ORLANDO, Fla. -- Playing a doubleheader for the third-straight weekend, the No. 18 Ole Miss Baseball team saw a similar outcome in its previous two by splitting a pair of games with No. 15 UCF on Sunday afternoon. The Knights (10-1) won the first game, 3-2, before the Rebels (6-4) handed UCF its first loss of the 2015 season with a 4-3 victory in game two.
The Rebels remain on the road for a midweek game, traveling to Hattiesburg, Miss. to face Southern Miss on Wednesday, March 4. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT and can be heard on the Ole Miss Sports Radio Network.
Game 2: Ole Miss 4, UCF 3
Orlando, Fla. native Sikes Orvis delivered a solo home run before drawing a RBI walk in the top of the ninth to help lead the Rebels to a 4-3 victory. Returning to his hometown to play in front of family and friends, Orvis reached base four times in game two, going 2-for-3 with two RBI, two walks and one run. Wyatt Short (2-1) pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless relief to pick up the victory, allowing just one hit and striking out four down the stretch.
It's awesome. I've seen some people that I have not seen since I left to go to school at Ole Miss," said Orvis, when asked about playing in from of the familiar faces. "It's awesome to see everybody, and I'm glad we were able to get a win for them today."
"To win the last game, you feel a little better going home," noted Ole Miss Head Coach Mike Bianco. "We're close (to where we want to be). That's a team (UCF) over there that is playing with a ton of confidence - we seemed to execute and make pitches when we had to."
Eight Rebels recorded hits as Ole Miss finished the game with nine of them. Joe Wainhouse delivered a pinch hit to lead off the top of the ninth, while Colby Bortles homered and Tate Blackman produced a double that knocked in a run for his first RBI as a Rebel.
Senior starting pitcher Sam Smith had his best outing of the year, going 5.1 innings and surrendering just two runs on four hits.
The Rebels struck first for the third time in the series, chalking a run up on the scoreboard in the top of the second. Blackman produced a two-out RBI double to left field, scoring Holt Perdzock. After scoring a run in the opening inning in the first two games of the series, the lone run in the second gave Ole Miss another 1-0 cushion.
Ole Miss decided to use the long ball to increase the lead as the game continued throughout the afternoon. After the Rebels opened up the scoring in the second, Orvis doubled the lead with solo bomb to deep right field in the top of the third for the 21st home run of his career. Two innings later, Bortles blasted a high fly ball that cleared the fence in left to increase the advantage to three runs, 3-0.
Smith cruised into the sixth inning without allowing a run and giving up only two hits. Nonetheless, the Knights got to the right-hander in the bottom half of the inning. A single to start the inning ended a streak of seven-straight hitters retired by Smith. Following a strikeout, Erik Barber cut the Ole Miss lead to one with a two-run homer to right field, causing Coach Bianco to go to the bullpen. Jacob Waguespack entered the game in relief and was able to get out of the inning unscathed with Ole Miss on top, 3-2, two-thirds of the way through the series finale.
UCF tied the contest with a run in the bottom of the seventh. A single followed by a double fisted to shallow left field forced the Rebels to issue an intentional walk and load the bases. Waguespack was able to get a groundball, but Ole Miss only got the force out at second base and the run scored to tie the game. With a left-handed hitter stepping to the plate, Short entered out of the bullpen and retired back-to-back Knights to limit the damage, keeping the game at a 3-3 standstill.
The Rebels started the ninth inning with a pinch-hit single by Wainhouse. With Cloyd coming in to run for Wainhouse, Kyle Watson laid down a bunt to move Cloyd to second base. Ole Miss then used its patience at the plate to take three-straight walks to bring in a run. Orvis, having already homered in the contest, was not given anything across the plate and took four straight pitches to earn the RBI walk.
Coming out to pitch the ninth, Short capped off the Rebels' victory while shutting down UCF to earn the win himself and make the Rebels a perfect 3-0 in game two of doubleheaders this season.
Game 1: UCF 3, Ole Miss 2
Behind a two-run home run by UCF catcher Jordan Savinon, the Knights took game one over No. 18 Ole Miss, 3-2, for the second one-run decision in as many game of the series.
Starting first in the order for the first time in his career, freshman Kyle Watson did his job in the spot by reaching base in all three plate appearances with a double and two walks. Five Rebels recorded a hit in the ballgame as sophomore J.B. Woodman and junior Cameron Dishon recorded RBI singles.
Sophomore Brady Bramlett (1-1) was saddled with the loss, going 4 innings and allowing three runs on five hits. Senior Scott Weathersby pitched a perfect two innings of relief, retiring all six batters he faced, including sending four Knights down on strikes.
For the first time this season, Watson batted in the leadoff spot for the Rebels. However, Ole Miss saw the same results from the leadoff hitter as it did Friday night. On the very first pitch of the game, Watson belted a fastball to deep right field and cruised into second with a double. Robinson advanced his teammate 90 feet on a groundout to second base before a sacrifice fly to left field scored Watson, putting the Rebels ahead early, 1-0.
UCF tied the game in a nearly similar fashion with a run in the bottom of the third. After two hits to start the inning, the Knights put the two runners in scoring position with a bunt. With one out, a sacrifice fly to right field plated the tying run, but Bramlett was able to get out of the inning with a strikeout, leaving two Knights stranded on the base path. However, one inning later, UCF took the lead on a two-run homer by Savinon, making it 3-1 in favor of the home team.
The Rebels immediately cut into the deficit with their next plate appearances. Leading off the top of the fifth, Henri Lartigue went opposite field for a double. Two batters later, Dishon hit a chopper that went over the third baseman's head and into left field, allowing Lartigue to score from second. Watson walked to reach base for the third time in the contest, but the two Rebels were left on the bases with Ole Miss trailing, 3-2.
Relieving Bramlett, Weathersby retired six straight hitters, striking out four of them over a two-inning stretch. However, the Ole Miss bats were unable to find the tying run in the final inning as the Knights held on for the second-consecutive one-run victory of the series.