The 4-seed Utes made a statement by upsetting top-seed and NCAA Oxford Regional host Mississippi Rebels, 6-5.
OXFORD, Miss.—The Cinderella story doesn’t want to come to an end for Utah just yet. Not settling for a we’re-just-happy-to-be-here attitude, the 4-seed Utes (26-27) made a statement by upsetting top-seed and NCAA Oxford Regional host Mississippi Rebels (43-18), 6-5.
Starting pitcher Jayson Rose pitched four stellar innings before struggling with Mississippi hitting in the 5th inning. As the rain fell in Oxford, the runners added up for Rose, who surrendered 4 runs and the Utes’ 2-1 lead before getting out of the inning.
Utah, known for battling from behind all year long, kept its reputation alive. After giving up a 4-spot in the 5th inning, Utah calmly responded with their bats. Josh Rose helped his brother’s cause with a 2 RBI double to score Andre Jackson and Kellen Marruffo, completing a half inning that totaled 3 runs to tie the game back up at 5.
After a 1-2-3 6th inning for Jayson Rose, it was freshman reliever Riley Ottesen’s turn. Ottesen struck out two batters en route to a three-up-three-down 7th, and held the Rebels scoreless through the ninth. A strong fastball and a sharp breaking ball kept the pro-Rebel crowd of 11,000 from seeing Ole Miss take a go-ahead run.
In the top of the 10th inning with two outs, Marruffo singled up the middle to get on base. Chandler Andersen was subbed in to pinch-run for Marruffo, and advanced to second on a passed ball. First baseman Hunter Simmons completed a 3-for-4 night with his second double, bringing in Andersen for the go-ahead run.
Ute closer Dylan Drachler came in to close out the game in the bottom of the 10th. After one out, Drachler allowed two hits, putting Utah in a pinch. After a nail-biting line-out to the left fielder Jackson, Drachler struck out Rebel catcher Henri Lartigue to close out another unlikely win for the Pac-12 champions.
Utah will next face Boston College in the 1-0 game of the Oxford Regional coming up Saturday at 4:00 p.m. MT. The game will be heard on ESPN 700, and can be seen on ESPN 3.
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