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Wright State evens series after 9-5 win over Ole Miss

Wright State evens series after 9-5 win over Ole Miss

OXFORD, Miss. — With bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, the No. 10-ranked Ole Miss baseball team looked poised to make a dramatic, ninth-inning comeback against Wright State Saturday at Swayze Field. Unfortunately, the Rebels came up just short, falling 9-5 to the Raiders in Game 2 of the series. 

(Click here for box score.)

After the Rebels’ 10-1 win in Game 1, the rubber match is set for Sunday at noon.

In the first four innings, Wright State notched eight runs, and the Rebels were forced to play catch-up the remainder of the game. Wright State outhit Ole Miss 12 to eight.

Junior Zack Phillips takes the loss for the Rebels after going 2.2 innings. His line for the day sits at five runs (four earned), seven hits, two walks, and one strikeout. 

“It was just one of those days the ball didn’t go my way,” Phillips said after the game.

They just found the holes. There are some pitches I could have made better. I have to flush it, move on and get ready for next week.” 

Ole Miss pitcher Zack Phillips

Junior Taylor Broadway (0.2 innings pitched), sophomore Max Cioffi (3.2 IP), and freshman Kaleb Hill (2.0 IP) took the mound in relief for the Rebs. 

Cioffi set career bests in innings pitched and strikeouts (five), holding Wright State scoreless and only allowing one hit from the middle of the fourth until the end of the seventh. 

Hill, who made his collegiate debut coming in after Cioffi, gave up  no runs in the eighth and just one run in the ninth. He held the Raiders to one hit and recorded his first career strikeout. 

Ryan Olenek (2) and teammates celebrate after his two-run homer. (Photo: Ole Miss Athletics)

In the fifth inning, Ole Miss finally got on the board when Cooper Johnson’s RBI single scored Chase Cockrell, followed by Ryan Olenek‘s two-run home run. 

In the eighth inning, Thomas Dillard hit a huge solo home run to bring the Rebels to within three, 8-5. After a Raiders’ run scored in the ninth inning, Ole Miss responded with bases loaded with two outs, but it just wasn’t quite enough and the game ended, 9-5. 

“I’m disappointed we didn’t have some better at-bats,” Coach Bianco said. “Not trying to take anything away from him (Wright State pitcher), but I just thought the first four innings we just didn’t play on any phase of the game. So we have to do a better job,” Bianco added.

Bianco was asked about his team’s resiliency as they fought back in the ninth. Ultimately, however, he said he expects them to do just that.

With the offense that we have, we feel we are always in it. But, again, we’ve got to do more, earlier in the game.

Coach Mike Bianco

True freshman Gunnar Hoglund will take the mound in his first collegiate start Sunday as the Rebels look to take the rubber game.

Quick Hits

  • Ole Miss falls to 1-1 on the season, with the series’ rubber match set for Sunday at noon.
  • Max Cioffi had a career day on the bump, going 3.2 innings in relief, his most in a Rebel uniform. The sophomore also struck out five, a career high, while holding the Raiders scoreless on just one hit.
  • Junior College transfers Zack Phillips and Taylor Broadway, as well as freshman Kaleb Hill, all made their collegiate debuts on the mound today.
  • Thomas Dillard, the 2018 Rebel home run leader, notched his first homer of the year with a solo shot to deep in the right field student section in the eighth inning. Dillard has seen nine plate appearances so far this series, and has reached base on eight of his opportunities.
  • Jacob Adams had a productive first start of the new year, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of singles.

(Quick hits are courtesy of Ole Miss Baseball.)

Up Next: 

Ole Miss and Wright State will play for the series Sunday at Noon (CT). The game will be streamed on SECN+.

Postgame Quotes:

Head coach Mike Bianco (Video: Archie Breland, The Rebel Walk)

About The Author

Evelyn Van Pelt

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--and continued as she watched Katie receive three degrees from Ole Miss, culminating with her Pharm D. in 2012. Evelyn, a member of the FWAA, USBWA and the NCBWA, 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.

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