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April 18, 2010

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Coach Tanner

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A solo home run by David Phillips in the top of the seventh inning lifted Ole Miss to a 5-4 victory over South Carolina in the finale of a three-game SEC baseball series at Carolina Stadium. Despite the loss, Carolina won its fifth consecutive series in SEC play and eighth straight dating back to the 2009 season. Ole Miss is now 24-13 and 8-7 in league play while the loss drops Carolina to 28-8 and 11-4 in the SEC. South Carolina returns to action on Tuesday night hosting USC Upstate with first pitch at 7 p.m.

With the score deadlocked at 4-4 in the top of the seventh, Phillips knocked the first pitch from reliever John Taylor over the right field wall to give the Rebels a one-run lead. Carolina looked to rally in the bottom half as Whit Merrifield reached on a bunt base hit and advanced to second base on a throwing error by first baseman Miles Hamblin. After a fly ball out to center field advanced Merrifield to third base, Ole Miss reliever Matt Tracy kept the potential tying run 90 feet away as a hot shot ground ball from pinch hitter Christian Walker went off the glove of Tracy and into the hands of second baseman Alex Yarbrough, who playing in would nab Walker at first base without Merrifield being able to score. After an intentional walk to Nick Ebert put runners on the corners, Tracy escaped without any damage as pinch hitter Parker Bangs knocked a line drive that was nabbed on a nice jump by second baseman Alex Yarbrough. Carolina would be unable to come away with a run in the eighth or ninth inning.

Tracy earned the win after 3.2 scoreless innings of relief for Ole Miss. He allowed one hit and one walk while striking out two batters. He is 2-2 on the year. Taylor worked two innings and allowed one run on one hit and suffered the loss for Carolina. He is also 2-2 on the year. Ole Miss reliever Brett Huber worked the ninth inning to earn his fourth save of the season.

South Carolina broke ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the third inning. Ole Miss starter David Goforth had struck out seven of the first eight batters he faced before Scott Wingo launched a solo homer to right field, his team-leading eighth of the season. That lead extended to 2-0 in the fourth inning as Adam Matthews delivered with a solo homer to left center, his third round tripper of the year.

Ole Miss jumped ahead 4-2 with four runs in the top of the fifth. A pair of walks to Taylor Hightower and David Phillips got things started for the Rebels with both runners being sacrificed to second and third by Kevin Mort. A single to left field by Tim Ferguson scored Hightower. On the play, third baseman Adrian Morales mishandled the throw in from left fielder Adam Matthews allowing Ferguson to reach second base. Phillips scored the tying run on a groundout. With two outs and a 3-0 count, Ole Miss gave Matt Smith the green light and he launched a two-run homer to left center that gave the Rebels a two-run advantage.

Carolina struck back in the bottom half of the fifth to tie it as Scott Wingo drew a leadoff walk and after a one-out single by Jackie Bradley Jr., both runners would score on Jeffery Jones two-run double to the gap in left center.

South Carolina finished with seven hits to five for Ole Miss. Merrifield was 2-for-5 to lead the Gamecocks. Smith went 2-for-4 to lead the Rebels.