Preston Overbey’s RBI sacrifice fly to center field scored Matt Tracy with the winning run as Ole Miss defeated top ranked South Carolina 7-6 in a back and forth affair on Sunday afternoon at Swayze Field in the rubber game of a three-game SEC baseballs series. The series loss is the first time this year that the Gamecocks have lost a three-game series. South Carolina is now 37-10 and 18-6 in the SEC with Ole Miss 27-21 and 11-13 in league play.
The game saw both teams trade leads before Ole Miss won it in the ninth inning. After a leadoff walk by Matt Tracy, the Rebels put runners on the corners on a one-out single by Miles Hamblin. That set the stage for Overbey, who drove the first pitch he saw from Gamecock reliever Matt Price into center field for a game-winning sacrifice fly clinching the game for Ole Miss.
Ole Miss reliever Jake Morgan earned the win and is 3-0 on the year. He allowed no runs on two hits in 2.1 innings. Price suffered the loss and is now 4-3 on the year. It was only the third game this season he has allowed a run. He allowed one run on two hits with a strikeout and two walks in three innings of work.
Ole Miss took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Blake Newalu walked with one out and advanced to third on a base hit by Alex Yarbrough. With two outs and runners still on the corners, Matt Tracy Laced a RBI base hit to right-center. On the play, Yarbrough would score from first base as center fielder Evan Marzilli misplayed the ball when fielding it as the Rebels went ahead by a pair of runs.
Ole Miss increased the lead to 3-0 in the third inning. Newalu was hit by a pitch, Yarbrough walked and Matt Snyder singled to load the bases with no outs for the Rebels. Carolina would catch a break then as a base hit by Matt Tracy clipped Snyder as he was running from first base for an automatic out that sent the runners on second and third back to their original base. Gamecock starter Forrest Koumas would then strike out Will Allen for the second out of the frame. With the bags still full, left-hander Adam Westmoreland relieved Koumas to face Miles Hamblin. Hamblin would eventually walk to score Newalu and giving Ole Miss a three-run lead. Westmoreland limited the damage though as he coaxed Zach Kirksey into a ground out that ended the inning.
Carolina struck back in the top of the fourth with a pair of runs to cut the deficit to 3-2. Brady Thomas walked with one out and scored on Jake Williams triple to left-center. Williams’ triple was his fifth of the season. He is one short of the school record of six set by Brian Buscher in 2002. He would eventually score on Adrian Morales’ RBI base hit to left field that brought the Gamecocks within a run.
South Carolina took the lead in the top of the fifth inning with three more runs to go ahead 5-3. Steven Neff led off with a double off the right field wall, his second double of the game. With runners on first and second and two outs, Brady Thomas roped a 1-2 pitch from Ole Miss reliever Bobby Wahl to right field scoring Neff and Christian Walker and giving the Gamecocks a one-run lead. Adrian Morales added a two-out RBI single to score Thomas.
Ole Miss answered in the bottom half of the fifth to tie the game at 5-5. After Yarbrough walked to lead off the inning, Matt Snyder knocked his sixth home run of the season to left field that tied the game.
The Rebels broke the 5-5 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning. With two outs and Blake Newalu on first base, Ole Miss got the runner in scoring position as a failed pickoff attempt by John Taylor advanced the runner 90 feet. Tanner Mathis roped a RBI double to the gap in left-center scoring Newalu and giving the Rebels a one-run lead.
South Carolina responded and tied the game at 6-6 in the top of the seventh inning. With two outs, Adrian Morales stole second base to give the Gamecocks a runner in scoring position. Evan Marzilli had a tough at-bat and battled to a full count before drilling a hard grounder that shortstop Blake Newalu could not handle. Morales advanced home and the game was tied.
South Carolina out-hit Ole Miss 11-9 in the game. Thomas, Morales, Robert Beary and Neff had two hits apiece with Thomas and Morales each driving in two runs. Yarbrough, Snyder and Tracy had two hits apiece to lead Ole Miss at the plate.
South Carolina begins a six-game homestand on Tuesday night hosting Presbyterian at Carolina Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.