HOOVER, Ala. -Mike Mayers turned in a quality start for the Rebels as the pitching staff limited opportunities all morning and sixth-seeded and No. 21 Ole Miss (37-20) defeated 11th-seeded Kentucky (30-25) by a score of 4-1 in the SEC Tournament opener on Tuesday.
The one run scored by the Wildcats was unearned, coming on a throwing error in the fourth inning.
With the win, the Rebels will now advance to face the third-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks (35-19) at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday. By advancing, the Rebels now enter into the double elimination phase of the tournament against the Razorbacks who earned a bye on Tuesday's opening round of play.
Mike Mayers (5-5) picked up the win, working 6.1 innings and allowing the one unearned run on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Right-hander Tanner Bailey picked up his fourth save of the year, working the ninth as the Rebels picked up the three-run win.
Left-hander Jeremy Massie bridged the gap between Mayers and Bailey, working 1.2 innings with a hit and a walk, but held Kentucky off the board.
Jerad Grundy (6-6) took the loss for the Wildcats, allowing four runs on nine hits with a strikeout through 5.2 innings of work.
"The talk after the game was how terrific Mike Mayers was today," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "I don't know if we have another player who can do what he just did. It probably worked out better than we could have imagined; he was terrific today. Of course, Jeremy Massie came in with a tough position and was composed to get us out of the seventh inning."
"We had some timely hits," Bianco said. "It was nice to see the guys continue to swing after coming out of the last two games at LSU where we swung the bat well. We played well today."
Ole Miss got on the board in the first inning when Andrew Mistone hit a sac fly to right field to score Austin Anderson. Anderson reached on a single to right before a single to right from Stuart Turner sent him from first to third.
The Rebels added to the lead in the third inning off an RBI-double down the first base line from Anderson that scored Christian Helsel. Helsel doubled off the wall in left to open the inning and then moved to third on a sac bunt from Tanner Mathis before the Anderson hit.
Kentucky got on the board in the fourth, taking advantage of a Rebel miscue to cut the lead in half. With two outs and men at the corners, the Wildcat's Austin Cousino took off for second on a steal attempt. The throw from the plate sailed into centerfield following a late break to the bag by both middle infielders, allowing the runner on third to come home.
The Rebels got the run back with some insurance in the sixth inning, pushing two runs home to take the lead out to 4-1. A one-out double from Andrew Mistone put a man in scoring position before Auston Bousfield delivered a single to right to bring him home. A single to right from pinch-hitter Austin Knight two batters later moved Bousfield into scoring position and set up an RBI single from Will Allen.
Ole Miss led 4-1 after the sixth.
Kentucky would threaten in the seventh, putting two men and sending the Rebels to the bullpen for Massie with one out. A swinging bunt loaded the bases on a perfectly placed ball, but Massie got an infield fly and a groundout to end the inning and keep Ole Miss on top.
The left-hander then worked a scoreless eighth before Tanner Bailey closed out the ninth to give the Rebels the win.
Senior quarterback Bo Wallace, like his head coach, stepped into a program that had won just two games in 2011 and had lost 14 straight games. Three years later, Wallace helped lead the ninth-ranked Rebels to their first nine-win regular... read more
Official welcome to Chad Kelly, the No. 1 JUCO QB in the country from national champion East Mississippi CC. #HottyToddy-- Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) December 17, 2014 Just Sent My LOI In To The University Of Mississippi!!! Feel's Good To... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewDec. 8-14, 2014Women's Basketball- The Ole Miss women's basketball team rebounded with a 88-48 win over South Alabama on Sunday. The win was the first after back-to-back losses for the Rebels for the first time... read more
Ole Miss Details Stadium Expansion Plans Ole Miss unveiled the master plan for Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, which includes two phases of renovation and expansion. Scheduled for completion by the start of the 2016 season, the expansion will bring the seating capacity... read more
With final exam week on the Ole Miss campus, there was not much game action, but there's still plenty to talk about, as Ole Miss finalized salary increases for head football coach Hugh Freeze and his staff, and the football... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewDec. 1-7, 2014Football- No. 9 Ole Miss accepted an invitation to play in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, where they will face No. 6 TCU on Dec. 31 in Atlanta's Georgia Dime.- Ole Miss is making... read more
While the Rebels have enjoyed a solid fall on the fields and courts and look forward to the upcoming Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and more basketball games, all student-athletes are busy this week proving they are champions in the classroom... read more
In the early part of the week, Athletics Director Ross Bjork and head football coach Hugh Freeze reached an agreement on a new contract. In the late part of the week, the Rebels learned their postseason bowl destination. Here are... read more
Ole Miss continued its strong bounce-back from a season-opening loss to Charleston Southern, improving to 5-1 on the season and knocking off two previously unbeaten opponents in No. 23 Creighton and Cincinnati to capture the inaugural Emerald Coast Classic. "We... read more
Athletics Director Ross Bjork and head football coach Hugh Freeze reached an agreement on a new contract, they both announced on Twitter early Tuesday morning. Terms will be released as they are finalized and are expected in the coming days.... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review Nov. 24-30, 2014Football- No. 18 Ole Miss won the annual "Egg Bowl" rivalry 31-17 over No. 4 Mississippi State in front of another sold-out crowd at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday afternoon.- The Rebels finish the... read more
Ole Miss collected a lot of hardware over the weekend, as the football team reclaimed the Egg Bowl trophy and the men's and women's basketball returned home with regular-season tournament championship. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week... read more