Clutch, two-out hitting propelled No. 6 Ole Miss to another Southeastern Conference victory on Thursday evening. The Rebels (37-13, 15-10 SEC) went 6-for-11 and scored all of their runs with two outs to defeat Kentucky (29-21, 13-12 SEC), 3-1.
The win over the Wildcats gave Ole Miss its ninth win in the last 10 SEC games at Swayze Field. Along with its two-out hitting, the Rebels kept UK hitless with runners in scoring position (0-for-11).
Tate Blackman, Colby Bortles Henri Lartigue and Errol Robinson all tallied two hits apiece on the night. Robinson increased his hitting streak to 15 games, while sophomore Will Golsan hit his first career triple and also scored one of the three Rebel runs.
Right-handed pitcher Brady Bramlett (7-2) earned the win after allowing just one run on seven hits and striking out seven over 5.1 innings. Brady Feigl, Will Stokes and Wyatt Short (10) combined to toss 3.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Feigl got the Rebels out of a jam in the sixth, Stokes pitched two scoreless frames, and Short locked up his 10th save of the season and 23rd of his career.
"Our pitchers made some big pitches in certain innings to get off the field," said head coach Mike Bianco. "Brady (Bramlett) was terrific and looked like his normal self. He's been taking a lot of criticism lately; however he's out here winning games. For Feigl to come in with first and second with one out as a freshman and get out without a run was terrific. That set it up for Stokes and Short to close it out."
The Rebels' defense was a key as well, posting their fourth consecutive game without making an error.
"Another errorless game, and our fielding percentage has really gone up lately. We fielded more like we're capable of doing," noted Bianco.
Kentucky's starting pitcher Zack Brown (2-10) suffered the loss, giving up two runs on nine hits and not receiving much run support. Evan White and Luke Becker led the way offensively for the Wildcats as they combined to record six of the nine Kentucky hits with a pair of three-hit nights.
Leading off the game, White sent a double to left field to put Bramlett in some early trouble. However, the Ole Miss ace settled in and struck out the next three batters to prevent a threat.
Nothing was going for the Rebels in the first inning, but in the bottom of the second Ole Miss put the first run of the game on the board. Lartigue and Bortles hit consecutive one-out singles to put the two Rebels on first and second. After an out, Holt Perdzock stepped up to the dish on his senior weekend and sent a two-out single center field, plating Lartigue.
The very next inning, the Wildcats answered with a run of their own. Kentucky center fielder Tristan Pompey sent a solo shot to right-center to tie the game at 1-1.
Ole Miss fought back in the bottom of the fourth with more clutch hitting. Golsan raked a triple to right-center field with one out. After a fly ball put two outs on the board, Cameron Dishon singled to shortstop and sent Golsan across the dish. The Rebels re-claimed the lead 2-1.
Feigl entered the game in the sixth inning with runners on first and second for Kentucky. The redshirt-freshman forced the Wildcats into a ground out before getting a strikeout to end the sixth. The strikeout proved to be a big play in the game. On the dropped strike three, Lartigue threw down to first to complete the play, but the ball hit the runner and squirted into right field. It appeared that two runs would score, but the UK batter was called for interference running down the base line. The correct call kept Ole Miss ahead by one.
For the third time of the night, a two-out hit helped increase the Ole Miss lead. Blackman started the seventh with a double to left-center field. The next two batters were outs for the Rebels, but that didn't stop Bortles as he ripped an RBI single up the middle to plate Blackman and secure a 3-1 lead for Ole Miss.
Stokes and Short combined to finish the game for the Rebels without allowing another Kentucky run to score and sealing the 3-1 victory over the Wildcats.
Ole Miss and Kentucky are back in action at Swayze Field for game two on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. CT. Prior to the game, Ole Miss will honor four seniors (Connor Cloyd, Matt Denny, Cameron Dishon and Holt Perdzock) who are playing their final regular season series at Swayze Field. Senior Night festivities will begin at approximately 6:15 p.m.