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Allen, Orvis Lift Rebels Past TCU

OMAHA, Neb. -- Will Allen and Sikes Orvis, previously hitless in Omaha, led the hit parade with three hits each, as Ole Miss avoided elimination and advanced to play Virginia in a rematch on Friday at 7 p.m.

After going 6-for-57 and scoring just three runs through its first two games at the College World Series, the Ole Miss exploded, relatively speaking for TD Ameritrade Park, for six runs on 11 hits. 

The six runs matched Vanderbilt's six runs from it's 6-4 win over UC Irvine on Monday and the 11 hits matched Vanderbilt's 11 hits, also from it's win over UC Irvine, and Virginia's 11 hits from it's 3-2 win over TCU on Tuesday

"We had some better at-bats today, and it shows you when the wind is not blowing in 20 miles an hour," head coach Mike Bianco said. "It's a little different here. But we were able to barrel some balls up and get some hits."

"We knew coming into this game that we couldn't win a ball game scoring one or two runs," Orvis said. "We knew we had to come out as an offense and swing the bat early and get some pressure off our pitching staff and put some runs on the board. Once we get this offense going, we can be pretty good and pretty scary."

After a couple of one-spots against Virginia and Texas, Ole Miss put together the big inning with three runs in the third, which started with a double from J.B. Woodman and also included an RBI single from Braxton Lee and Allen's two-RBI double.

"To come out and put a crooked spot up, it's crucial no matter what, especially with the offense being kind of stagnant the past couple of games," Orvis said. "It was awesome to get the monkey off the back early and get going." 

Allen gave the Rebels the lead for good, 5-4, with an RBI single to center in the seventh, his third RBI of the game after knocking in a pair of runs with a double to right-center in the third. 

TCU with the game-tying and game-winning runs in scoring position with two outs in the eighth, but Aaron Greenwood got a chopper to shortstop, which Errol Robinson charged and threw to first for the last out of the inning.

"He really attacked and was super aggressive going after it," Bianco said. "As soon as the ball was hit, I looked up at him and he was flying across the infield. It was a great play, and he was dripping with a lot of confidence as he ran off the field."

"I knew he was a burner at the plate, so it was about going and getting it and cutting down the hops," Robinson said. "It was fairly routine. You're a shortstop and you're supposed to make those plays. It was a crucial play late in the game that you need, so it was a big play in the game."

Allen and Orvis combined to add an insurance run in the ninth with a two-out single from Allen, followed by a two-out, RBI double from Orvis to stretch the lead to 6-4. Allen finished the game 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI, while Orvis was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI.

"We had some good barrels tonight," Allen said. "We found some gaps, found some holes, and then just getting people on base. You saw (Auston) Bous(field) running and just putting pressure on the opposing team. It definitely helps. Once we got going, one through nine, there is not an easy out. It's a really tough lineup to face. And luckily we scored some runs tonight." 

With the win, Ole Miss improved to 4-0 in elimination games in the NCAA Tournament and will face at least one more elimination game, needing to defeat top-ranked Virginia twice to advance to the national championship series.

"We play our best baseball with our backs against the wall," Orvis said. "This is a very tough team. It's a very mature team. We know what's on the line. We have nothing to lose; just play. Win or go home."



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As he has so often this season, senior right-hander Aaron Greenwood rose to the occasion and made big pitches in big spots, working the final 2.2 innings to close out a 2-1 win over Washington in the winners' bracket at the NCAA Oxford Regional.

Sophomore left-hander Christian Trent tossed a gem in his own right, having not pitched in 16 days after he was scratched from his start in the SEC Tournament last week. He left with a 2-1 lead in the seventh before turning things over to Greenwood. With the win, Trent improved to 9-0, giving up just one run on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts in 6.1 innings.

"It was definitely nice having the rest," Trent said. "I was definitely ready to get out there after being off for a start and plus my last start was seven days before that. It felt really good to get back out there and help my team win."

Greenwood inherited runners at second and third with one out after Washington cut the lead to 2-1 on an RBI single from junior outfielder Robert Pehl.

"When we got to the point with the guy at third, Aaron's done that so much in his career," head coach Mike Bianco said. "Not just this year, but so much, coming in with a guy at third base and getting the big strikeout. Although statistically he may look like a strikeout guy, he's a command guy. And he can raise his game. He gets that adrenaline and the fastball gets harder and the slider gets harder and sharper, and that's what we needed."

He struck out the first batter and got a lineout to second base for the third out, stranding the runners at second and third to preserve a 2-1 lead.

