game is set for a 6:30 p.m. start and will be televised by CSS. It does not count in the conference standings, but rather counts as a non-conference game against a conference opponent.
The Rebels are the home team for this year’s contest.
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