Friday, May 23, 2008

Guerrero Homer Gives Rebels Win

Michael Guerrero came up big for the Rebels again on Thursday as the junior hit his second home run in as many nights down the left field line, this one a two-run walk-off in the ninth to give Ole Miss (36-22) an 8-7 win over No. 19 Kentucky (42-13) in the second round of the SEC Tournament.After watching Kentucky take a one run lead in the top of the ninth, Logan Power opened the bottom half of the inning with a single before Guerrero came up with the game winning home run two batters later to give the Rebels the win.The two lead changes in the ninth were part of a back and forth battle that saw the game tied or lead change hands nine times in the final six innings of the game. Guerrero and Matt Smith led the Rebels at the plate as the pair was responsible for four of the Rebels 10 hits and six of the Rebels’ eight runs. Guerrero was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI, while Smith was 2-for-4 with a run scored and four RBI.Jake Morgan (3-0) picked up the win as he worked the final 2.1 innings, allowing two runs on one hit with no walks and two strikeouts.Scott Green (6-4) suffered the loss in relief for the Wildcats as he entered the game with one man on in the ninth and recorded one out before giving up the game-winning home run.“It was a game of answers,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco of the back-and-forth contest. “It was disappointing to see us squander the lead and some opportunities, but I am proud of the way we hung in there. The pitchers didn’t hang their heads, they kept competing. The batters kept swinging. It’s nice to win a game like that.”Ole Miss scored first, pushing three runs across in the third inning. Fuller Smith scored from second on a single through the left side from Cody Overbeck. Smith singled to left field before moving to second on a walk of Logan Power. Power and Overbeck moved into scoring position on a deep fly to center field from Michael Guerrero before a single up the middle from Matt Smith pushed the pair of juniors home. Ole Miss led 3-0 heading into the fourth inning.Kentucky struck back in the top of the fourth, scoring tying the game with a two out rally. Chris Wade notched a two-RBI double to score Cowgill and McClendon before Wade was driving in by a single up the middle from Troy Frazier.The Rebels reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fourth on a sac fly to right from Tim Ferguson. Zach Miller drew a lead-off walk to open the inning and moved to third on a throwing error from the Wildcat’s Paxton on a pickoff attempt. He then scored on the Ferguson fly out to give the Rebels the 4-3 lead.The Wildcats answered in the sixth with another two-out rally. Keenan Wiley doubled up the middle to score Frazier from third and tie the game at four. Frazier doubled with two outs before stealing third on a walk of Marcus Nidiffer.With two outs and two on in the fifth, the Rebels turned to the bullpen and brought in Bukvich who got the Rebels out of the inning with a fly out of the first batter faced.Kentucky took the lead in the seventh when Brian Spear hit a single through the left side to score Collin Cowgill from third. Cowgill reached on a throwing error on a grounder to third that entered the camera well allowing Cowgill to take second on a dead ball. He then stole third before scoring on Spear’s single. Following the second out on a fly out by Kentucky’s McClendon, the Rebels turned to the bullpen again for Jake Morgan. Morgan struck out the next batter to end the inning.Ole Miss took the lead back in the bottom half with a two-run home run from Matt Smith that pushed the Rebels on top 6-5.A fielding error at shortstop opened the top of the eighth and allowed Frazier to reach second before a sac bunt from Nidiffer pushed him to third. Kentucky tied the game on the next play as Ole Miss went home on a chopper down the first base line, but Frazier slid under the tag at the plate to even things at six. The Wildcats opened the ninth with a triple from Sawyer Carroll before a sac fly to right field from Cowgill pushed him across the plate to give Kentucky the lead only to see the Rebels snatch the win back in the bottom half of the ninth.

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