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BLOG: Offense propels Rebels to winner’s bracket in SEC tourney

HOOVER, Ala. — The middle part of the lineup has been a part of the Ole Miss offense that people have been waiting to score runs consistently.

They did so on Wednesday.

The No. 7-seeded Rebels exploded for 12 hits to defeated No. 2 seed South Carolina, 10-4, to advance on to the winner’s bracket of the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. Ole Miss (42-16) will face Vanderbilt, which defeated Texas A&M 6-5 earlier in the day, Thursday at 4:30 p.m. for the right to advance to the semifinal round Saturday.

The offense came in bunches from center fielder J.B. Woodman, catcher Henri Lartigue and third baseman Colby Bortles as the trio combined to go 8-for-11 with a home run, three walks and seven runs batted in.

In late March, South Carolina starter Clarke Schmidt held Ole Miss to just one run on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings of work. It was not the same story in Hoover as the Rebels roughed him up for seven runs, four earned, on seven hits.

Woodman got the scoring started in the first with an RBI double that plated Tate Blackman, and Woodman would score off a throwing error by South Carolina shortstop Marcus Mooney, who sent the ball into the Ole Miss dugout on the third-base side.

Lartigue provided more cushion in the third inning with an RBI single that scored Errol Robinson. Woodman would once again reach home on the second of what would be five Gamecock errors on the day, this time by center fielder Dom Thompson-Williams. Lartigue worked his way back around to home when Bortles reached on a fielding error by third baseman Jonah Bride to make it a 5-0 game after three innings.

South Carolina (42-14) fought back, scoring two runs in the third to make it a 5-2 game.

Bortles doubled in the fifth inning to once again score Lartigue and Woodman to make it 7-4, and Lartigue hit a three-run home run, his fourth of the season, for the winning margin in the eighth inning.

David Parkinson faced South Carolina out of the bullpen last meeting and worked 4 1/3 innings of five-hit, one-run baseball. On Wednesday, he went 5 2/3 innings and gave up two runs, both earned, on five hits and struck out six while walking two Gamecock batters.

With the bases loaded for South Carolina in the sixth, Andy Pagnozzi came in and got the Rebels back into the dugout with one pitch. Will Stokes earned his seventh save of the season, working the final three innings of scoreless baseball.