By Adam Brown
No. 15 Ole Miss pulled a 4-3 victory over in-state rival Southern Mississippi with a two-run home run by Hayden Leatherwood in the bottom of the eighth on Tuesday.
Leatherwood stepped up to the plate in a pinch-hit role for Tim Elko and sent his second home run of the season over the wall in right field. It was Ole Miss’ 17th long ball of the season.
“As a child, I have always wanted to be here,” Leatherwood said. “Now I am hitting a couple of home runs and making an impact on the team. Its indescribable.”
The Rebels and the Eagles battled back and fourth for eight of the nine innings with each team taking the lead.
Ole Miss (7-1) jumped out to an early advantage in the third as they put two runs on the score board off the bats of Peyton Chatagnier (double) and a single by Tyler Keenan. Keenan finished the game going 2-for-4 with an RBI.
“It was not a great night for us offensively,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “We were able to minimize on the field with not too much damage. Then offensively we were able to max it out.”
Ole Miss’ starter Wes Burton received a no-decision as he worked 1.2 innings. He surrendered no runs on a hit allowed, a free pass and a strikeout.
Bianco used a total of six pitchers in the game to secure the win – Burton, Taylor Broadway (2.1), Jackson Kimbrell (1.0), Austin Miller (2.0), Max Cioffi (1.0) and Braden Forsyth (1.0). Miller picked up his second win and Forsyth picked up his second save on the season.
Southern Miss (6-2) scratched across a single run in the middle innings (fifth, sixth and seven) as they singled, walked and homered.
The Golden Eagles took their first lead in the top of the seventh off the bat of Will McGillis as he smashed a ball into the visitor’s bullpen.
All of Ole Miss’ four runs came on five hits in the contest.
The Rebels return to action on Friday as they travel to Greenville, N.C. to take part in the Keith Leclair Classic. Ole Miss will take the diamond against High Point (Friday), East Carolina (Saturday) and Indiana (Sunday).
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