Ole Miss pushes past Tide with late surge

Published 11:25 am Monday, March 26, 2012

This time, it was Ole Miss’ turn for some late-inning heroics.

Zach Kirksey’s sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth inning brought in two runs and keyed a four-run inning, as the Rebels rallied to beat Alabama 8-4 on Sunday.

The win gave Ole Miss (17-7, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) the series victory, marking the first time it has won a series in Tuscaloosa since 2004. The Rebels won Friday’s opener, then lost Saturday on a walk-off homer by Alabama’s Brett Booth.

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“It was a really good game and series with a lot of emotion from both teams. I’m proud of our guys and the way we hung in there today,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said.

Jared Reaves went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs with a single in the fifth inning to give Alabama a 4-2 lead. That score stuck until the Rebels put together their rally in the eighth.

Four straight hits brought in one run and loaded the bases for Kirksey, who belted a fly ball to the wall in left field. It was deep enough for Will Jamison to score easily from third, and Auston Bousfield never slowed down after tagging at second base. He zipped past third and slid in ahead of the tag at home plate to give the Rebels a 5-4 lead.

“I’ve seen it before, but not often,” Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard said of the rare two-run sacrifice fly. “I kind of figured on the ball right there, they had a pretty good runner at second base. With the way Taylor (Dugas) caught the ball running backward, it was going to be a tough play for us. That really was the one that kind of got their momentum going and kind of broke our back.”

Preston Overbey also advanced two bases on Kirksey’s fly out, going from first to third, and scored on Blake Newalu’s single to make it 6-4.

Ole Miss added two more runs in the ninth on a home run by Matt Snyder.

Snyder finished the game 2-for-5 with two RBIs. He also doubled to start the eighth inning rally, and scored on an infield single by Bousfield.

Reliever Dylan Chavez (3-0) pitched the last 21⁄3 innings to get the win. He didn’t allow a base runner and had two strikeouts.