BATON ROUGE, La. -- Senior Sikes Orvis delivered the game-tying RBI in the top of the ninth before doubling in the game-winning run in the top of the 14th to lift Ole Miss baseball to a 5-3 victory over No. 1 LSU Saturday night, March 14, at Alex Box Stadium. The win gives the Rebels (10-8, 1-1 SEC) their first victory of SEC play, while also ending the Tigers' (17-2, 1-1 SEC) 14-game winning streak.
The two conference foes battled it out for four hours and 15 minutes before Will Stokes (3) got Jake Fraley to fly out to Kyle Watson with the bases full of Tigers. The 14-inning affair was not only the first extra-inning game of the season for Ole Miss, but it was also the longest game the Diamond Rebels have played since going 17 innings against Mississippi State, April 29, 2007.
"I'm really proud of the way we hung in there," noted Ole Miss Head Coach Mike Bianco. "We pitched really well and played good defense - just a great college game where we were able to get a big double with somebody on base."
Orvis proved why he is a team captain and senior leader in the Ole Miss victory, driving in runs at the dish while also making plays with his glove at first base. The Orlando, Fla. native recorded three of the Rebels' seven hits, including two doubles and his two big RBI. He also snagged a line drive in the bottom of the 10th and caught the go-ahead run off of third for a game-saving double play.
Orvis was quick to credit his teammates in helping seal the victory. "A lot of young guys came in, Will Stokes and Wyatt Short, and just did awesome. It's a great win for team morale."
The Ole Miss pitching staff was outstanding throughout the game, holding LSU to three unearned runs. Starting pitcher Brady Bramlett lasted a season-long seven innings, surrendering six hits and three unearned runs. Senior Scott Weathersby followed with 3.2 scoreless innings before lefty Wyatt Short (3-1) went 2.2 innings without allowing a run to earn the victory. Entering the bottom of the 14th with two men on base and just one out, the freshman Stokes got out of the jam unscathed to save the contest for the Rebels.
LSU starter Alex Lange struck out 13 Rebels over eight innings, but picked up the no decision as Ole Miss gave closer Jesse Stallings his first blown save of the season. Reliever Kyle Bouman (0-1) was saddled with the loss, giving up the two runs in the 14th.
Bramlett worked his way out of a jam in the second as LSU placed two runners in scoring position with one out. The sophomore forced a popup before getting a strikeout to end the inning. The work by the Rebels' starting pitcher seemed to swing momentum in their favor. In the top of the third, Ole Miss struck first with a pair of runs. Tate Blackman led off the inning with a double down the line in left. Cameron Dishon, the SEC's leader in sacrifice hits, placed a bunt down to advance the runner and not only did his job, but he reached first as the LSU catcher was unable to pick up the spinning ball. With runners on the corners, Coach Bianco decided to roll the dice by calling for a double steal. As Dishon took off for second, the throw went to the base and an alert Blackman broke for home. Both Rebels were successful in their steal attempts, and Blackman's swipe of home put Ole Miss on the board. After Dishon advanced to third on a wild pitch, he crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly to left by Will Golsan to make it 2-0 in favor of the Diamond Rebels.
LSU scored three runs in the fourth to claim the lead, taking advantage of an Ole Miss error. A dropped ball by Blackman followed by a single put the Tigers in business with one out. Bramlett was able to get a pop up that would've ended the inning, but due to the miscue, a base hit and a triple on consecutive at-bats brought three in to score, giving LSU its first lead of the game, 3-2, after four innings of play.
Both starting pitchers went into cruise control until they each left their respective outings. Bramlett exited after the seventh, not allowing an earned run for the third time out of five season starts. Lange pitched through the eighth, striking out a career-high 13 hitters.
The Rebels fought back in the top of the ninth, tying the game at three runs apiece and giving Stalling his first blown save of the year in nine chances. Golsan led off the inning with a base hit before J.B. Woodman worked a walk on eight pitches. Following a mound visit, Orvis smacked the first pitch he saw through the right side of the infield, bringing a speedy Golsan across the plate to even the ballgame. Continuing the inning, Henri Lartigue was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out; however, the Tigers got out of the jam and keep the game at a 3-3 standstill.
Weathersby retired the side in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings for the first time this season. LSU threatened to end the game in the 10th with a leadoff double by Danny Zardon, who proceeded to move up to third on a flyout to right field. Coach Bianco opted to bring the infield in with the winning run 90 feet away, and the decision paid off. Orvis caught a line drive just off the grass near first, doubling up the runner at third to end the inning and keep the Rebels alive.
Neither team was able to score until Orvis stepped to the plate in the top of the 14th. Woodman walked to begin the inning, and the sophomore scampered around the bases on a double to the left-center gap by Orvis, his third hit of the night and second clutch RBI. Three batters later, Errol Robinson smoked a ball to right, plating Orvis and giving the Rebels an insurance run along with a 5-3 advantage.
In the bottom half of the final inning, LSU threatened by loading the bases as the runner at first represented the winning run. However, Stokes remained calm under the pressure and noise of the LSU faithful, picking up the final two outs to get the save.
After the thrilling extra-inning victory, the Rebels will attempt to keep the momentum going and claim the series in the final game of the three-game set tomorrow afternoon, March 15. Ole Miss and LSU will put a cap on the opening series of SEC play with a 3 p.m. CT first pitch on SEC Network.