The Rebels fought back to take a lead in the seventh, but miscues in the eighth inning proved to be too much to overcome as No. 11 Ole Miss (40-16, 19-11 SEC) fell to Texas A&M (33-23, 14-16 SEC) by a score of 9-6 Saturday in the series finale.
The Rebels claimed the SEC Western Division and the overall No. 2 seed in the upcoming SEC Tournament with a series win over the Aggies by claiming the first two games of the series.
With a 6-5 lead in the eighth, the Rebels dug a hole with the errors and miscues as Texas A&M rallied to take the lead and held on for the win.
Jeremy Massie (4-3) suffered the loss, allowing three runs – one earned – on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts in 3.0 innings of work.
A.J. Minter (2-0) picked up the win in relief, working the final 2.0 innings while allowing one hit with a walk and a strikeout to pick up the win.
“That was uncharacteristic of us today,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “You have to credit Texas A&M for keeping the pressure on us, though. You can’t win in this league if you’re going to make four errors in a game, especially if the other team isn’t going to make errors.
“If you aren’t going to play defense, then you have to be flawless on the mound and we weren’t today,” Bianco said. “It’s disappointing because we had a shot to win it with the lead there in the eighth and six outs to go. The game just unraveled for us.”
Ole Miss got on the board first when Will Jamison delivered a two-out triple down the right field line to bring Will Allen home from second. Allen reached on a single to open the inning and then moved to second on a groundout deep to second from J.B. Woodman to set up the score on the Jamison hit.
Texas A&M answered in the bottom half of the inning, getting a ground-rule double that bounced over the wall from Nick Banks to start the frame. He then took third on a groundout to second from Troy Stein before coming home on a two-out double down the left field line from Krey Bratsen to knot the game at 1-1.
The Aggies moved in front in the third. With men at the corners and two outs, Troy Stein laced a single through the left side to score Cole Lankford from third. Lankford reached with a single and took second on a single from Logan Nottebrok. A fielder’s choice to third from Nick Banks moved Lankford to third to set up the score on the Stein hit that gave Texas A&M a 2-1 lead.
The lead grew in the fourth inning as a pair of errors kept the inning alive and allowed the Aggies to move out in front 3-1. A fielding error at short with one out put Bratsen on base before a single to center moved him to second. A double steal put both runners in scoring position and brought Jace Statum to the plate. Statum hit a ground ball to first, but the ball was dropped at first on the toss to the pitcher, allowing him to reach as Bratsen came home.
Texas A&M added to the lead in the fifth, scoring for the third consecutive inning to move in front 5-1. With one out on the board, back-to-back singles from Stein and Allemand put men at the corners and sent Ole Miss to the bullpen for reliever Jeremy Massie.
A squeeze bunt down the first base line brought Stein home and moved Allemand to second. Bratsen then doubled down the right field line to bring Allemand home and give the Aggies the four-run lead.
Ole Miss struck back in the sixth, starting a rally with a double from Errol Robinson and a bunt single from Lee to put men at the corners. A sac fly from Auston Bousfield advanced both runners and Austin Anderson drove in Lee with a double down the right field line to cut the lead to 5-3.
The Rebels continued to work as Sikes Orvis was intentionally walked following a pop up to second from Allen that put two outs on the board. Woodman came up with his second triple of the series, driving a ball to the wall in center field that brought home both runners and tied the game at 5-5.
Texas A&M had seen enough and turned to the bullpen for left-hander Matt Kent to try to get out of the inning. Kent got a groundout to end the inning, but the Rebels had answered with the four-run inning to tie the game.
Ole Miss moved back in front in the seventh with an RBI groundout to third from Bousfield. A leadoff single from Overbey and a sac bunt from Robinson put a man in scoring position to get things started. Lee then delivered an infield single to second, moving Overbey to third and setting up the score on the Bousfield ball to deep right that put the Rebels on top 6-5.
The Aggies capitalized on miscues in the eighth to tie the game. A walk and a single to center started things off, but a throwing error on the single to third put both runners in scoring position. The Rebels got the first out on a fielder’s choice to short as Robinson threw home for the out and left two men in scoring position. Ole Miss elected to intentionally walk Lankford with two outs to set up the double play, but a wild pitch on the fourth ball allowed the base runners to advance and Texas A&M to tie the game.
With men at the corner and one out, Ole Miss turned to the bullpen for right-hander Josh Laxer.
The Rebels got a ground ball to third, but the throw on sailed into right field, allowing the go-ahead run to score and putting two men in scoring position again. An intentional walk of Banks loaded the bases to set up a double play, but another walk brought a third run home and gave the Aggies the 8-6 lead while leaving the bases loaded.
A sac fly brought a fourth run home in the inning before the Rebels would get out of the inning down 9-6 to the Aggies.
Ole Miss had a chance to rally in the ninth, putting the first two batters on with a walk and a double, but Texas A&M responded with three straight outs to keep the Rebels from putting together a second rally on the afternoon and grabbed the win.
The Rebels will return to action on Wednesday afternoon, taking the field as the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament in the second game of the day at the annual event.
–Bill Bunting, Ole Miss Sports Information
Video of coach Mike Bianco
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