"On the mound visit, Coach B told us we really needed a strikeout to hold the guy at third base and not let them put the ball in play to give them a chance to score," Greenwood said. "I was thinking, 'Nothing good to hit. Low in the zone. Get ahead early.' I threw a slider away to strike him out. The next guy, when you get two, you're thinking the same thing: keep pounding the zone. Finally I got the line out to Preston (Overbey), and Preston made a great play."

Washington mounted a two-out rally in the eighth with a walk, followed by a bloop single to shallow center field before Greenwood shut the door again on the Huskies with an inning-ending strikeout. 

Greenwood closed things out with a perfect ninth, including a pair of strikeouts, for his fourth save of the season. The Byhalia, Mississippi, native allowed just one hit and one walk in 2.2 scoreless innings.

"The crowd was terrific today, even in a pitchers' duel," Bianco said. "They really sense that and sense every play and pulled Aaron through."

"I had to calm myself down at times, especially playing in front of these great fans, 10,000 people," Greenwood said. "They're awesome. They were unbelievable today. It's amazing, especially being a hometown guy to go out there and play for the team I always grew up loving. It was awesome."

Through two games in regional play, Ole Miss has used just three pitchers, ahead of the regional championship game against the Washington-Georgia Tech winner at 2 p.m. on Monday and a potential if necessary game at 7 p.m. on Monday. Junior right-hander Sam Smith is expected to get the start for the Rebels.

"We have the pitching depth, but the disappointing thing is, if you don't win this game, you are looking at 27 more innings to get through without extra innings just to win it," Bianco said. "It's nice that you can stay in line with a normal weekend. It's all about winning the next game, and the players know that."


In the preseason, Mike Bianco said Aaron Greenwood could be their best guy out of the bullpen, the guy who can come in at any point and finish the game, similar to Jake Morgan and Scott Bittle from past Ole Miss teams. 

Greenwood did just that, as he earned his second save of the season with three perfect innings of relief to close out to a 3-2 win in the series opener Friday night against Arkansas.

"If you remember back before the season started, when we talked about who the closer was, we said we didn't really have one right now, but Greenwood can be that guy who can come into this type of game and get you nine outs," Bianco said. "He can come in and not be just the ninth-inning guy. We laughed, Aaron and I, that we didn't know it was going to take until May 2 for that to happen."

Greenwood had posted a scoreless innings streak of 19-plus innings, capped by a career-long 4.2 scoreless innings in an 8-5 win over Auburn before he suffered an abdominal injury. In his first outing back, this past Sunday, he allowed two runs -- one earned -- on three hits in 2.1 innings of relief in a 9-6 win over Kentucky.

After Friday's dominant performance, he said he's feeling back to his old self.

"I'm really close (to 100 percent)," Greenwood said. "Last weekend was a little shaky. I performed well thankfully. This weekend, it felt great to be back out there. I keep getting better every single day."

Ole Miss took a 3-0 lead with a run in the third and two in the fourth before Arkansas had its first of two rallies, in the fifth. The Razorbacks cut the lead to 3-2 with a two-out, 2-RBI triple from Tyler Spoon. After a hit by pitch and walk to load the bases for Arkansas, Chris Ellis got out of it with a groundout to third.

Arkansas threatened again with an error and walk to lead off the sixth. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third, Ellis got a strikeout and shallow fly out to right to strand two more runners.

Ellis, who recorded his fourth straight quality start, allowed two runs -- both earned -- on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts, as he stranded seven Arkansas runners on base. It was fifth straight start to allow two earned runs or fewer.

"My command was not exactly there, but I worked out of it and made pitches when I needed to," Ellis said. "We got hits when we needed to, and certainly Greenwood came in and dominated in the last three innings."

From there, it was all Greenwood. He worked a perfect seventh, eight and ninth, retiring all nine Arkansas batters in order, including four strikeouts. Josh Laxer and Wyatt Short warmed up in the bullpen, but Bianco stayed with Greenwood for the ninth, and he delivered.

"We had those guys ready," Bianco said. "We got them warmed up. When (Greenwood) went in for the seventh, we weren't sure if he could get to the ninth. When he threw at Kentucky, he hadn't pitched, and he got really tired. We weren't sure. We had those guys up and ready to go, but with the way he pitched in seventh and eighth and it looked the ball had a lot of zip on it and it looked like he had all four pitches, he had to do it."

"After the eighth, Coach B came up to me and said, 'You feel good enough to finish?' I said, 'For sure. Yes sir,'" Greenwood said. "(Out there the ninth), it's great because you're out there in front of all these fans -- 9,000 tonight -- and your adrenaline starts pumping. You can tell I was a little wild for a little bit, but I calmed myself back down and made some pitches."


