OXFORD, Miss. - A late-innings comeback for fourth-ranked Ole Miss (5-1) led to a 12-6 victory over 13th-ranked Maryland (3-3) on Saturday at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
The Rebels and Terrapins each have a win this weekend, and the deciding game is set for 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.
It was in the seventh inning when things really shifted the Rebels' way in this one. At that point, Ole Miss trailed 5-4.
Calvin Harris led off that inning with a single, and a double by Ethan Groff put runners on second and third. Ethan Lege walked, and the Terps made their third pitching change of the as Nigel Belgrave came on for reliever Kyle McCoy. After two outs were recorded, Belgrave walked Garrett Wood for a run. Belgrave was then relieved by Dave Falco, and Jacob Gonzalez singled to score two runs.
The Rebels were up 7-6 after seven innings, and the momentum was in their favor.
Mason Nichols, the fifth pitcher for the Rebels in the contest, came on to pitch in the eighth. He would ultimately get the save. After two quick outs in the eighth, the Terrapins got a single, a hit by pitch, and a walk to load the bases.
But after a mound visit by head coach Mike Bianco, Nichols was able to get out of it with a long fly ball to right at the home bullpen by Zmarzlak that Kemp Alderman crashed into the fence and caught. It was perhaps a game-saving moment, but an important one either way.
The Rebels maintained their 7-6 lead heading to the bottom of the eighth. But it wouldn't stay that way for long.
Ole Miss added two runs on an Anthony Calarco home run over the home bullpen and into the right field students after Harris walked with one out. Lege reached on a Maryland error, and pinch-hitter John Kramer walked. Riley Maddox came in to pinch run for Kramer. After Peyton Chatagnier fouled out to the second baseman, Lege scored from third on a single by team captain Wood. The Rebels led 10-6.
Groff added to the lead with a single to left, scoring Wood and Maddox for a six-run advantage for Ole Miss at 12-6 after eight complete innings.
In the top of the ninth, Nichols went back to the mound to finish things up.
In the early stages of the game, right-handed starter Grayson Saunier gave up no runs in the top of the first inning, although Maryland threatened. Ole Miss picked up a run in the bottom of the first for a 1-0 lead. After Groff walked, Alderman doubled to score Groff.
The Terrapins tied the game in the second inning but left three stranded as Saunier continued to compete in the early-going.
In the bottom of the second, Lege had gotten things going for Ole Miss with a single up the middle off Maryland starter Nick Dean. After Will Furniss struck out and Chatagnier flew out to right, Reagan Burford walked. Gonzalez then had a solid at-bat and wound up with a single that bounced past the first baseman and stayed fair to score Lege. Groff flew out to right, and it was 2-1 Ole Miss after two.
In the third inning, Saunier gave up a one-out solo home run to Ian Petrutz. After a hit by pitch, a strikeout, and a walk, the true freshman's day was done. Saunier's line: 2.2 innings, two runs, one earned, on two hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
Freshman Sam Tookoian came in and got the final out of the inning, a strikeout by Bobby Zmarzlak. The score was tied 2-2.
In the top of the fourth Tookoian was strong, striking out three Terrapins. In the bottom of the fourth, Ole Miss scored two runs as Groff singled to left to plate Furniss, who had singled, and Burford, who had walked.
In the fifth, walks haunted the Rebels. Five of them contributed to three Terrapin runs, and the visitors led 5-4 heading to the bottom of the frame. Matt Parenteau came in to pitch for Tookoian when Ole Miss was leading 4-3. But two walks later, the Terps were up a run. A popup to third baseman Lege, who made a nice catch in front of the Maryland dugout, ended the inning.
Left-hander Kyle McCoy replaced Dean to start the inning. Ole Miss got a couple aboard on singles by Gonzalez and Groff with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. But the Rebels couldn't get them home, and that left things 5-4 with the visitors still leading.
The Rebels dominated the offensive statistics with 14 hits to four for the Terrapins.
J.T. Quinn, the fourth of five pitchers for Ole Miss got the win and is 2-0. The second pitcher of five for Maryland, McCoy (0-1), got the loss.