LAFAYETTE, La. — Pinch-hitter Colby Bortles broke open the game with a two-run single in Mississippi’s three-run eighth inning as the Rebels beat Louisiana-Lafayette 5-2 on Sunday night to tie their super regional series.
The teams will play a deciding Game 3 on Monday night.
Ole Miss scored the go-ahead run when center fielder Seth Harrison dropped a flyball hit by Will Allen. Sikes Orvis then singled to load the bases, setting it up for Bortles — the younger brother of Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles.
"That’s the game and the game has crazy things that happen to it," Rebels coach Mike Bianco said. "If you’re there for 60-something games, you see all kinds of stuff. Some of those breaks go your way. You just have to keep battling and that’s what the kids did.
"We locked in and hung in there."
Preston Overbey hit a solo home run in the seventh inning to put the Rebels (45-19) up 2-1.
"My job is when the pitcher makes a mistake to capitalize on it," Overbey said. "He left it up and I got it."
But Blake Trahan answered for the Ragin’ Cajuns (58-9) with an RBI single in the eighth, scoring Mike Strentz from second to tie it at 2.
Christian Trent (9-0) went seven innings for the win, while Carson Baranik (11-1) took the loss.
Overbey said the Rebels have been in this situation before and the experience allowed them to stay up and get the three-run eighth.
"We knew it was a matter of time before it exploded," Overbey said. "We came back in the dugout and told everyone to stay up, keep positive and get someone on."
Ole Miss scored in the first inning when Allen doubled to right field, scoring Austin Anderson from first base and giving the Rebels a 1-0 lead.
A pair of errors by the Rebels scored Louisiana-Lafayette’s first run when Overbey had an errant throw to first allowing Harrison to reach. Dylan Butler then doubled and Harrison ran passed third. The throw to Allen, the Ole Miss catcher, was in time, but he dropped the ball and Harrison scored.
"Nobody could get the right hit at the right time," ULL coach Tony Robichaux said. "We gave them a little crack and they crawled through it. Give them credit."
Trent allowed four hits in seven innings and said he felt strong, even with the pressure involved in an elimination game.
"My routine stayed the same and I felt the same going out there," Trent said. "Nothing really changed. Normally off-speed plays a bigger role, but tonight the fastball was what I used a lot."