OXFORD, Miss. -- The Rebels loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth while trailing by two, but reliever J. Brent Cox (Bay City, Texas) induced an inning-ending, double-play grounder to give No. 5 Texas (50-16) a 3-1 victory over No. 8 Mississippi (48-19) in front of 8,947 fans at Swayze Field during the second game of the Oxford NCAA Super Regional on Sunday, June 12.
While Cox's 16th save of the season preserved the victory for starter Adrian Alaniz (Sinton, Texas), who allowed only one run over 6.2 innings of work, it also helped the Longhorns even the series with Ole Miss at 1-1 and force a deciding third game in the Oxford NCAA Super Regional on Monday, June 13 at 6 p.m. Central on ESPN2.
While Alaniz escaped two-out jams with two runners on in each of the first three innings, Ole Miss starter Matt Maloney struck out four over the first two frames to keep the game scoreless entering the bottom of the third. In that inning, sophomore Nick Peoples (Round Rock, Texas) connected on the first home run of his career with one down to stake the Longhorns to an early 1-0 lead. One inning later in the fourth, Carson Kainer (Tomball, Texas) reached second with one down on a two-base error before scoring on a two-out, RBI-double from Will Crouch (Austin, Texas) to make the score 2-0 in favor of the Longhorns.
Texas would threaten to increase its lead in the bottom of the fifth when Peoples doubled with two outs and Drew Stubbs (Atlanta, Texas) was hit by a pitch, but Maloney got his next batter to fly out in foul territory to the third baseman to end the inning. In the top of the sixth, the Rebels looked to capitalize on back-to-back, two-out walks, but Alaniz again worked his way out of trouble with a fielder's choice grounder to send the game to the bottom of the frame. Kainer then connected on a home run to open Texas' half of the sixth and give UT a 3-0 advantage.
Ole Miss again challenged the lead in the top of the seventh by putting runners on the corners with two down courtesy of a pair of singles before left fielder Mark Wright came up with a RBI-double to left that made it a 3-1 game. Now with the tying runs in scoring position for the Rebels, Buck Cody (Oklahoma City, Okla.) came on in relief of Alaniz and got his first batter to groundout to third base and keep the Horns in front. In the eighth, Mississippi brought the tying run to the plate with two outs after a walk, but Cody fanned the next batter to end the opportunity.
After the Longhorns went quietly in the bottom of the eighth, the Rebels managed to load the bases in the ninth on a walk and two singles with one out against Cox, who entered the game to begin the frame. The 2005 NCBWA Stopper of the Year then induced his very next batter to hit into an inning-ending, 4-3 double play to preserve the victory and even the best-of-three series at one game apiece. While Alaniz picked up his sixth victory of the year after striking out six over his 6.2 innings of work, Maloney, who surrendered only two earned runs and fanned seven over seven frames, incurred the loss.
Pacing the Texas offense on the evening was the duo of Kainer and Peoples, who each posted a pair of hits, including one home run apiece, while combining to account for all three of UT's runs and two RBI. On the other side of the ledger, Ole Miss had its nine-hit attack led by Stephen Head, who went 3-for-4, and third baseman Chris Coghlan, who scored one run while also tallying a pair of hits.