 

Austin Anderson stepped to the plate with runners at second and third with nobody out in the 13th. The team's leading hitter, now hitting at a .371 clip, had been intentionally walked in each of his last two plate appearances in the ninth and the 11th.

Auburn planned to intentionally walk him for the third straight time, but Auburn pitcher Jay Wade left the ball over the plate, and Anderson sent it over the fence in right for a three-run walk-off home run and a 8-5 win Friday night.

"It was right down the middle," Anderson said.

Was he surprised?

"Actually I wasn't surprised because the first time they intentionally walked me, the pitch was kind of the same thing," Anderson said. "They didn't call it a strike because the umpire said they were trying to put me on base. The second time, I was ready for it, but they didn't try it. And then the third time, the first pitch, they tried to get one by me, and with runners at second and third and no outs, I was just trying to get a sacrifice fly, and that's where it ended up."

"They tried to intentionally walk him, and he left it over the plate," head coach Mike Bianco said. "Anderson was ready. He had been intentionally walked two times earlier in the game. A time or two, the pitches missed close to the plate. Coach Godwin was about to say something with the infield in, if they got close enough, but he was already ready. I have seen it before. I have seen Stephen Head do it and get a base hit, but I have never seen someone hit a home run."

As soon as he hit it, he knew it.

"I knew the game was over at that point. I was just walking it out, and then it went over, which made it better. It's a long game, and everyone wants to win it, go home and get ready for the next day. Being able to win it for the team, it's a great team win."

Greenwood Extends Scoreless Innings Streak

Before Austin Anderson's heroics, a three-run walk-off home run in the 13th, Aaron Greenwood and Josh Laxer combined to throw 7.1 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits each.

Greenwood worked a career-long 4.2 scoreless innings, giving up just three hits with no walks, as he extended his scoreless innings streak to 19.1 innings, having not allowed a run since February 28 against UCF.

"There hasn't really been any change," said Greenwood of the streak. "I'm just staying with the process, and my coaches believed in me."

"He's been dominant," said Bianco of Greenwood. "He's holding them at bay and giving us big outings. He's given us long outings, not just an inning or two. Today, he gives us four and two-third innings. He was really efficient."



Rebels Fall Into Losers' Bracket

What happened vs. William & Mary: William & Mary staked a 4-0 lead, scoring four runs on four walks and two errors in the fifth. On the mound, sophomore left-hander Jason Inghram allowed just two runs for the Tribe, scattering eight hits with a walk and three strikeouts.


"They played very clean baseball," head coach Mike Bianco said. "Inghram just filled up the zone the whole day. They played error-free, made all the plays. They made all the pitches to get out of innings. We just had the one inning that we couldn't get out of, and that was basically the ball game. It was one certainly we thought that got away."


Junior right-hander Mike Mayers got the start of the mound for Ole Miss and allowed four runs on three hits with six walks and three strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work.


"I felt fine warming up," Mayers said. "I went out there and struggled to find my fastball command, obviously. And in that one inning, it didn't matter what I did. I tried a few things, tried to fix it up. As a veteran, it's my job to fix it up and figure out, and get out of that big inning."


Ole Miss got a run back in both the sixth and seventh innings. The Rebels threatened again in the ninth, bringing the would-be game-winning runner to the plate with runners at first and second, but junior catcher Stuart Turner flied out to left to end the game. Ole Miss was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, leaving 10 runners on base.


"We didn't have a ton of runners in scoring position, but the few opportunities we did, we weren't able to keep the big hit, the big double," Bianco said. "A couple of times, a ground ball and a sac fly." 


"We just weren't able to bunch enough hits."


Greenwood out of the bullpen: Junior right-hander Aaron Greenwood came on in relief for Mayers and worked four scoreless innings, giving up four hits with a walk and two strikeouts.


He and junior left-hander Jeremy Massie, who retired the last William & Mary batter, also helped save the Ole Miss bullpen, as the Rebels look to play its way through the losers' bracket, which means four straight wins in three days.


"Aaron did a terrific job," Bianco said. "I'm proud of him. He had a little discomfort out there. He kind of stepped funny off the mound. He was having some pain in his hip. That's one of the first visits that we went out there for. He showed a lot of guts today and really competed well. Then Massie comes in and gets out of the ninth inning.


"But they're going to have pitch again if we get all the way though. Maybe, even Mike again. But that was big today. He gave us an opportunity."


Wahl to pitch tomorrow: Junior right-hander Bobby Wahl will get the start on the mound against the loser of tonight's North Carolina State-Binghamton in an elimination game at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday.


