COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Rebels grabbed an early lead, but couldn’t stave off a surging Horned Frog team who got some timely hits down the stretch on Sunday night as Ole Miss (37-25) fell to TCU (39-20) by a score of 5-2.
The Sunday night loss sets up a winner-take-all game between the Rebels and Horned Frogs at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Blue Bell Park. ESPNU will televise the contest.
R.J. Hively (5-6) took the loss for the Rebels, working 5.2 innings and allowing four runs – three earned – on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
Brandon Finnegan (4-4) picked up the win for the Horned Frogs, working a career-best 7.1 innings and allowing two runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.
“TCU just played better than we did tonight,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “When you get to this point of the season, you aren’t going to sneak through. Brandon Finnegan was tremendous for them tonight and we couldn’t catch up to his fastball. It was a gutsy performance from R.J. (Hively) tonight, but we have to help him more than we did.”
Ole Miss got on the board in the first inning when Tanner Mathis scored from second on a single through the left side from Matt Snyder. Mathis opened the home half of the first with a walk before advancing to second on a sac bunt from Auston Bousfield. The Snyder hit drove him home and gave the Rebels the 1-0 lead after the first inning of play.
TCU took the lead in the fourth inning when Derek Odell hit a two-run home run to right field that scored Josh Elander from second. Elander reached on a walk and stole second before Hively would strike out the next two batters. Odell then sent his first offering over the wall to put the Horned Frogs on top 2-1.
The Horned Frogs continued to build on the lead in the fifth inning, pushing a third run across with a sac fly to center field from Kyle Von Tungeln. Brance Rivera scored on the play after opening the inning with a double to left and moving to third on a sac bunt. The sac fly from Von Tungeln made it 3-1 in favor of TCU.
Ole Miss had a chance with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth, but TCU got out of the inning when Kevin Cron reached over the rail and into the visiting dugout to snag a foul fly to end the inning and keep the Horned Frogs in front 3-1.
TCU pushed the lead out to 4-1 in the sixth inning when Josh Gonzales delivered a two-out single through the right side with two men on to drive in Odell from second. Odell reached on a single and moved to second on a double steal attempt, but the Rebels couldn’t get out of the inning before he came home on the single from Gonzales to push the lead to three runs.
Ole Miss cut the lead in half in the bottom of the sixth when John Gatlin delivered an RBI single to shallow right that clipped off the glove of a diving right fielder. Yarbrough scored on the play after he and Snyder reached on a walk and a single then advanced on a sac bunt from Will Allen.
The Horned Frogs took the lead back out to three runs in the seventh with a bases loaded sac fly to left field from Kevin Cron that put the score at 5-2 before Ole Miss would get out of the inning.
Despite holding the Horned Frogs in check the rest of the way, the Rebels could get nothing else across the plate down the stretch as TCU picked up the win.
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