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COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Aggie taunts of “Par-ker, Par-ker” echoed throughout Olsen Field Thursday night, but Rebels’ pitcher Parker Caracci, the object of the heckling, remained unfazed.
In fact, the A&M fans’ chants fell as harmlessly as the bubbles they blow when their team scores a run.
(Click here for box score.)
Caracci dominated in No. 5 Ole Miss’ 5-4 win in Aggieland Thursday night, striking out five of the nine batters he faced and picking up a two-inning save, his second of the season.
Caracci now has 31 strikeouts to only one walk in 14.2 innings of work this season.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Caracci found himself in a jam as the Aggies (18-5, 1-3 SEC) had the bases loaded and only one out. Further amping up the stress level was a controversial call at second base that was reviewed for a whopping six minutes.
But rather than let himself become distracted by either bases filled with Aggies or the lengthy replay, Caracci stayed focused and simply notched back-to-back strikeouts of two of A&M’s best hitters–three-hole hitter Shewmake and clean-up batter Foster–to end the threat in the eighth.
Hotty Toddy! The Aggie chants of "Parker, Parker," seem to be firing Caracci up. He strikes out the Aggies' clean-up hitter!!!! Aggies leave bases loaded as we head to T9. Ole Miss leads 5-4. Due up for Rebels: Keenan, Cockrell, Adams. #HYDR #RebsBSB @Parkercaracci pic.twitter.com/dIvVdI49Tq
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) March 23, 2018
In the bottom of the ninth, Caracci retired the Aggies in order to seal the victory for Ole Miss (21-2, 3-1 SEC). Rebels’ starter Ryan Rolison put in four innings of work Thursday night, allowing four runs (three earned) and six hits. He struck out three and walked three.
Will Ethridge went in for Rolison and picked up the win for Ole Miss, only giving up two hits in over 3.0 innings and striking out six of the 13 Aggies he faced.
Down 4-2 in the top of the eighth, the Ole Miss bats came up huge. The Rebels’ inning began with a ground out, but was followed by four straight singles.
Grae Kessinger singled to left field, followed by a single from Ryan Olenek. Nick Fortes then stepped up and singled to third, scoring Kessinger and sending Olenek to third.
Thomas Dillard was up next, and he singled through the left side, scoring Olenek. Fortes advanced to third before scoring on an error by the A&M left fielder.
After the game The Rebel Walk asked head coach Mike Bianco about his team’s mental toughness and its ability to come back from the 4-2 deficit and pick up a win in an SEC road game.
Game two of the series continues Friday at 6:00 p.m. The contest will be broadcast on the SEC Network.
Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn has covered Rebel sports for numerous outlets. In addition to working for The Rebel Walk, Evelyn is a sports writer for a newspaper in Texas.