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Ole Miss nips USM with odd finish

By Brandon Shields
The Biloxi Sun Herald

PEARL ­— Baseball has had some odd endings.

There was one Tuesday at Trustmark Park as freshman Jason Barber — a pitcher — scored on a wild pitch during an intentional walk to lift Ole Miss past No. 17 Southern Miss 6-5 in 12 innings.

The two teams will meet again in a midweek series next week in Hattiesburg.

With all the position players used up, Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco had to use a pitcher in the designated hitter spot and chose Barber, a former two-way standout at Oxford High.

With two outs in the 12th, Barber was hit by a pitch in the shoulder. He advanced to second on a passed ball, moved to third on a single by Ryan Olenek and then scored on a wild pitch by Southern Miss pitcher Austin Millet, who was trying to intentionally walk Will Golsan.

“(Our) third base coach just said get a walking lead and if the ball gets by you only have to beat the pitcher and that happened,” Barber said. “I got to pinch run a couple of weeks ago, but didn’t expect to get up to the plate and swing it. That was my first at-bat since high school.”

In the bottom of the ninth inning Ole Miss’ Carson Klepzig scored the tying run on a wild pitch to send the game to extra innings.

“I’ve seen games end a lot of different ways and those like that are rare with a pitcher getting a hit by pitch and then scoring the winning run on a wild pitch,” Bianco said. “But we will take however they come now.”

Olenek had three hits to lead Ole Miss (17-12), which was coming off of being swept by rival Mississippi State last weekend.

Dallas Woolfolk (2-1) got the win on the mound in relief.

The Rebels scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to cut it to 5-4.

“We haven’t had our breaks and things go our way and tonight we got them,” Bianco said. “Hopefully this is what we need to get things going heading into another SEC series this weekend.”

Ole Miss starter and former St. Stanislaus star Greer Holston got the no-decision. He lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up four hits, four earned runs and three walks. He also struck out three.

“Baseball is a weird sport and endings happen like that and this was a good team win for us,” Holston said. “I struggled a lot and didn’t make the one pitch that would get me out of the inning. I need to be more competitive and that’s something I need to work on for the future.”

Millet (0-2) took the loss for Southern Miss.

Dylan Burdeaux had four hits to lead the Golden Eagles (24-6), who saw their six game winning streak come to an end. Southern Miss had also won 15 of its previous 16 games before Tuesday’s loss.

“We didn’t finish like we should’ve,” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. “Ole Miss is a good young club and they scrapped them a win tonight.”

FIU 8, Mississippi State 3

Kenny Meimerstorf went 3-for-3 with a home run, Nick Day was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs, and Florida International (17-11) beat Mississippi State (19-11) in the opener of a two-game midweek series in Starkville.

Brent Rooker hit a two-run home run in the first inning for Mississippi State, but Day’s two-run shot in the second inning tied it. J.C. Escarra gave FIU the lead for good with an RBI single in the fifth inning. The Panthers added four runs in the seventh inning to break it open.

Mississippi State had its seven-game winning streak snapped. It will play FIU again Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Dudy Noble Field.