Top seed Ole Miss falls to fourth seed Utah 6-5 in NCAA Regional opener
Oxford, Miss. – Going into the Oxford Regional, Utah was recognized more for its pitching; however, on Friday night against favored Ole Miss, the Utes’ found enough offensive firepower to defeat the home team and send the Rebels to an elimination game on Saturday.
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Fourth-seed and Pac-12 champion Utah (26-27), led by its starting pitcher Jayson Rose, defeated the top-seeded Rebels 6-5 in extra innings of the NCAA Oxford Regional at Swayze Field Friday evening and will now play No. 3 seed Boston College (32-20) on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. CST.
The Rebels (43-18) will play in the loser’s bracket against the No. 2 seed Tulane Green Wave (39-20) at 1:00 p.m. CST. Tulane lost 7-2 in the first game against the Eagles.
Afterwards, Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco credited Utah for a great game.
Utah’s Rose threw for six innings, finishing with four strikeouts on 112 pitches. Riley Ottesen and Dylan Drachler followed and were also impressive as well, giving up only three hits to an Ole Miss team that has been accustomed all season long to getting more.
The loss against the Utes was the Rebels’ first home loss this season against an unranked opponent. Ole Miss also fell to 15-2 in NCAA Regional games they host.
After scoring three in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game, Utah was scoreless until the top of the 10th inning. Chandler Anderson came in as the pinch runner for Kellen Murraffo who had singled up the middle. Simmons, then, doubled to right center field to send in Anderson for the unearned score.
Simmons was 3-for-4 at bat with a RBI.
“I couldn’t be more proud of 27 guys that kept going and pushing and ultimately in the 10th got a big hit and got the win,” Utes’ head coach Bill Kinneberg said. “Hats off to my guys. Great college baseball game.”
Back and forth
Both programs traded runs early on with the Utes striking in the top of the first with a Josh Rose single that scored Hunter Simmons.
In the bottom of the second, Kyle Watson hammered Rose’s fastball into centerfield for his second home run on the season to tie the game for Ole Miss.
Things got even more interesting in the fifth inning with Utah going up 2-1 after Andre Jackson scored off A.J. Young’s fly out to right field. One run was all the Utes could muster at that point.
Things were looking good for the Ole Miss faithful in the bottom of the fifth. The bases were loaded for the Rebels as Rose was in a jam after walking Watson. The Utah ace then walked Errol Robinson which brought home Ryan Olenek.
First baseman Will Golsan then singled to centerfield, scoring Watson and designated hitter Holt Perdzock, while Robinson advanced to third.
Golsan and Perdzock were solid at bat, with each going 2-for 4.
Robinson crossed home plate after Tate Blackman reached base on a fielder’s choice. At that point, it looked as if the Rebels had done enough to fight off the pesky Utes. But Utah refused to go away, showing why they were crowned Pac-12 champions last Sunday.
Utah answered Ole Miss’ big inning with a strong outing of its own in the top of the sixth, scoring three runs to tie the game at 5-5.
Jackson reached on a fielder’s choice to score Cody Scaggari. Then, Rose doubled to centerfield to score Jackson and Marruffo, who reached base after being hit by an Ole Miss pitch.
As a team, the Utes totaled nine hits, while the Rebels were held to seven. Ole Miss starting pitcher Brady Bramlett took a no-decision, despite working an effective five innings and surrendering just two runs.
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco
Rebels face Tulane in elimination game
Now, the Rebels are facing an elimination game against American Athletic Conference regular season champion Tulane. Despite the loss to Utah, Ole Miss’ Robinson is confident his team has what it takes to go on a run.
Errol Robinson, Ole Miss shortstop
The game with Tulane is set for 1 p.m. CT. Sophomore lefty David Parkinson will square off against Tulane right hander Alex Massey. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and can be heard on the Ole Miss IMG Sports Network.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)