"You knew he going to pitch at some point," Bianco said of Wahl. "It wasn't by design that he was going to pitch an elimination game. But I don't think you feel comfortable now. Now, you just win pitches, win outs, win innings and starting grinding from here on out over the next three days and try to make a run."


Final word: "We play a little better defense, Mike throws a few more balls in the zone, or we bunch a few more hits together, and it's certainly a different feeling. We just didn't play very well in all three phases. I think they played than we did in all three phases of the game." -- Head coach Mike Bianco

Rebels React To NCAA Tournament

WHAT HAPPENED VS. ALABAMA: For the third time in the SEC Tournament, Ole Miss scored first with three runs in the second, then battled back to tie the 5-5 in the seventh, but fell to Alabama 7-5 in 10 innings. With the loss, the Rebels were eliminated from the SEC Tournament.


After a leadoff double by senior third baseman Andrew Mistone in the second, junior first baseman Preston Overbey and sophomore right fielder Will Jamison each followed with 2-out RBI to give Ole Miss a 3-0 lead.


Alabama scored two runs in the fourth, then three in the fifth to take a 5-3 lead. Ole Miss tied the game at 5-5 in the seventh, as junior catcher Stuart Turner delivered a 2-out, 2-RBI single to left after the Rebels loaded the bases on three straight 2-out walks.


Senior right-hander Brett Huber entered the game with runners at second and third and one out, then got two swinging strikes against Alabama shortstop Mikey White, who then delivered the big hit, a 2-RBI single up the middle through the drawn-in infield to give Alabama a 7-5 lead.


OLE MISS AWAITS NCAA TOURNAMENT ANNOUNCEMENT: The Field of 64 will be announced on May 27 at 11 a.m. CT on ESPNU. Ole Miss finished the season 37-22 with a No. 18 RPI and No. 8 strength of schedule, which includes series wins against Arkansas and Mississippi State.


WAGUESPACK IN HIS SECOND CAREER START: Freshman right-hander Jacob Waguespack got the start on the mound, his second of the season, and retired the first nine Alabama batters in order, including three strikeouts. 


He gave up two runs on two hits with two walks and a career-high three strikeouts in a career-long 3.2 innings of work, as he left with a 3-2 lead.


"I'm proud of his effort," head coach Mike Bianco said. "We challenged him. We knew that he would throw the ball in the strike zone without fear, and that's why we went with him. He deserved it. He's pitched well every time out. And as he mentioned, he's getting stronger and stronger. He's going to be a good."


Waguespack, who dealt with an elbow injury for much of the season, had made five appearances and allowed four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 9.1 innings prior to Thursday's start.


"Like every guy on the staff, whenever you're called upon, you try to do your job, whether it's out of the bullpen, or whenever coach wants to start me," Waguespack said. "I'm just looking to contribute and get better every day."


BIANCO CONFIDENT IN BULLPEN: In the first two games of the SEC Tournament, the Ole Miss bullpen allowed one run on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 6.1 innings. Against Alabama, it allowed five runs -- four earned -- on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 6.1 innings.


"Besides today for a couple of innings, a couple of pitches, I thought we pitched really well," Bianco said. "We gave ourselves an opportunity the first two games. We gave up two earned runs in 19 innings, and then today another 10-inning game. We hurt ourselves win an error one inning. 


"Scott (Weathersby) fell behind a little bit in his stint, but I thought besides him, we pitched pretty well today. So that's good going forward. That's been the Achilles' heel the last three or four weeks. Hopefully, we shored that up this week and got back to where we were with the bullpen a month ago."


Bianco noted it was good to see junior right-hander Aaron Greenwood and junior left-hander Jeremy Massie pitch well. 


Massie allowed just one hit with a walk and two strikeouts in 3.2 scoreless innings against Kentucky and Alabama. Greenwood took the loss against Arkansas, but allowed just one run on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts.


GETTING WAHL BACK ON SCHEDULE: Junior right-hander Bobby Wahl did not pitch for Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament this week. In his last start, May 18 against LSU, he gave up six runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 2.2 innings.


"Bobby would have pitched tomorrow, would have started tomorrow," Bianco said. "We talked about it prior to the game. Now, we'll just have to figure out what we want to do, as far as maybe a simulated bullpen, simulated game to let him throw a little bit. 


"He needed the rest as well. Unfortunately, we didn't stay here long enough for him him to pitch. For him personally, I don't think it's going to be a bad thing next week. Not pitching for him, I don't think is going to be a bad thing at all."

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