WKU can’t erase deficit, falls to Ole Miss

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By ROB HERBST

The Daily News

rherbst@bgdailynews.com/783-3238

 

OXFORD, Miss. — Western Kentucky now must take the long route if it wants to find its way through the Oxford, Miss., regional of the NCAA Tournament.

 

The No. 3 Hilltoppers spotted No. 1 Ole Miss seven runs today, and a too-little, too-late rally resulted in a 7-4 loss to the host Rebels in the second round of the regional.

 

WKU (40-19) must now win three consecutive games in two days in order to advance into the Super Regional round, beginning with a 1 p.m. elimination game against No. 2 Missouri (35-26) on Sunday. That contest is a rematch of Friday’s opener, which WKU won 11-5.

 

Sunday afternoon’s winner would then need to beat Ole Miss (42-17) twice to win the regional. The first game of the final round is 5 p.m. Sunday. If necessary, a second final-round game will be at 7 p.m. Monday.

 

WKU fell behind 7-0 in the sixth before it fought back. Oxford, Miss., native Chad Cregar hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth and Matt Rice hit a two-out, two-run single in the seventh to get WKU within 7-4, but got no closer.

 

Ole Miss winning pitcher Phillip Irwin went 6 2/3 innings and gave up four runs on 11 hits. He struck out nine.

 

WKU starter Shane Cameron suffered the loss as he battled control problems. Matt Snyder’s three-run homer to right field gave Ole Miss a 5-0 lead in the fifth and came after a pair of Cameron walks.

 

Cameron went 5 2/3 innings and gave up seven runs on nine hits and three walks. He also had four wild pitches.

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