BLOG: It’s a perfect day in Oxford, Miss., the site of today’s Game 3 between the Ole Miss Rebels (26-21 overall, 10-13 SEC) and the Southeastern Conference leading South Carolina Gamecocks (37-9, 18-5).
The victory keeps Ole Miss in a tie with Mississippi State — and one game up on LSU — for the magical eighth spot in the overall SEC standings.
OTHER SCORES FROM SATURDAY:
Alabama 4, LSU 0
Florida 5, Arkansas 3
Auburn 3, Georgia 0
Vanderbilt 10, Kentucky 3
Mississippi State 5, Tennessee 3
TODAY’S GAMES AROUND THE SEC:
Vanderbilt at Kentucky, noon
LSU at Alabama, 1 p.m.
Georgia at Auburn, 1 p.m.
Mississippi State at Tennessee, 1 p.m. (SportSouth)
TAKING THE MOUND: South Carolina will send talented freshman right-hander Forrest Koumas to the mound. Koumas is 5-0 on the year with a 2.93 ERA. In 46.0 innings, Koumas has struck out 40 and walked just 15. Opponents are hitting just .212 off of Koumas.
Koumas picked up the win last Sunday against Auburn, a 7-3 decision. In the game, Koumas surrendered two runs on four hits and two walks in 5.0 innings while also striking out three.
Usual Sunday starter Austin Wright will take the mound for Ole Miss. Wright is coming off of perhaps his roughest outing as a Rebel. The junior left-hander surrendered four runs on five hits in just 2.2 innings in Ole Miss’ 7-2 loss at Florida. Wright is 4-4 on the season with a 4.79 ERA. In 56.1 innings, Wright has struck out 51 and walked 20. Opponents are hitting .298 off of the former Chipola (Fla.) standout.
Ole Miss (26-21 overall, 10-13 SEC)
CF Tanner Mathis .247 BA
SS Blake Newalu .301
2B Alex Yarbrough .339
DH Matt Snyder .265
RF Matt Tracy .288
1B Will Allen .258
C Miles Hamblin .267
LF Zach Kirksey .208
3B Austin Anderson .246
LHP Austin Wright (4-4, 4.79)
South Carolina (37-9, 18-5)
SS Peter Mooney .275
2B Scott Wingo .320
1B Christian Walker .382
DH Brady Thomas .320
RF Jake Williams .278
3B Adrian Morales .286
CF Evan Marzilli .293
C Robert Beary .291
LF Steven Neff .125
RHP Forrest Koumas (5-0, 2.93)
Ole Miss 2, South Carolina 0 (BOTTOM 1): Matt Tracy‘s single up the middle scored Blake Newalu easily from second, and a misplay by center fielder Evan Marzilli allowed Alex Yarbrough to score all the way from first.
Ole Miss 3, South Carolina 0 (BOTTOM 3): After starter Forrest Koumas loaded the bases (HBP, BB, H), left-handed relief pitcher Adam Westmoreland walked Miles Hamblin, scoring Newalu.
Ole Miss 3, South Carolina 2 (TOP 4): South Carolina struck back in the fourth, scoring two runs on a triple by Jake Williams and a single by Adrian Morales.
South Carolina 5, Ole Miss 3 (TOP 5): After getting two outs at third base, relief pitcher Bobby Wahl surrendered a triple to USC catcher Brady Thomas that scored Scott Wingo and Christian Walker. Morales’ single up the middle tacked on another run for the Gamecocks.
Ole Miss 5, South Carolina 5 (BOTTOM 5): Ole Miss responded in the bottom of the frame courtesy of a two-run homer by Matt Snyder that landed in the Ole Miss bullpen. The homer scored Yarbrough, who led off the frame with a walk.
Ole Miss 6, South Carolina 5 (BOTTOM 6): Newalu scores to put Ole Miss back ahead on a double to left-center by Yarbrough. Newalu had reached base via a fielder’s choice, and took second on a poor pickoff attempt by relief pitcher John Taylor.
Ole Miss 6, South Carolina 6 (TOP 7): A hard hit ball by Marzilli skipped off of Newalu’s glove and allowed Morales to score from second to tie the game.
Ole Miss 7, South Carolina 6 (BOTTOM 9): USC closer Matt Price issued a walk to Tracy. After pitching around a bunt attempt from pinch hitter Gabe Woods that resulted in a strikeout, catcher Miles Hamblin hit a single through the right side that advanced Tracy to third. Left fielder Preston Overbey then sent the first pitch he saw from Price deep enough to center field that Tracy was able to tag and score.
“It was a slider that was supposed to be away but I left it just a little bit over the plate,” Price said. “He had a good swing on it. He is a good hitter and just went with it.”
Morgan earned the win for the Rebels, pitching 2.1 scoreless innings in relief of Austin Wright and Bobby Wahl.
The series loss marks the first time since the regular season finale of 2010 that USC has lost a three-game set.
HERE is what Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco had to say after the game:
(May 8, 2011)