No. 14 Ole Miss uses late rally to defeat No. 15 Vanderbilt and win series
OXFORD, Mississippi – After splitting the Friday and Saturday games with Vanderbilt, Ole Miss fought hard Sunday, winning the rubber game of the series over the Commodores and improving to 14-6 overall and 2-1 in SEC play.
Friday: Ole Miss 1, Vanderbilt 0
Friday saw the Rebels pitching staff push its shut-out streak to 45 innings. Right-handed starter and reigning SEC Pitcher of the Week David Parkinson went six complete innings for Ole Miss. Parkinson gave up three hits, issued four walks and struck out five Vanderbilt Commodores. He earned the win and improved his record to 4-1 on the season.
Ole Miss recorded its lone run in the sixth inning with a one-out single by senior third baseman Colby Bortles, followed by a walk of freshman designated hitter Thomas Dillard. Pinch hitter Tim Rowe then singled to left field to plate Bortles. That was all the offensive production the Rebels would need as they took the SEC-opener by a final score of 1-0.
Both Will Stokes and closer Dallas Woolfolk looked solid in relief, giving up only one hit between the two of them. Woolfolk pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning and recorded two strike-outs for his fifth save.
Head Coach Mike Bianco complimented Parkinson on his ability to make pitches with runners on base saying he was “…proud of him for that because that’s one of the things he struggled with early in the year. He battled the whole game.”
Saturday: Vanderbilt 6, Ole Miss 2
The wind changed direction for Saturday’s game, as did the fortunes of the Ole Miss baseball team. Vanderbilt recorded home runs from Jeren Kendall, Will Toffey, and Stephen Scott, while the Rebels managed a double from Will Golsan and a late-inning solo home-run by DH Thomas Dillard.
The three home runs were all Vandy needed as the Commodores out-scored Ole Miss by a final score of 6-2. Golsan was the only Rebel to record multiple hits on the day.
Pitching, the usual strength of the Ole Miss team, was not quite up to its typical level Saturday as starter Brady Feigl gave up four runs in 5 ⅓ innings pitched on five hits and two walks. Feigl’s record sits at 2-2 on the season. Relievers Andy Pagnozzi and Houston Roth also gave up a run each. Conner Green finished the game for the Rebels, pitching ⅔ of an inning while striking out the only two Commodores he faced.
After the game, Rebel skipper Mike Bianco noted that the sixth inning on the bases proved to be a “tough one,” with Will Golsan thrown out at the plate from the outfield and centerfielder Ryan Olenek thrown out at third base on the same play. Bianco also added: “We need to attack the strike zone a little better.”
Sunday: Ole Miss 10, Vanderbilt 8
Sunday was a wild game in which Vanderbilt had the lead or was tied for the lead throughout the first 7 ½ innings. But the Rebels never game up, battling and scoring runs when they could. Ole Miss scored two runs in the first, one in the fifth, three in the sixth, one in the 7th, and, finally, three big runs in the eighth inning that would clinch the game for the home team.
One might say the Rebels’ bats finally came to life after a bit of a slump. Colby Bortles recorded his fifth home run of the season in the eighth inning to tie the game at 8-8. Bortles also notched two RBIs.
Tim Rowe homered in the seventh, while Will Golsan had two hits, one run scored, and one RBI. Others scoring runs included Tate Blackman (2), Ryan Olenek (1), Kyle Watson (1), and Chase Cockrell (1). Centerfield Ryan Olenek left the game in the sixth inning after being hit by a pitch in much the same location as he was on Saturday.
Sunday’s win was a true team effort from the Ole Miss pitching staff, as freshman starter Will Etheridge went 3 ⅓ innings, Greer Holston pitched 2 ⅓, and Ryan Rolison recorded an out. Will Stokes came in for an inning, and Dallas Woolfolk closed the game out, pitching the 8th and 9th to record his first victory on the season.
What’s Next for Ole Miss?
The Rebels hit the road for a mid-week match-up against regional foe Memphis on Tuesday, March 21, with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. (CT).
Then, Ole Miss prepares for a weekend series at red-hot Kentucky. The Wildcats swept their opening series at Texas A&M. Ole Miss vs. Kentucky will be a Thursday-Friday-Saturday series with start times scheduled for 6:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 11:00 a.m. (CT), respectively.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)