HOOVER, Ala. — Jeremy Massie kept Ole Miss close. The Rebels’ offense did the rest.
No. 10 Ole Miss broke through for five runs in the late innings to stay alive in the Southeastern Conference Tournament with a 7-2 win over No. 19 Vanderbilt Thursday afternoon at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. The Rebels (41-17) will play either LSU or Arkansas in another elimination game on Friday at 3 p.m.
“Obviously any time you win this time of the year, it’s awesome,” Ole Miss assistant coach Cliff Godwin said. “We had some quality at-bats. We executed with runners at third base and less than two outs today unlike yesterday, and I thought that was the difference in the game.”
Massie and Vanderbilt ace Tyler Beede were locked in a 1-1 duel through five innings before Ole Miss pushed ahead in the sixth on Sikes Orvis’ sac fly to center. The Rebels created their separation in the seventh.
Ole Miss used a walk, a hit batter and a pair of hits to plate four runs in the frame. Auston Bousfield’s RBI single — his first hit of the tournament — extended the lead before Austin Anderson sent a two-run single back through the box to make it 5-1. Anderson stayed in a rundown long enough for Bousfield to scamper home for Ole Miss’ sixth run.
Will Allen delivered a sac fly to right in the ninth to provide some insurance for the Rebels, who scored two runs on sac flies and finished 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position after mustering just one hit in 10 at-bats with runners on in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Arkansas.
“Yesterday we had some opportunities and kind of shot ourselves in the foot,” Anderson said. “Today we executed, we were aggressive and made (Beede) work.”
Aaron Greenwood (2-1) pitched 2.2 innings of one-run relief with three punchouts to get the win. Josh Laxer came on in the eighth and hurled two scoreless frames to help the Rebels avoid their first two-and-out appearance at the tournament since 2009.
The late surge was made possible by a strong outing from Massie, who scattered four hits and struck out three in his first start since April 22. The southpaw allowed the Commodores’ lone run in the first before following with 3.1 shutout innings, stranding a runner at second in the third and fourth frames before giving way to Greenwood with one out in the fifth.
Ole Miss had just seven hits but took advantage of 10 free baserunners by way of a walk or hit batsman. Beede (7-7), a projected first-round pick in this summer’s MLB Draft, sat in the mid-90s with his fastball and topped out at 97 but struggled to harness that velocity, issuing five free passes and plunking two batters while allowing three earned runs over six innings in the loss.
Four of the Rebels’ hits came against relievers Brian Miller, Ben Bowden and Adam Ravenelle in the final three innings. Bousfield went 2-for-5 with a double while Anderson finished 2-for-4. Braxton Lee drove in a run in the third.
See Friday’s edition of the EAGLE for complete coverage from Thursday’s game. (May 22, 2014)