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Six-run sixth propels Ole Miss past Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The No. 11 Ole Miss baseball team used a two-out rally to score six runs in the sixth inning on its way to a 9-6 victory over No. 19 Kentucky Thursday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium. With the win, the Rebels (15-7, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) snapped the Wildcats’ eight-game winning streak and gave them their first loss in conference play.

The Ole Miss offense came alive in the first game of the series, pounding 14 hits that included five doubles. Freshman Grae Kessinger led the way with a team-high three hits to go along with two runs and two RBIs. The Oxford native got Ole Miss going with a two-run homer in the third, his second of the season. Five other Rebels produced multi-hit games as well in Will Golsan, Ryan Olenek, Tim Rowe, Thomas Dillard and Cooper Johnson.

Making his return to the mound after missing the last two weekends due to a mild forearm strain, sophomore James McArthur (1-1) turned in a solid outing against the SEC’s best hitting team, statistically. The New Braunfels, Texas native allowed only one run on five hits through five innings to earn the win. Dallas Woolfolk (6) worked the Rebels out of a jam in the eighth before retiring the side in the ninth to earn another save.

The Rebels got four runs on six hits off reigning SEC Pitcher of the Week Sean Hjelle (3-2). Luke Becker went 3-for5 with two doubles to pace the UK bats while T.J. Collett added a pinch-hit grand slam.

After a scoreless first two innings for both teams, the Rebels drew first blood in the top of the third. Leading off, Dillard smacked the first Ole Miss hit of the game off the wall in right. However, the hard ricochet kept the freshman at first base for a single. Two batters later, Kessinger drove a ball to the short porch in right-center field. The deep fly cleared the wall for a homer to give the Ole Miss the early 2-0 advantage.

Ole Miss will try to clinch the road series Friday night. A pair of junior lefties will take the mound as David Parkinson squares off against UK’s Zach Logue. First pitch is slated for 5:30.