HOOVER, Ala. – The Rebels advanced at the Southeastern Conference Tournament, putting together a big seventh inning to extend a lead as No. 10 Ole Miss (41-17) defeated No. 19 Vanderbilt (41-18) by a score of 7-2 on Thursday.
The Rebels will now face either No. 20 Arkansas or No. 14 LSU at 3 p.m. Friday.
Aaron Greenwood (2-1) picked up the win in relief for the Rebels, allowing one run on one hit with a walk and three strikeouts in 2.2 innings of work. He entered the game in the fifth to relieve starter Jeremy Massie, who worked 4.1 innings with one run on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
Tyler Beede (7-7) took the loss, allowing four runs - three of them earned - on three hits with five walks and four strikeouts in his 6.0 innings of work. Beede also hit two batters to start a big seventh inning for the Rebels.
“Anytime you win this time of year it’s pretty awesome,” said Ole Miss assistant coach Cliff Godwin. “We played well today against one of the best pitchers in the nation. Jeremy (Massie) pitched well on short notice and we executed much better today when presented with opportunities.”
Vanderbilt got on the board in the first inning with a two-out rally following an infield single from Bryan Reynolds. A walk of Zander Wiel put two men on before Vince Conde drove a single back up the middle that scored Reynolds. A fly out to center ended the inning with the Rebels down 1-0 after the first.
Ole Miss answered in the third inning with a sac fly to left from Braxton Lee that scored Preston Overbey. Overbey started things with a one-out single up the middle and stole second to get into scoring position. He then moved to third on a single from Errol Robinson before coming home on the fly ball from Lee to tie the game at one.
Vanderbilt escaped a jam in the fifth as the Rebels put the first two men on with walks to start the inning. The Commodores elected to pitch out as Ole Miss sought to bunt them over and threw the lead runner out at third before a second walk put two men on again. A ground ball to short got Robinson at second, but Lee beat the throw at first to leave men at the corners with two outs for the Rebels. Vanderbilt then got the strikeout to end the inning and keep the game knotted at one.
The Commodores then responded in the bottom of the inning, threatening to take the lead by capitalizing on a Rebel miscue. A one-out walk put leadoff hitter Dansby Swanson on base before a throwing error on a pickoff attempt allowed him to take two bases and advance to third. Ole Miss then turned to its bullpen, calling in right-hander Aaron Greenwood to relieve Massie.
The Rebels had other plans, however, as Greenwood delivered a big strikeout of Xavier Turner and got a groundout to third from Reynolds to end the inning with the runner stranded at third.
The same scenario played out to start the sixth with Austin Anderson reaching on a walk before taking third on a throwing error from Vanderbilt’s starter Beede on a pickoff attempt. This time, the Rebels converted, getting a sac fly to deep center from Orvis to put Ole Miss on top 2-1.
A pair of hit batters started the seventh for the Rebels and sent Vanderbilt to the bullpen for right-hander Brian Miller. Ole Miss broke things open from there, taking the lead out to five runs with a big seventh inning.
With Will Jamison on second running for Colby Bortles and Preston Overbey at first, Robinson lay down a sac bunt to move both runners into scoring position. Vanderbilt elected to intentionally walk Lee to load the bases and bring Auston Bousfield to the plate. Bousfield started the rally with an RBI single to left that kept the bases loaded and put Ole Miss on top 3-1.
Austin Anderson then delivered a two-RBI single up the middle to bring home Overbey and Lee as Bousfield scampered to third. Anderson then got caught in a rundown, allowing Bousfield to sprint home from third and Ole Miss held a 6-1 lead at the stretch.
Vanderbilt didn’t go away, coming back at the Rebels in the home half of the inning and loading the bases with two outs. A hit batter brought the first run home and kept the bases juiced for the cleanup hitter, Wiel. Greenwood got the Rebels out of the inning, delivering a strikeout with a full count to keep Ole Miss on top 6-2 at the end of seven.
The Rebels took the lead back out to five runs in the ninth with a sac fly from Allen that scored Bousfield from third. Bousfield opened the inning with a double before taking third on a wild pitch. Allen then came to the plate following a groundout from Anderson and drove the ball deep to right for the run.
Laxer was solid in the final 2.0 innings for the Rebels, allowing one hit and recording a strikeout in seven batters faced.
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