OXFORD, Miss. – It was a back and forth battle, but the Rebels delivered the final blow when Preston Overbey came up with a sac fly to right center in the ninth to deliver a 7-6 win for Ole Miss (27-21, 11-13 SEC) over No. 1 South Carolina (37-10, 18-6 SEC) on Sunday at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
Tracy drew a lead-off walk off South Carolina closer Matt Price – only the 11th of the season – to start things in the ninth. He then moved from first to third on a single through the right side from Miles Hamblin before coming home on the fly out to right center from Overbey to give the Rebels the victory.
The win gave the Rebels a series win over the top-ranked Gamecocks. It is the second time in the last three seasons the Rebels have hosted the top-ranked team in the nation and walked away with a series win. Ole Miss took the series from then No. 1 Georgia in 2009 on the way to the Southeastern Conference championship.
“This weekend was terrific,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “It was a special weekend and one that helps our team tremendously. Even though the win today was much different than yesterday, it was great to see our guys keep it together all the way through. The team that wins normally gets the timely hit, and we were able to that today.
“South Carolina also got a lot of timely hits with guys on base down the stretch and that’s why they were able to make it stretch all the way to the bottom of the ninth. Jake Morgan is a special pitcher who throws through so much pain. It really shows his strength in a game like this to see him want the ball at the end of the game and be able to deliver the way he did.”
Morgan (3-0) picked up the win as he worked the final 2.1 innings, holding the Gamecocks scoreless with only two hits and a strikeout. Morgan now has three wins and five saves in 10 relief appearances for the Rebels after missing almost seven weeks of the season from March 20 through April 30.
Price (4-3) suffered the loss for the Gamecocks as he allowed the one run on two hits with two walks and a strikeout in 3.0 innings of work.
For the second straight day, Ole Miss got off to a quick start with two runs in the first inning as the Rebels took advantage of a fielding error on a two-out, RBI-single up the middle from Matt Tracy to push a pair of runs home.
The lead grew to three runs in the third as Blake Newalu scored on a bases loaded walk of Miles Hamblin. Newalu was hit by a pitch to start the inning and moved to third on a walk and a single before coming home on the walk of Hamblin to give Ole Miss the 3-0 edge.
South Carolina responded in the fourth, coming up with an RBI triple from Jake Williams following a walk of Brady Thomas to get on the board. A second run came home when Williams scored on a single from Adrian Morales the cut the lead to 3-2 in favor of the Rebels.
The Gamecocks took the lead in the fifth inning, scoring three runs on a triple to right field from Brady Thomas. Thomas would then score two batters later on a single from Morales that gave South Carolina a 5-3 lead on the Rebels.
Matt Snyder responded in the bottom the fifth, coming up with a two-run home run to tie the game at five. Alex Yarbrough scored on the shot into the home bullpen in left field after opening the inning with a walk.
The Rebels scored again in the sixth to take the lead on a double from Yarbrough, but South Carolina again answered with a single run in the seventh on a fielding error at short that allowed Morales to come home from second and tie things at six.
The Rebels’ Morgan held the Gamecocks off the board the rest of the way, allowing for the rally in the ninth inning that gave Ole Miss the win.
Ole Miss will return to action this week with a three-game series against in-state rival Mississippi State that will begin on Thursday night as a part of the Southeastern Conference’s ESPN television package. The Thursday night contest will begin at 6:30 p.m. CT and will be televised by ESPNU.
Friday and Saturday’s contests are both set for 7 p.m. CT starts and will be televised by SportSouth.
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