COLUMBIA, S.C. – Ole Miss erased a four-run ninth-inning deficit on Saturday but couldn't come all the way back for the victory, falling in walk off fashion to South Carolina, 9-8, at Founders Park
After starter Jack Washburn was lifted early due to injury, Jack Dougherty and Brandon Johnson made strong relief appearances, striking out five and six batters, respectively.
After a double play helped the Rebels (21-14, 5-10 SEC) get out of the first inning unscathed, South Carolina (18-17, 6-9 SEC) put a run on the board in the second, taking advantage of an error to go up 1-0.
The Gamecocks added two more in the fourth, going double, single, double to get the first run in before Dougherty issued a bases loaded walk. However, the righty was able to escape further damage with back-to-back punchouts to keep the deficit at 3-0.
After TJ McCants reached on a throwing error in the fifth, Hayden Leatherwood took advantage, pulling a ball into the right-center gap and legging out an RBI triple.
The next frame, Jacob Gonzalez sent a ball towering into the Gamecock bullpen, making it a one-run ball game.
Just as momentum was building in the Rebels' favor, South Carolina turned it back in the other direction, getting a two-run home run off the bat of Carson Hornung to restore the three-run advantage.
The Rebels continued to fight, getting both runs right back in the seventh on a two-run single through the right side by Calvin Harris, bringing around McCants and Leatherwood.
Ole Miss had a chance to pull even in the eighth, starting off the inning with a Kevin Graham leadoff double and a Kemp Alderman single. However, a strikeout and double play ended the threat and South Carolina came back with a pair of home runs in the bottom half to push the lead to 8-4.
Undeterred, Ole Miss went back to work. Reagan Burford led off with a walk and Ben Van Cleve followed with a pinch hit double. Justin Bench and Gonzalez then notched back-to-back RBI singles to cut the USC lead in half. With two outs on the board, Kemp Alderman came up clutch, driving a double to the left-center gap to bring both around, deadlocking the score at eight runs apiece.
The wind came out of the sails in the ninth, though, as South Carolina led off with a walk and eventually scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly to center field.
Ole Miss returns home for a midweek matchup with Southeast Missouri on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. CT. The game can be streamed through SEC Network + or listened to via the Ole Miss Radio Network.