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Ole Miss edges Alabama

By By Mark Etheridge/staff writer
April 20, 2002
TUSCALOOSA Josh Christian blasted a three run homer in the eighth inning as Ole Miss stopped Alabama's 27 game home winning streak with a 4-3 win at Sewell-Thomas Stadium Friday. The Rebels handed Alabama ace Lance Cormier his first loss of the season in front of a paid attendance of 5,857.
In a battle of two of the SEC best pitchers, Alabama's Cormier and Mississippi's J.R. Pickens kept pitching into and then out of trouble.
Alabama left thirteen men on base – 9 in scoring position. Mississippi stranded nine runners.
Alabama rallied to score two runs in the eighth on a double by Scott McClanahan and had the tying run on second in the ninth but failed to score.
great crowd. Cormier was just brilliant today, tremendous. That is what
we expected. We knew it was going to be a close game.
coach Jim Wells said. "We had opportunities, but never got the big hit. (Lance) Cormier pitched well enough to win the game, we just left too many runners on base."
Alabama (33-6 12-4) scratched in the first on back-to-back two-out doubles by Peter Stonard and Jeremy Brown. The Tide would have been more if not for a super catch in rightfield by Seth Smith robbing McClanahan on a leadoff blast to the wall.
Alabama just missed a two-out two run homer in the second as the wind
pushed a Spencer Pennington flyball to right just outside the foul pole. Alabama left the bases loaded in the third.
The Rebels scored in the fourth as Drew Rogers led off with a single and
took second an an errant pickoff throw. After advancing to third on a
groundout, Rogers scored on a single to left by Matt Tolbert. Charlie
Waite then reached on an error to extend the rally. With two outs in the
inning, Burney Hutchinson walked to load the bases for the SEC's leading
hitter Smith. On a 2-2 pitch, Smith tapped to short and Cormier (8-1)
had left the bases full of Rebels.
Ole Miss (31-8 11-5) would have had another run in the sixth if not for
a fine defensive play by the Tide. Chad Sterbens doubled to right center
and tried to reach third. McClanahan hit shortstop Pavkovich with a
strong throw and Adam Pavkovich made a perfect relay throw to third to
tag Sterbens out. The next two batters singled.
Sterbens led off the Rebel eighth with a single and advanced to scoring
position on a passed ball. Rogers beat out a sacrifice attempt for a
single putting runners on the corners with no outs. Josh Christian then
belted a long homer to left giving Mississippi a 4-1 lead. Earlier this
season, Christian capped a Rebel comeback with an eighth inning grand
slam to beat LSU.
The Tide would not go quietly. Allen Rice led off the bottom of the
eighth with a bloop single to left to chase Pickens from the game.
Travis Garner greeted reliever Al Simontis with a single past the runner
at first. With one out, injured senior Brent Boyd pinch hit for Pennington. Boyd flied to center allowing Rice to reach third.
McClanahan lined one over the head of Hutchinson in left scoring Rice
and Garner. McClanahan took third as Garner just beat the play at the
plate. Reliever TJ Beam got Pavkovich to pop up stranding McClanahan at
What would the bottom of the ninth be without a Tide rally. Brown and
Hearod both reached on one out singles. With two outs, Garner watched a
1-2 Beam pitch to end the game.
Pickens, now 7-2, allowed eight hits over seven innings. TJ Beam worked
an inning and a third to pick up his fourth save of the season.
all the hype. We just had to go out and play our game. Now the momentum
is with us. They have to battle back to beat us."
Hutchinson's twelve game hitting streak was snapped on a ten pitch at
bat in the eighth. The teams will meet again Saturday and Sunday at 2