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Ole Miss defeats A&M to advance to SEC Championship Game

Ole Miss defeats A&M to advance to SEC Championship Game

With an SEC Tournament Championship game appearance on the line, Ole Miss and Texas A&M squared off Saturday in Hoover for the fourth time this season. In the prior three matchups, each game was decided by a single run–and the SEC semifinal matchup was no different, with Ole Miss prevailing, 2-1, over the Aggies. 

Freshman Jordan Fowler earned the win over A&M. (Photo Petre Thomas, Ole Miss)

Freshman Jordan Fowler took the hill for Ole Miss in his first SEC start and was masterful, tossing a career-high six innings of shutout baseball. He allowed six hits and just one walk, forcing the Aggies to strand five runners.  

“Tremendous job,” Ole Miss assistant coach Mike Clement said of Fowler. “He showed a lot of composure.”

Fowler earned the win and improved to 7-0 on the year. In relief, sophomore Will Ethridge pitched three innings and got the save, his third of the season.

(Click here for box score.)

Sophomore Will Ethridge earned his third save of the season. (Photo: Petre Thomas, Ole Miss)

After entering the game with a Texas A&M runner on first base, Ethridge retired the next five Aggies in order.

A&M would put together a two-out rally which produced a run and cut the score to 2-1, but Ethridge struck out Allonte Wingate on a 3-2 fastball to end the A&M threat. 

The Aggies would go quietly in order in the ninth.

After being held off the scoreboard in the first three innings, the Rebels would score all they would need in the fourth. Catcher Nick Fortes led off with a single to center field, followed by a Thomas Dillard double to right.

Fortes would then score on a fielder’s choice and Dillard would cross home plate on an RBI single by team captain Will Golsan.  Outside of the fourth, Ole Miss’ other scoring opportunity came in the seventh when Golsan led off the inning with a double.

Golsan was instrumental in the Rebels’ win, going 3-for-4 on the day with hits in the second, fourth, and seventh innings. Olenek and Fortes each tallied two hits for the Rebels in the game.

For the third game in a row, Ole Miss third baseman Tyler Keenan was held out of the lineup as he recuperates from a batting practice wrist injury. Assistant coach Mike Clement indicated after the game Keenan should be fine for upcoming NCAA regional action.

In Keenan’s place, the versatile Ryan Olenek, a usual starter in right field, stepped in at third base and had himself a day. The junior had an outstanding defensive game, including a third-to-home put out of Logan Foster that saved a run in the second inning, along with a number of backhand stop assists that led to outs, as well as starting an inning-ending double play in the fifth—Olenek to Jacob Adams at second, to Cole Zabowski at first.

“Olenek just made some great plays,” said Clement of the Florida native.

Ever the consummate team player, Olenek praised his teammates in postgame interviews.

I think we are playing pretty good baseball right now. And I think the best part about our team is when one person doesn’t do it, another person is going to pick him up right away. I think we have the toughest lineup 1-through-9, and we’ve got a really deep pitching staff. We just gotta focus on what we do best and that’s just play our game.

Ryan Olenek

Coach Clement, always thankful for the support of Rebel Nation, acknowledged the contribution of the fans. “What a home field advantage,” he said. “I lose adjectives to talk about our fan base; they’re just really special.” 

Next Up for Ole Miss

With the victory over A&M, the Rebels will be making their first trip to the SEC Championship game since 2008, when Ole Miss fell 8-2 to LSU. Ten years later, Ole Miss will again face off against the Tigers for the tourney title, following LSU’s 2-1 semifinal victory over Arkansas Saturday.

The Rebels have won the tournament twice, the last one coming in 2006 when they defeated Vanderbilt 9-3. Ole Miss’ other SEC Tournament title came in the inaugural event in 1977–held at Swayze Field.

The Rebels defeated LSU, 2-1, this year in the regular-season series. The Championship game begins at 2:00 pm and will be televised on ESPN2.

Hotty Toddy!

Chris Muller
Chris Muller

Chris is our Director of Baseball Content and Senior Baseball Writer. Muller is a 1995 Graduate of Ole Miss. He is a collegiate recreational sports professional currently residing in Arlington Texas with his wife of 25 years, Amber, and German Shorthaired Pointer, Sophie. Chris is an avid Ole Miss Baseball and Football fan. His hobbies include watching college football and baseball and playing poker with his friends.

About The Author

Chris Muller

Chris is our Director of Baseball Content and Senior Baseball Writer. Muller is a 1995 Graduate of Ole Miss. He is a collegiate recreational sports professional currently residing in Arlington Texas with his wife of 25 years, Amber, and German Shorthaired Pointer, Sophie. Chris is an avid Ole Miss Baseball and Football fan. His hobbies include watching college football and baseball and playing poker with his friends.

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