Los Angeles Regional: Ole Miss exits tourney after 2-1 loss to CSUB
The Ole Miss baseball team concluded its season following a 2-1 loss to CSU Bakersfield in an elimination game in the Los Angeles Regional on Saturday, May 30. The Rebels (30-28) lost the opening game of the Regional to Maryland on Friday night.
CSU Bakersfield, the No. 4 seed, moves on to play No. 1 seed UCLA (43-14), following the Bruins’ 4-1 loss to No. 3 seed Maryland (40-21) Saturday night.
Neither Ole Miss nor CSU Bakersfield excelled at the plate. The Rebels hit .219, going 7-for-32. CSU Bakersfield was not much better–batting .241 on 7-for-29 hitting–but a two-run home run by first baseman Soloman Williams in the bottom of the fourth was enough to seal the win for the Roadrunners.
Coach Bianco spoke afterwards about the loss and expressed pride in his team for their play this season:
I’m really proud of my guys. It hasn’t been the easiest year. Our guys have hung in there and I’m proud of our seniors for keeping the tradition going. We go to Omaha last year and this was one of those years that we could have fallen backwards and they didn’t let that happen. They represented the program in such a great way and got back to the postseason for the 20th time as a program and that’s something I’m really proud of. Obviously I’m disappointed about today.
Hitting vs. CSUB
Sophomore shortstop Errol Robinson let the Rebels at the plate, going 3-for-4 on the night, including a double to lead off the fifth inning.
After the game, Woodman commented on Ole Miss’ inability to get a hit when needed. “We couldn’t get the big hit when the runners were on base,” he said. “We set them up but couldn’t get the big hit to knock them in. That’s something you have to be better at to win baseball games.”
Ole Miss stranded six total runners on base in the game, while Bakersfield left five.
Pitching vs. CSUB
Redshirt sophomore pitcher Brady Bramlett (7-4) was credited with the loss for the Rebels, following seven innings of solid work. He threw 108 pitches, giving up seven hits and two runs (both earned), while striking out five. “I felt great today,” he said. “My fastball command was there. It was just one of those games. But I felt great from the beginning.”
Coach Bianco praised Bramlett for his outing: “I thought Brady was terrific,” he said. “The truth of the matter is, he didn’t make one mistake, I made one mistake,” he said, referring to the home run.
Bianco went on to explain: “We tried to sneak a fastball into (Soloman) Williams and obviously he got all of it and really, that was the baseball game. But Brady was terrific; we just didn’t have an answer for (Hayden) Carter. We knew he could pitch like that. He’s just a guy that throws it in the cup and makes it real difficult on the offense.”
Following Bramlett’s exit, lefty sophomore Wyatt Short came in and had another strong outing, facing three batters and retiring all three.
In the top of the fifth, Ole Miss came close to tying the game. Errol Robinson was on second, following his lead-off double. Next up, second baseman Will Golsan grounded out to second, advancing Robinson to third.
Sophomore third baseman Colby Bortles was up next and launched a monster hit to deep center, but an incredible catch by Bakersfield’s Logan Trowbridge squashed what could have been a two-run homer. Robinson did score, however, and the Bakersfield lead was cut to 2-1, which would remain the score until the end.
The Rebels got runners on in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings; however, they wouldn’t get farther than second base.
Coach Bianco reiterated how proud he is of the team and the way they competed this season. “I’m proud of them. I know that there was a time in the season where it didn’t look good,” he said. “At one point we were 16-18 and had lost four in a row and got shut out at Vanderbilt. We challenged our guys and they responded.”
Putting it all in perspective
The Rebels’ head coach put matters in perspective. “At the end of the day,” he said, “we had a winning record in the number one baseball conference in the country, were a number two seed and played the country’s most difficult schedule and these guys have a lot to be proud of. They won’t be proud tonight and probably not for a couple weeks, but their coach is proud of them.”
The L.A. Regional was the 13th appearance for Ole Miss in the NCAA Tournament in 15 seasons under Coach Bianco.