OXFORD, Miss. – After losing the first game of their opening SEC series Friday, No. 6 Ole Miss regrouped and defeated Tennessee 7-1 in a convincing, game-two victory on St. Patrick’s Day. (Click here for box score.)
Brady Feigl (5-0) notched an impressive six and a third innings worth of work on Saturday, earning his fifth win of the year. He was absolutely on fire through the first three when he notched seven K’s, and he finished the day allowing only four hits and one earned run with nine total strikeouts.
“[Rolison] pitched tremendous last night; some stuff just didn’t go our way,” Feigl said after Saturday’s win.
“The biggest thing is to punch back…between the offense, the defense and the pitching today I think we did very well.”
Ole Miss pitcher Brady Feigl
Ole Miss took a 2-0 lead on the Vols, just as they did on Friday, but this time Tennessee wouldn’t stick around for too long. Ole Miss would put up six runs in the first four innings to quickly crush the Vols’ hopes.
“Last night wasn’t the result we wanted,” head coach Mike Bianco said. “I think all of us wanted to see how they would respond today and certainly they responded well, much like they did at Long Beach after a loss.”
Two-out hitting part of Ole Miss success
Two-out hitting has been a big part of the Rebels’ success so far this year and this trend continued early. In the second inning with two outs, Tyler Keenan walked, Tim Rowe singled, and Jacob Adams scored them both with a double and a little help from a Tennessee outfielder.
“He’s played two years of college baseball. He’s mature, he gets it,” Kessinger said of Adams.
“He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now, and it shows by the way he’s playing.”
Grae Kessinger on Jacob Adams
The Rebels added another run in the third after Grae Kessinger stole second (4-for-4 on stolen bases this season) and scored a short time later on a passed ball.
“We were much better offensively today for whatever reason,” Bianco said. “We wish we had the answer for that.”
The fourth saw Ole Miss separate from Tennessee when the Rebels racked up three runs. Adams smacked another double, his second of the day, down the right-field line that scored two, making it 5-0. Kessinger followed up with an RBI grounder.
“Jacob missed the entire fall with a broken foot so he only had three weeks to really get into it,” Bianco said. “He’s played well since he stepped on the field in January.”
In the sixth, Feigl found himself in quite a jam. With his team up 6-1 with the bases loaded and no outs, Feigl showed why he’s the Saturday starter. He made quick work of the jam by first forcing a fly ball and then, one batter later, making the batter hit into a double play.
“That was huge,” Kessinger said.
“Feigl did a great job in a tough situation. It just shows how we keep our poise, stay confident and we made a big play there.”
Grae Kessinger on Brady Feigl getting out of 6th inning jam
Tennessee hit a homer to end the shutout in the fifth, but that was quickly nullified when Kessinger hit one off the wall for his second RBI of the day.
(Grae Kessinger – Video credit: Justin Dial)
Adams and Kessinger leading the way
The win tied the series up at one heading into Sunday’s deciding game three. Adams and Kessinger have been absolutely amazing in the first two games of this series. Kessinger is a combined 6-9 at the plate with two RBI, and Adams is a nearly perfect 5-6 with four RBI.
“[Adams] is terrific,” Bianco said. “Both of them [Adams & Servideo] have played great. I’m really proud, not just of Adams, but of Servideo, Elko and Keenan. All four of those guys have been terrific.”
The Rebels and Vols will conclude the series Sunday at Swayze Field. First pitch has been moved up to Noon due to the threat of inclement weather.
(Mike Bianco – Video credit: Justin Dial, The Rebel Walk)