Rebels stay alive

Published 10:00am Friday, May 23, 2014

Ole Miss faces Arkansas today at 3

After struggling through a game and a half, Ole Miss found its swing in time to settle in and stay a while in Hoover.

The Rebels blew open a close game by scoring four runs in the seventh inning Thursday, and went on to beat Vanderbilt 7-2 in an elimination game at the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Hoover, Ala.

Austin Anderson went 2-for-4 with two RBIs for the Rebels (41-17), and Auston Bousfield was 2-for-5 with a double, RBI and a run scored.

Ole Miss also took advantage of eight walks issued by four Vanderbilt pitchers.

“We executed a lot better today,” Anderson said. “Yesterday we had some opportunities, kind of shot ourselves in the foot. Today we executed. We were aggressive. We made (Vandy pitcher Tyler Beede) work. As you could see that in the game, he started falling behind and giving us free bases.”

Ole Miss, which lost its tournament opener, will face Arkansas today at 3 p.m. as it tries to fight its way out of the losers’ bracket and into Saturday’s single-elimination semifinals.

Sixth-seeded Vanderbilt (41-18) was eliminated from the tournament. It was outscored 18-3 in back-to-back losses to LSU and Ole Miss.

“Obviously, anytime you win this time of year it’s pretty awesome,” Ole Miss assistant coach Cliff Godwin said. “We played well today against one of the best pitchers in the nation.”

Ole Miss starting pitcher Jeremy Massie allowed one run in 4 1/3 innings, but left with a no-decision. Middle reliever Aaron Greenwood (2-1) followed with two 2 2/3 effective innings, and Josh Laxer threw two scoreless to finish it up.

Beede (7-7) lasted six-plus innings, but did himself no favors. He retired the first seven batters he faced, then walked five and gave up three hits and four runs before exiting in the top of the seventh inning. He needed 103 pitches to get through his outing.

“Certainly too many free bases, too many walks, not striking guys out certainly cost us in the innings that they scored,” Beede said. “There were cases where I was just too erratic. My misses were just spraying everywhere so when I was throwing pitches that were borderline strikes I just didn’t earn them.”

Vandy scored first, on Vince Conde’s RBI single in the bottom of the first inning. Braxton Lee tied it for Ole Miss with a sacrifice fly in the third, and the Rebels took the lead for good on a sac fly by Sikes Orvis in the sixth.

Ole Miss then put the game out of reach in the seventh inning. Bousfield singled with the bases loaded to bring in a run, and Anderson followed with another base hit that scored two to make it 5-1.

Anderson got caught in a rundown on the play, giving Bousfield time to score from third for a 6-1 lead.

Vanderbilt got a run back in the bottom of the seventh, but Ole Miss tacked on an insurance run on Will Allen’s sacrifice fly in the ninth.

LSU 7, Arkansas 2

Junior right-hander Aaron Nola allowed two runs and struck out seven batters in 7 1/3 innings, and LSU (42-14-1) beat Arkansas (37-22) to advance to the SEC Tournament semifinals.

Arkansas will play Ole Miss in an elimination game today.

LSU has won six straight games. Thursday’s win was the first time in that streak that it failed to score in double digits, but it still had more than enough offense to beat the Razorbacks.

The Tigers totaled 12 hits, with Tyler Moore going 3-for-4 and Mark Laird and Alex Bregman getting two apiece.

Moore had an RBI double in the sixth inning and hit a solo home run in the second that cleared the bullpen in right field.

SEC Tournament

Thursday

Ole Miss 7, Vanderbilt 2

Florida 7, South Carolina 2

LSU 7, Arkansas 2

Kentucky 7, Mississippi State 6

Friday

Ole Miss vs. Arkansas, 3 p.m. (TV: CSS; Radio: 1490 AM)

Florida vs. Mississippi State, 7 p.m. (TV: CSS; Radio: 105.5 FM)

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