Wildcats power past Rebs in series finale

Published 11:25 am Monday, April 9, 2012

Ole Miss will have to settle for one series victory over a top-ranked team.

Cameron Flynn hit a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning to give Kentucky the lead for good, and it went on to beat Ole Miss 8-3 in their series finale Sunday.

Kentucky took two out of three games, denying the Rebels (21-10, 6-6 Southeastern Conference) their second straight series win over a team ranked No. 1 in the country. Ole Miss took two of three from Florida last week.

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On Sunday, the Rebels outhit Kentucky 11-8 but couldn’t get the timely hits needed to turn that advantage into runs. They left eight men on base, hit into two double plays and had a runner thrown out trying to steal third.

“Today was similar to Friday in that we were unable to get the big hit. Kentucky did that this weekend, that’s why they’re so good,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said.

Ole Miss led 2-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth, and that’s when Kentucky (30-3, 9-3) made its move. The Wildcats loaded the bases before tying the game on Luke Maile’s infield single. Flynn followed with his eighth home run of the season, a shot over the right field fence off R.J. Hively, to give the Cats a 6-2 lead.

“It sounds kind of goofy, but I was real confident after they went up 2-1 because it should’ve been worse,” Kentucky coach Gary Henderson said. “Sometimes the baseball gods are looking after you, and they don’t always do that. I really felt that was their opportunity to put some distance and when we still had four at-bats and were only chasing one (run), I felt pretty good.”

Ole Miss got a run back in the top of the seventh, on an RBI groundout by Matt Snyder, but never regained the lead. Reliever Alex Phillips retired the side in order in the eighth and ninth innings to close out a milestone victory for Kentucky. It’s the fastest any Kentucky team has ever reached 30 wins, and the 9-3 record in SEC play is the program’s best start in 79 years in the league.

“I think the fact we won another Sunday game speaks to how tough we are. You don’t take that for granted,” Henderson said.

Corey Littrell (5-0) got the win for Kentucky. He pitched six innings and allowed two runs and two walks. Maile hit his ninth homer of the season, a solo shot in the second inning that barely cleared the left field wall.

Andrew Mistone went 3-for-4 with an RBI for Ole Miss, Snyder drove in two runs and Tanner Mathis was 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored.