Fifteen innings into Ole Miss' road trip to Nashville, the Rebels looked exactly like the team we had all but written off the week before. Having looked utterly helpless in an impotent 6-0 loss on Thursday night, they were down 5-1 heading into the top of the ninth inning on Friday, three outs from dropping a fourth conference series in five weeks. But with the bases loaded, Colby Bortles went yard for a game-tying grand slam to send it to extras. Seven innings, 10 Scott Weatherby strikeouts and a clutch RBI double from Henri Lartigue later, the Rebs pulled out a 6-5, 16-inning W.
Less than 24 hours later, Ole Miss rallied back from a seventh-inning deficit to finish off the improbable weekend comeback, downing a No. 1 team for the second time this season (the other being Florida).
So what do we make of Mike Bianco's bunch through five SEC weekends? On one hand, they've gone 2-4 against Arkansas and Tennessee, both of whom were last in their respective divisions at the time of their face-off with Ole Miss. On the other hand, the Rebs are now 5-4 against three separate top-ranked teams.
Thursday: Vanderbilt 6, Ole Miss 0
Friday: Ole Miss 6, Vanderbilt 5 (16 innings)
Saturday: Ole Miss 5, Vanderbilt 4
Takeaways from the weekend
1. That Friday comeback, though...
The Rebs had done nothing with the bats at all in Game 2, looking lost at the plate through the first eight frames. But the Vandy closer was in a charitable mood, hitting the leadoff man and walking the next two to put ducks on the pond in the top of the ninth. With no outs and facing a 1-1 count, Bortles left the yard.
With Wyatt Short and Weathersby combining to keep Vandy off the board in extras, Lartigue finally broke through with an RBI double in the top of the 16th, providing the winning run.
2. Scott Weathersby DA GOD.
Somewhat lost in the glare of Bortles' heroic blast is Weathersby's even more heroic six-inning relief outing. He got shoved into the game in the 11th to clean up Wyatt Short's two-on, no-out mess and promptly walked the first batter to load the bases. But two clutch strikeouts and a pop-up later, he was out of the jam. Over the next five innings, he added eight more Ks (for a total of 10) while allowing just two hits and a walk ... all against the second highest scoring offense in the conference.
3. Sam Smith has found his spot.
For as much time as I've spent dogging Smith for his horrible Sunday starting stint, I'd be wrong not to point out how well he's pitched since being moved to the bullpen. His latest outing was a clutch two innings in the rubber game on Saturday, holding the Commodores hitless while his offense picked up two runs in the seventh to jump back in front for good.
In his five relief outings this season, Smith owns a 2.48 ERA, compared to his 10.13 ERA over five Sunday starts.
4. Will Golsan has taken over the second base gig.
Coming into the season, it was a foregone conclusion that highly-touted recruit Tate Blackman would be the Rebels' starting second baseman -- he was even picked to win SEC Freshman of the Year. But it's been Golsan who's locked down the spot. In fact, the freshman leads the team in batting average right now (the fact that his .284 is the club-high is an issue unto itself).
Golsan's been shaky at times in the field (six errors), but he did make this ridiculous play on Friday: