||Ole Miss tops Mizzou, 4-3
COLUMBIA, Mo. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) — Senior Sikes Orvis blasted a pair of solo home runs to help lead the Ole Miss baseball team to a 4-3 victory over No. 14 Missouri Sunday afternoon, May 3, at Taylor Stadium. With the win over the nationally ranked Tigers (28-20, 14-10 SEC), the Rebels (25-24, 11-13 SEC) now have eight victories over ranked opponents.
"This was one that we had to have, and the guys played great," said head coach Mike Bianco, who recorded his 682nd career victory on his birthday.
The multi-homer game was the second of Orvis' career. The senior first baseman coincidentally homered twice against Missouri last year, March 22, 2014. Orvis also became the second Rebel to hit two home runs in one game this season. Teammate Colby Bortles accomplished the feat versus UT Martin, April 15. The two home runs gave Orvis a team-leading 11 for the season and 29 for his career.
Junior Connor Cloyd went 3-for-3, reaching base all four times he stepped to the plate and recording his eighth multi-hit game in the past 10 contests. In his first career start and playing in his home state, freshman Nic Perkins recorded his second straight multi-hit game with a pair of singles.
"It was awesome to play in front of them (family and friends)," noted Perkins, a native of St. Charles, Missouri. "When I get my opportunity, I try to make the best of it."
"I'm proud of Nic in his first start," mentioned Coach Bianco. "He got two hits yesterday off the bench and then two hits today in front of his family and home crowd. That was nice to see."
Working on a pitch count due to throwing seven innings in Tuesday's victory over Mississippi State, his first career start, senior Scott Weathersby (4-1) lasted 3.2 innings, allowing one run on four hits and two walks to earn his second victory in as many appearances. Jacob Waguespack tossed 3.1 innings of relief, and sophomore Wyatt Short (7) pitched the final two innings to earn his seventh save of the season.
Peter Fairbanks (4-4) took the loss for Missouri, going 4.0 innings and giving up two runs on six hits and four walks. At the plate, catcher Brett Bond was the only Tiger to record multiple hits, while Shane Benes added a solo home run.
Orvis put the Rebels on the board first in the top of the second with an opposite-field homer to left-center field. Two innings later, the senior slugger turned on a pitch and clanked his second home run of the game off Missouri's indoor practice facility. The ball ricocheted off the building just below a sign measuring 420 feet from home plate. In the bottom half of the frame, Benes cut the Ole Miss lead in half with a solo home run to right field. After a single by the next Missouri hitter, Jake Ivory, Waguespack relieved Weathersby and was able to get the Rebels out of the inning with a 2-1 advantage.
The Rebels bumped their lead back to two in the top of the sixth, taking advantage of a Mizzou miscue. Austin Knight reached base on a throwing error by the Tigers' third baseman which would have ended the inning. With the extra opportunity and the inning still alive, Perkins beat out an infield single before Cameron Dishon drew a walk to load the bases. Following a mound visit, Cloyd took one for the team as he earned a RBI after getting plunked by a pitch, making it 3-1 in favor of Ole Miss.
In the eighth, Ole Miss added another run to take a three-run lead. Perkins led off the inning with a single up the middle, his second base hit of the day, and Cloyd sprinted down the line to beat out a groundball. Later in the frame, with runners on the corners and Kyle Watson pinch-running for Perkins, J.B. Woodman dropped a perfect bunt for a suicide squeeze that scored the freshman.
Missouri scored twice in the bottom of the eighth to slice the margin to one, 4-3. Two Tigers singled to start the inning, and Short entered to try and maintain the Rebels' three-run cushion. After getting an out, a base hit plated the pair of Tigers, but the Ole Miss southpaw struck out back-to-back hitters to end the inning.
In the final frame, Short made sure the nationally ranked Tigers did not threaten to mount a comeback, retiring three straight hitters to secure the one-run win for the Rebels.
Due to finals week at Ole Miss, the Rebels will not play a midweek contest for the first time since week two of the season when games versus Arkansas State and Central Arkansas were postponed. Ole Miss will return to the friendly confines of Swayze Field for a three-game series against Mississippi State, May 7-9. The first game of the rivalry is set for Thursday night, May 7, at 7:30 p.m. CT. The series continues Friday night with a first pitch set for 6:00 p.m., while the finale will begin at 4:00 p.m. CT on Saturday. All three games of the in-state battle will be nationally televised on SEC Network. As with all Ole Miss baseball games, fans can catch all of the action on the Ole Miss Radio Network.