Ole Miss

Ole Miss knocks around Vandy's projected 1st rounder in win

Brynn Anderson/Associated PRessMississippi's J.B. Woodman looks up at the ball after he hit a solo home run during the third inning against Vanderbilt in a Southeastern Conference NCAA college baseball tournament game at the Hoover Met, Thursday, in Hoover, Ala.
Brynn Anderson/Associated PRessMississippi's J.B. Woodman looks up at the ball after he hit a solo home run during the third inning against Vanderbilt in a Southeastern Conference NCAA college baseball tournament game at the Hoover Met, Thursday, in Hoover, Ala. AP

HOOVER, Ala. -- The pitching matchup of Ole Miss freshman James McArthur against a projected first-round draft pick did not seem to favor the Rebels.

But Ole Miss continued its strong play on offense, and the No. 7-seeded Rebels turned back No. 6 seed Vanderbilt 12-9 to advance in the SEC tournament winner's bracket Thursday at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.

The Rebels posted nine runs with six hits and three walks against Vanderbilt right-hander Jordan Sheffield, rated No. 23 on Baseball America's list of the top 100 MLB draft prospects.

Ole Miss (43-16) had seven hits against three more Vanderbilt (43-16) pitchers and has now won three SEC tournament games for the first time since 2008.

The Rebels have scored 27 runs in three games and earned a bye Friday. They will face the Texas A&M-Vanderbilt winner Saturday at noon when the tournament returns to a single-elimination format.

Vanderbilt committed two errors, one of them on a potential inning-ending double play in the fifth. When the Commodores recorded no out, the next man up, Colby Bortles, doubled in three runs.

Bortles also had an RBI double in the second and drove in four runs for the game. Catcher Henri Lartigue was 3-for-5, and J.B. Woodman had a solo home run.

"We're seeing the ball really well and swinging with a lot of confidence," Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. "It's not just from a few guys, but when you're middle of the lineup guys are swinging like Henri, J.B., Bortles and even Tate (Blackman) you're going to score runs."

Ole Miss had a 10-0 lead before Vanderbilt got on the board in a four-run sixth inning.

McArthur went 5 1-3 innings, his longest start since going seven innings at Memphis on April 19.

The game did not end as the rout that it began as Ole Miss relievers struggled to throw strikes. Pitchers Connor Green, Andy Pagnozzi and Brady Feigl combined for five walks and two hit batters.

The combination of the Rebels' offense and a few interesting mistakes by the Commodores made a comeback seem unlikely even as the game extended. One Vanderbilt miscue allowed a run to score in the fifth when relief pitcher Ryan Johnson set out to intentionally walk Woodman but threw it over his catcher's head and to the backstop.

Ultimately, closer Wyatt Short got the final out.

"We played like crap in the sixth inning. We let a strikeout get to the backstop, should have caught a fly ball, should have turned a double-play. There's four right there. We try to walk a guy, and we throw it in the crapper behind the catcher," Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said. "We didn't get the start we needed to win a ballgame like this."

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