An RBI single by Danny Lynch in the seventh inning proved to be the game-winner as Southern Miss ended a five-game losing streak to Ole Miss with a 5-3 win at Pete Taylor Park Wednesday night.
The Rebels had just pushed across two runs in the top of the seventh to tie the game. An RBI double from Grae Kessinger, who has reached base safely in 34-straight games, brought Ole Miss to within in a run, and Kessinger tied the game when he scored on an error.
No. 13 Ole Miss (30-16) is back in action Friday to begin its weekend SEC series at LSU. Ole Miss, LSU and Mississippi State are all 13-8 in SEC play and tied for second in the West Division.
Ole Miss reliever Max Cioffi gave up hits to the only two batters he faced in the seventh.
He was replaced by Tyler Myers, who got the Rebels out of the seventh with no further damage but not out of the eighth. That’s when he gave up a leadoff home run to Matt Wallner who provided the Golden Eagles (30-13) with a little extra cushion. It was the second homer by Wallner.
Kessinger was 2 for 5 to lead the Rebels.
Nos. 3-6 hitters — Tyler Keenan, Thomas Dillard, Cole Zabowski and Cooper Johnson — were a combined 1 for 15 for the Rebels.
“I think the story is we didn’t score,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “We didn’t have any hits. Five hits and two bleeders. We’ve just gotta do a better job offensively.”
The Rebels will face a revamped pitching lineup for LSU. After almost two seasons as the Tigers’ Friday night starter, Zack Hess will return to the bullpen this weekend against Ole Miss, a move coach Paul Mainieri feels is best both for the Tigers now and Hess’s future.
“We just think it’s the best thing for him,” said Mainieri. “Zack has come to the realization his future is probably going to be as a bullpen guy, and we think this is the way he can help the team the best.”
The move comes more than a week after Mainieri first made it, only to unmake it two minutes later when Cole Henry — Hess’ presumed replacement on Friday nights — informed the staff of arm soreness. Henry is still out for the Ole Miss series.