Persistent rain fell throughout the day on Tuesday in Oxford, but by nightfall, the clouds cleared and hits began to fall, as No. 9 Ole Miss held off the Arkansas State baseball team in a 15-12 shootout at Swayze Field.
The Red Wolves (14-23) belted 16 hits, with 10 of those being for extra bases, and rallied from an 11-2 deficit to cut it to one with an eight-run sixth. The Rebels (32-12) maintained the lead with insurance runs in the sixth and seventh.
Liam Hicks was once again the leader at the plate, with career-high-tying four hits – including two doubles and a home run – with three RBI and four runs scored. Tyler Duncan tallied three hits, including a double. Jake Gish tied Hicks with a team-high three RBI with both of his hits for extra bases – a homer and a double.
Every hitter in the A-State lineup reached base at least once, with Parker Rowland reaching base in four of his five plate appearances, including a double.
Tyler Jeans took the loss in the start for A-State, pitching three innings and allowing four runs on six hits with two strikeouts. The Red Wolves utilized seven pitchers in the outing, with Will Gilmer, Max Gehler and Kollin Stone pitching scoreless stints.
Justin Bench and Ben Van Cleve led the Rebels with four hits apiece, as Ole Miss totaled 18 hits. Peyton Chatagnier led with four RBI and three hits while Van Cleve scored a team-high three runs. The Red Wolves limited the Rebels to just three extra-base hits.
Josh Mallitz was the second of nine Rebel pitchers and earned the win with one inning of relief. Derek Diamond entered in relief of Tyler Myers in the ninth with two in scoring position and no outs, but kept A-State from rallying any further, with just one run scoring on an RBI groundout by Duncan.
Hicks launched a solo shot to right center in the first, giving A-State an early 1-0 lead with his third homer in the last two games – his fifth of the year. He then led off the third with a double and came around to score on an RBI double by Tyler Duncan, giving the Scarlet and Black an early 2-0 lead.
The Rebels responded with four runs in the third and then seven more in the fourth to open up an 11-2 advantage after four innings.
A-State cut the deficit to one in the sixth, exploding for eight runs on six hits – all for extra bases. Hicks continued his hot streak with a two-run double to plate Rowland and Tipton. Klutts then delivered a two-run homer to left to make it 11-6. With two down, Deshazier blasted a solo shot to left-center to cut it to 11-7.
Huber then reached on a walk before a double by McCutchen gave the Red Wolves runners in scoring position with two outs. On the very next pitch, Gish drove the first pitch he saw to the wall in left center to clear the bases with a stand-up double. Rowland then drove in Gish with a stand-up double of his own, putting A-State within one at 11-10.
Ole Miss answered in the bottom of the sixth with two runs to stretch its lead back out to 13-10. With one down and runners at the corners, a deep fly by Graham was caught by Duncan, who then gunned out Gonzalez at the plate for the final out to keep more runs off the board.
The Rebels added two more in the seventh on an RBI double by McCants and a run-scoring single by Van Cleve to put the score at 15-10. Gish then homered in the top of the eighth, once again putting the Red Wolves to within four.
In the ninth, A-State got back-to-back singles to lead off the inning by Hicks and Klutts, with both moving to second and third on the play. Hicks then scored his fourth run of the night on the Duncan groundout. Diamond would work around a hit batsman with a strikeout and groundout to end the contest.
A-State returns home for a three-game Sun Belt Conference series matching two of the top offenses in the conference, hosting Georgia Southern. First pitch Friday is slated for 6 p.m. on ESPN+. The radio broadcast can be heard on 95.3 The Ticket.
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