OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss and Alabama exchanged a couple of big innings Saturday at Swayze Field, but in the end the Rebels fell short, losing 8-6 to Alabama in Southeastern Conference action.
(Click here for box score.)
Though Ole Miss fell behind 2-0 after the top of the second, the Rebs came roaring back as they scored five runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Cooper Johnson got things started with a single up the middle. Jacob Adams was then hit by a pitch, followed by back-to-back base hits from Grae Kessinger and Anthony Servideo that plated two.
Tyler Keenan then scored Kessinger on an RBI groundout. Thomas Dillard drew a walk and Anthony Servideo came home on a wild pitch. The Tide changed pitchers, but it didn’t stop Ryan Olenek from hitting a single through the left side to score Dillard and cap the five-run inning.
Neither team scored in the third, and the Rebels held a 5-2 lead going into the top of the fourth. But Alabama fought back, scoring four in the inning to regain the lead over Ole Miss, 6-5.
During the inning, catcher Cooper Johnson made a fantastic throw to get the Tide runner out at first.
T4 | Cooper Johnson isn't messing around today… 👌 pic.twitter.com/KYO0S3FXWy
— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) March 16, 2019
Ole Miss would tie things up in the bottom half of the frame as Servideo showed his speed, going all the way from first to home as a ball bounced off the foot of the Alabama second baseman.
With the two teams tied at six, the Tide would load the bases in the seventh with no outs. But freshman Doug Nikhazy took the mound for the Rebels and notched back-to-back strikeouts and a flyout to end the Alabama threat.
In the eighth, after Alabama’s leadoff single, the Rebels turned to Ryan Olenek who came on in relief of Nikhazy. The senior struck out the first two batters he faced, but a ‘Bama single and a double pushed the Tide lead to 8-6.
It looked as if the Rebs might retake the lead in the bottom of the eighth as Kessinger and Keenan were on base with one out as Thomas Dillard stepped up to bat. Dillard fought hard in his at-bat, fouling off six straight pitches, but ultimately grounded into a double play that ended the inning.
In the ninth, Ole Miss’ Cole Zabowski drew a walk, but the final two batters went down swinging to end the comeback hopes of the Rebels.
Starter Zack Phillips went 1.2 innings on the mound, and the Rebels ultimately used seven pitchers in the contest. Nikhazy was tagged with the loss.
With the series tied, the Rebels and Alabama will play the rubber game Sunday at 1:30 p.m. CT.
- Ole Miss falls to 13-6 overall and 1-1 in SEC play.
- Grae Kessinger posted his sixth multi-hit game of the season, going 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Kessinger has reached base in each of the last seven games.
- Anthony Servideo came through with his fifth multi-hit game of the season, going 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI.
- Catcher Cooper Johnson was outstanding defensively, including throwing his sixth baserunner out this season.
- Max Cioffi turned in his fourth scoreless outing of the season, going 1.1 without a hit allowed, striking out three and walking one.
- Tyler Myers came through with his second consecutive scoreless outing and his fourth of the season, turning in one perfect inning of work without allowing a walk or hit.
(“Quick Hits” are courtesy of Ole Miss Baseball.)
Here is postgame video of head coach Mike Bianco and right fielder Anthony Servideo following the 8-6 loss to Alabama. (Video credit: John Mark Bourne, The Rebel Walk)
Head coach Mike Bianco