Ole Miss' bats come to life in back-and-forth win over Alabama

OXFORD — Ole Miss senior left fielder Ethan Lege and sophomore first baseman Will Furniss hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning Friday night against No. 23 Alabama, and the Rebels evened their series against the Crimson Tide with a 9-8 at Swayze Field.

Friday’s game had four lead changes. The Rebels (23-19, 7-13 SEC) had five two-out RBIs.

After leading 3-0 early, Alabama (27-16, 8-12) scored the next five runs to take a 5-3 lead in the fifth. The Rebels scored four runs in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead before the Crimson Tide tied the game at seven. Lege and Furniss did their damage in the bottom of the sixth to give the Rebels the lead back for good.

Furniss went 4 for 5, his first career four-hit game. Sophomore second baseman Luke Hill finished with three hits.

“This game, I kind of felt like were going to match them the whole game,” Furniss said. “Even that four-run inning, I was just like, OK, we’re going back in and we’re going to hit the ball. We’re going to hit this game. It’s going to happen.”

Sophomore starting pitcher Liam Doyle struck out two of the first three batters he faced and five total in his 4.1 innings of work. He allowed two earned runs.

Ole Miss took the lead in the first inning on a two-out RBI double from Furniss and tacked on two more runs with two outs in the third. Alabama scored its first run of the night on a solo home run from Justin Lebron in the fourth.

Doyle left the game with one out in the fifth after making 85 pitches, giving way to sophomore J.T. Quinn. Alabama scored four runs in the fifth on an RBI single from Lebron and a three-run home run from Will Hodo, each hit coming with two strikes. Quinn gave up three earned runs in 0.1 innings of work.

The Rebels got runners to second and third with no outs in the bottom of the fifth for sophomore third baseman Judd Utermark, who tied the game with a long two-run single to centerfield. Fischer gave the Rebels the lead with his two-out double down the right-field line.

Alabama tied the game with two runs in the sixth, both coming with two outs. Lege’s solo home run led off the bottom of the inning, with the ball nearly hitting the scoreboard. Furniss then took the first pitch he saw into the Rebels’ student section. The Crimson Tide scored one run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly.

Sophomore Mason Morris and senior Connor Spencer pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively.

“To have a lead, to give it up, to have another lead, to give it up. Our guys hung in there offensively,” head coach Mike Bianco said.

Ole Miss and Alabama finish their series Saturday at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network.