Ole Miss falls at Memphis in extras

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, March 21, 2017

MEMPHIS — Colby Bortles produced a game-tying double in the top of the ninth to force extra innings, but timely hits in the 11th lifted Memphis to a 2-1 victory over No. 11 Ole Miss Tuesday night at AutoZone Park. The Rebels (14-7) threatened with runners on late in the game, but it was the Tigers (13-7) who claimed the win in walk-off fashion.

Bortles finished the night going 2-for-4 for another multi-hit game. Tate Blackman, Chase Cockrell and Will Golsan also added hits for the Rebels.

Making his first start of the season, Sean Johnson was efficient in a limited outing. The redshirt senior allowed only one run on two hits and one walk over four innings. Sophomore Connor Green was effective out of the bullpen, tossing a season-high 2 2/3 innings and not giving up a run.

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Memphis got four of its nine hits from center fielder Tyler Webb while first baseman Trent Turner knocked in both of the team’s runs. Starting pitcher Jonathan Bowlan went 8 1/3 innings before allowing the tying run in the ninth, and Hunter Smith (1-0) got the win in relief.

Johnson made quick work of the Tigers through the first three innings, allowing only one hit and one walk while keeping the home team off the scoreboard. However, Bowlan forced groundball after groundball from Ole Miss hitters to continue the pitcher’s duel.

The Tigers broke through in the bottom of the fourth as a leadoff double plus a wild ball four put runners on the corners with one out. During the next at-bat, Johnson got the grounder he needed, but it wasn’t enough for a double play. The RBI groundout put Memphis ahead 1-0 after four frames.

In the top of the sixth, Memphis planned to increase its advantage with back-to-back base hits to start the inning. The spark forced Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco to call on Green out of the bullpen, and the sophomore got the job done. First, Green issued a groundball double play before getting another Tiger to pop up in foul territory, ending the threat without Memphis adding any runs.

The game remained at 1-0 until Bortles provided the game-tying double with one out in the top of the ninth.