No. 12 Rebels fall in weekend double header against South Carolina

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I do not like double headers, at all!

Well, the series against South Carolina did not go as planned for the Rebels on Saturday. The two teams took the field twice Saturday, due to a prediction of bad weather on Sunday. Considering our history with double headers in the past, I was not at all thrilled about the team having to play twice in one day.

Game 2 of the series – South Carolina wins 5-4 in 10 innings

Play got underway at Carolina Stadium at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday. The Rebels would start the game as if they didn’t miss a beat from Friday night’s game. Ole Miss would quickly jump to an early 1-0 lead. Will Allen would deliver a double to score Austin Anderson from second, to give the Rebels the lead in top of the first.

The Rebels would have a big third inning. Allen again came up getting a hit to the top of the left field wall to score Braxton Lee, and put Anderson and himself in scoring position with one out. Brantley Bell then got a single RBI to drive in Anderson to extend the lead to 3-0 for the Rebels. Preston Overbey then delivered a sacrifice fly to left field, bringing Allen home, and extending the Rebel lead to 4-0.

South Carolina would finally got things going in the bottom of the sixth. They would get the bases loaded on two hits and a walk. With one out, South Carolina’s Weber Pike would reach first on a fielder’s choice to shortstop, a missed double play by the Rebels, which brought home the Gamecocks first run of the game, shorting the Rebel lead to 4-1.

It all came down to the ninth inning. Since the third inning to this point, the Rebels had not pulled anything together offensively to really pull the game out of reach for the Gamecocks. In the bottom of the ninth, the Rebels had a 4-1 lead, and only needed three outs to clinch the series against the number one team in the nation.

Two outs on the board and a man at second, Conner Bright of South Carolina hit a liner to right that brought home Tanner English. This cut the Rebel lead to 4-2. With still two outs, pinch hitter Max Schrock hit a two-run shot over right field wall to tie the game at four. We have to give them credit, it was an amazing comeback.

This would send the game to extra innings. Just like the previous five innings, the Rebels were not able to put up anything offensively in the top of the tenth. The Rebels clung to the tie in the bottom of the tenth, hoping to mount a good defensive effort to send the game to another inning. South Carolina would grab two hits, that would drive a run home to win game one of the double header with a final score of 5-4.

Matt Denny (0-1) took the loss for the Rebels. The lefty would allow one run on one hit in his 0.2 innings on the mound. Starting pitcher, Christen Trent would have a great performance on the mound. Trent would pitch for six full innings, allow one run on six hits, allowed one walk, and picked up five strikeouts.

Game 3 of the series – South Carolina wins 3-1

Unlike the first two games of the series, South Carolina would be the first to get on the board in game three. The Gamecocks would drive a runner home off a sacrifice fly out. The runner would reach into scoring position after taking advantage of a throwing error from left field to third. South Carolina would take a 1-0 lead after two innings.

The Rebels would get their offensive mount going in the fourth inning when Sikes Orvis singled to right, driving home Austin Anderson from second. This would tie the game 1-1.

South Carolina did not waste much time getting things going again on offense. In the fifth inning, even after his first bunt attempt was a near pop up fail, USC’s Tanner English successfully bunted down the first base line, then beating the tag at first base. The surprised bunt brought home a USC runner, which brought the Gamecocks back on top, 2-1.

South Carolina would extend their lead by two in the eighth inning. Marcus Mooney for the Gamecocks would reach home plate from second on a single to left from Joey Pankake. The Gamecocks then led the Rebels 3-1, with one more chance for the Rebels in the top of the ninth.

The Rebels would get runners in scoring positions in the 7th, 8th, and 9th inning, but would fall short in each attempt for a rally.

Like Christen Trent in the first game of the double header, starter Sam Smith would pitch a great performance on the mound. Smith (4-1) would pick up his first loss of the season. Smith worked seven full innings, allowed three runs (two earned), allowed six hits, and struck out five.

With the back-to-back double header losses, the No. 12 Rebels fall to 17-4 overall and 1-2 in the SEC standings. No official word yet on any dip in the national standings for the Rebels. I am assuming they will drop a few rankings, but I would not expect a major drop, due to their tough performance against the No. 1 ranked Gamecocks.

Next up for the Rebels…

Rebel fans will be glad to know the road stretch is over. The Diamond Rebels will be back home at Swayze Field on Wednesday night, taking on Arkansas State. Then the Rebels get back into SEC play for the weekend series. The Rebels will host Missouri Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.