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USC batters hold off Rebels

South Carolina's DeAngelo Mack (17) scores in the first inning against Mississippi in an NCAA college baseball game on Friday, April 10, 2009.
South Carolina's DeAngelo Mack (17) scores in the first inning against Mississippi in an NCAA college baseball game on Friday, April 10, 2009.

OXFORD, Miss. — Great starting pitching was one of the main reasons No. 14 Mississippi had an eight-game winning streak coming into Friday night’s game against South Carolina.

Once that disappeared, so did the streak.

Ole Miss ace Drew Pomeranz was chased after giving up nine runs in 1 ð innings, and the Rebels offense couldn’t quite make up the difference in a 12-10 loss to USC at Oxford-University Stadium.

USC started the slugfest with five runs in the first inning, all with two outs. With the bases loaded, Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run single, and Justin Dalles followed with a three-run homer.

But Pomeranz wasn’t the sole problem. Two Rebel fielding miscues — including an error and a late throw on a fielder’s choice — helped load the bases. Because of that, all five first-inning runs were unearned.

Ole Miss (24-9, 8-5 SEC) scored two runs in the bottom of the first to pull to within 5-2, but the Gamecocks responded with four more runs in the second, which sent Pomeranz (3-1) to the dugout early and forced the Rebels to play catchup.

USC (22-11, 6-7) ripped 15 hits. Leadoff hitter Whit Merrifield was 5-for-6 with a double, triple and three runs scored.

The Rebels’ offense put up a fight against South Carolina ace Sam Dyson (5-2), who gave up seven runs, five earned, in 5 ð innings.

Trailing 12-8 in the ninth inning, the Rebels had one more rally in them, loading the bases with one out.

Jordan Henry grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring a run to make it 12-9 with two outs. Then Power singled, knocking in another run to pull within two. But Matt Snyder struck out swinging to end the game.

Mississippi’s Evan Button and Logan Power both hit two-run homers. Matt Smith was 3-for-4 with an RBI, and leadoff hitter Jordan Henry reached base four times and had two stolen bases.

The marathon game lasted four hours and one minute.

Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco wasn’t around to see the end. He was ejected in the sixth inning by home plate umpire Mark Chapman for arguing balls and strikes.

Chapman ejected Bianco as he was standing in the dugout, but the Ole Miss coach got his money’s worth afterward, running out onto the field and engaging in a nose-to-nose argument for a few minutes before leaving the field.

Ole Miss faces South Carolina again today at 5 p.m.

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