Rebels shut out Furman in sweep; Parkinson named SEC Pitcher of the Week
OXFORD, Miss. – This past weekend, the Ole Miss baseball team completed its last non-conference series of the season with a sweep of the visiting Furman Paladins from the Southern Conference.
The Rebel pitching staff was dominant, allowing no runs throughout the whole weekend. This was Ole Miss’ first shut-out of an entire 3-game series since Nicholls came to visit March 12 – 14, 2004.
Starters junior David Parkinson, freshman Greer Holston, and sophomore Brady Feigl all exhibited great control while keeping the Paladin batters guessing at the plate. In addition to holding Furman scoreless, Ole Miss pitchers gave up zero extra base hits in 27 innings, scattering 10 singles across the three days of action.
Friday: Ole Miss 2, Furman 0
Friday night, Parkinson set the stage for the entire weekend when he took a no-hitter into the 8th inning. The lefty ended his night having faced the minimum 24 batters. He recorded a career-high nine strikeouts and only gave up the one hit, improving his season record to 3-1.
Rebel bats showed life as sophomore Ryan Olenek recorded his fifth double on the season, while junior Tate Blackman notched his sixth RBI.
Ole Miss’ junior closer Will Stokes entered the game in the ninth. He gave up a hit and a walk, before then striking out Furman right fielder David Webel and forcing left fielder Carter Crote to line into a game-ending double play.
Stokes recorded his fourth save on the season Friday night—the fourteenth of his career. The save moves Stokes into sole possession of sixth on the Ole Miss all-time saves list.
Saturday: Ole Miss 5, Furman 0
Game-time temperature Friday night was a seasonal 51 degrees, while Saturday and Sunday afternoon brought more February-like temperatures of 40 degrees and 48 degrees, respectively, with significant winds swirling around Swayze.
Though the temperature was cold, the Rebel bats got off to a hot start Saturday, with four of the five Ole Miss runs being scored in the first three innings.
In the second inning, sophomore first baseman Michael Fitzsimmons hit a two-run home run to left-center field. The home run, Fitzsimmons’ second this season, scored senior third baseman Colby Bortles, who walked to get on base.
In the Rebel portion of the third inning, Ole Miss manufactured a pair of runs: the first on a double steal, which saw sophomore centerfielder Ryan Olenek score from third, and the second when Tate Blackman scored from second on an error by Paladin third baseman Jake Crawford.
Ole Miss definitely made the most of its opportunities on the bases Saturday. The Rebs got an insurance run in the eighth, as Will Golsan singled, advanced to second on a passed ball, advanced to third on an Olenek sacrifice fly, and scored on a Tate Blackman sacrifice fly.
On Saturday, the Rebels saw another stellar performance on the mound, this time from Brady Feigl. The redshirt sophomore pitched eight complete innings, allowing only three hits and giving up one walk en route to striking out 10 Paladins.
In five of his eight innings pitched, Feigl retired Furman in 1-2-3 fashion. His record improves to 2-1 on the season.
In the ninth inning, Stokes again entered the game for the Rebels. He allowed a lead-off single but followed that up with three consecutive fly-ball outs in a non-save opportunity.
Sunday: Ole Miss 1, Furman 0
Sunday offered Ole Miss an opportunity for a third straight non-conference sweep at home, and the Rebels didn’t disappoint. On the back of freshman pitcher Greer Holston, Ole Miss recorded its third consecutive shutout.
Holston pitched seven complete innings, only giving up two hits and two walks while recording six strikeouts. He got out of a jam in the first and settled in after that. In four of the seven innings he pitched, the Long Beach (Miss.) native retired the side in order.
Offensively, the Rebels were hampered by the double-play ball, grounding into five double-plays across the first, third, fourth, fifth, and eighth innings.
The eighth inning saw the lone Rebel run, as Kyle Watson led off with a single; Cooper Johnson moved Watson to second on a sacrifice bunt; and Watson scored on a single by pinch hitter Michael Fitzsimmons. It was Fitzsimmons’ third RBI over the weekend.
Sophomore Andy Pagnozzi struck out all three in the eighth, and sophomore Dallas Woolfolk closed down the game in the ninth, allowing a walk and a single, but no runs.
The Rebels improve to 11-5 on the season.
What’s Next for Ole Miss?
The Rebels hit the road and head to South Mississippi on Tuesday to play Nicholls at beautiful MGM Park in Biloxi. The expected starter is freshman sensation Will Ethridge. Ethridge, who enters the game with a strong 1.15 ERA on 15.2 innings pitched, has recorded 26 strikeouts on the young season.
Ole Miss returns to the friendly confines of Swayze Field Friday night at 7:00 p.m. to open SEC play in a three-game series with SEC East foe Vanderbilt. Saturday’s game is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. and Sunday’s game will be broadcasted on the SEC Network at 3:00 p.m.
(Feature image of David Parkinson courtesy of Petre Thomas, Ole Miss Athletics)