Ninth-inning rally stuns Ole Miss|[06/10/07]

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 10, 2007

TEMPE, Ariz. – Depending on your point of view, Ole Miss’ habit of playing close ballgames this season has been either thrilling or terrifying.

On Saturday, it became downright depressing.

Arizona State rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth, the last coming across on Brett Wallace’s two-out, RBI single, to steal a 4-3 win in Game 1 of their NCAA Super Regional. Game 2 in the best-of-three series is tonight at 6 on ESPN2.

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Saturday’s game was the Rebels’ 22nd this season that has been decided by one run. They are 8-14 in those games. And, like most of those other losses, a late meltdown sent them to defeat.

Will Kline (7-3) threw eight strong innings before Arizona State (47-13) got to him in the ninth. Kline allowed four runs on 11 hits, with two walks and seven strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings, but couldn’t get the final out that would have put the Rebels (40-24) ahead in the series.

Arizona State used four hits, including a sacrifice fly by Jason Jarvis to tie the game in the ninth, before Wallace’s single up the middle to drive in the game-winning run. Wallace was 0-for-4 on the night before coming up with the game-winning hit.

The timely hit was something Ole Miss struggled to find all night. The Rebels left 10 runners on base and hit into three rally-killing double plays. That prevented them from extending a one-run lead they held early, and a 3-0 lead they took when Zack Cozart singled in two runs in the seventh.

Cozart led the Rebels at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs while former Vicksburg High star Jordan Henry went 3-for-5 with a run scored and Zach Miller was 2-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI.

Arizona State’s Brian Flores (11-1) picked up the win in relief, holding the Rebels hitless with one walk and four strikeouts in the final two innings. Starter Mike Leake worked seven innings, allowing three runs on 13 hits with no walks and five strikeouts before leaving the game in favor of Flores.

Eric Sogard homered with one out in the eighth to get the Sun Devils on the board and cut the Rebel lead to 3-1.