Don't pull the plug just yet -- Ole Miss is still breathing in Omaha.
Less than 48 hours after his team suffered a gut-wrenching loss to Virginia, lightly-used pinch hitter John Gatlin delivered a walkoff blooper in the bottom of the ninth to hand the Rebels a heart attack 2-1 victory over Texas Tech in an elimination game.
Ole Miss entered the bottom of the ninth having given up the tying run in the top of the frame. Colby Bortles, pinch hitting for J.B. Woodman, drew a one-out walk, then moved all the way to third after a throwing error by the Tech pitcher. Mike Bianco turned to John Gatlin -- a fifth year senior with a .103 batting average over just 29 at-bats -- with one out and runners on the corners. Facing an 0-2 count and a five-man infield alignment, Gatlin dropped a shallow blooper over second base to end the game.
It was Gatlin's second walkoff of the season, the first coming against UCF back on February 28.
Bianco really pulled out the stops at the end. He inserted three consecutive pinch hitters -- Bortles, Brantley Bell and Gatlin -- and brought in relief pitcher Aaron Greenwood as a pinch runner on third, shades of Bobby Wahl in the 2012 Florida series.
Ole Miss looked to be in control in the seventh after another pinch hitter, Holt Perdzock, broke open a scoreless game with a two-out RBI single. It should be noted that the breakthrough inning was preceded by #RallyGoggles.
Rally goggles pic.twitter.com/w1WxopvAvv— Jeff Gray (@Jeff_GraySBN) June 17, 2014
In came Scott Weathersby to close in the top of the ninth, but a one-out single put the tying run on first. Will Allen's defense behind the plate then turned problematic. The Johnny Bench Award finalist dropped a pitch while the runner took second, then made an errant throw as he stole third. A sac liner to center field allowed the tying run to score.
The first six innings of the game were excruciatingly uneventful, as Rebel starter Christian Trent and Red Raiders starter Ryan Mosley dominated on the mound. Trent kept the Rebs in the game while the offense struggled, finishing with six hits and no runs allowed over eight brilliant innings.
Mosley, a freshman with just four starts on the season, blanked the powerful Ole Miss offense for 7⅓ before being pulled (the first run of the game was charged to him). He dominated with his sinking fastball, coaxing Rebel hitters into groundouts again and again.
As in Sunday's loss, the Rebels offense was overly aggressive and their proclivity to swing at pitches early in the count allowed Mosley to keep an efficient pitch count for most of the game. He threw just 72 pitches in the first six innings and didn't see his first three-ball count until the sixth.
The Rebel offense, which was promoted as the best of the College World Series field, has managed just six hits and three runs through 18 innings in Omaha. Sluggers Sikes Orvis and Allen are a combined 0-12 in two games.
Nevertheless, clutch pitching has kept the Rebs alive. Ole Miss will play again on Thursday against the loser of TCU-Virginia. Sam Smith is expected to make the start.
Want to see something awesome? Here are the Rebel footballers reacting to the win: