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Dillard’s walk-off home run gives Rebels a 7-6 win, series victory over Long Beach State

Dillard’s walk-off home run gives Rebels a 7-6 win, series victory over Long Beach State

OXFORD, Miss. — The first six innings in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader between Ole Miss and Long Beach State were, essentially, a classic pitcher’s duel. But both offenses exploded in the latter innings as a total of ten runs were scored from the seventh inning, on—including Thomas Dillard’s walk-off to right field that gave the Rebels a 7-6 win and a series victory. 

On the mound 

JUCO transfer Zack Phillips notched his best start of the season for Ole Miss, allowing two runs on four hits in five complete innings. Phillips, who threw 83 total pitches, tallied five strikeouts against only two walks. 

Conner Green, who has become yet another talented middle reliever option for head coach Mike Bianco, took the mound in the sixth and dazzled in his two perfect innings of relief. 

Green’s breaking ball had real life to it, and his solid fastball got by several LBSU hitters. He threw just 20 total pitches, giving up no runs, no hits, and no walks. He faced six batters and struck out two of them. 

Taking the lead

Down 2-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Rebels scored three runs to take their first lead of the game, 4-2. 

A wild pitch scoring Carl Gindl from third, along with and back-to-back doubles from Ryan Olenek and Tyler Keenan, put an end to a four-inning scoreless streak at the hands of Long Beach State’s Adam Seminaris. 

Late-game fireworks

Up 4-2 going into the top of the eighth, closer Parker Caracci entered the game for the Rebels. However, after walking three batters, he gave way to Doug Nikhazy who came in with bases loaded and one out. 

LBSU tied it up at 4-4 with a double from Jacob Hughey. After Cole Joy was intentionally walked, the Dirtbags took a 6-4 lead on a two-RBI single from Tyler Porter. Only one of those eighth-inning runs was earned for Nikhazy. 

In the bottom half of the inning, some small ball from the Rebels paid off as Bianco’s bunch brought two across the plate to tie it at 6-6 heading to the final inning. 

Plays of the game

On a passed ball in the top of the ninth inning, with the game tied, Ole Miss catcher Cooper Johnson grabbed a passed ball and saved a run from crossing the plate. Johnson’s athleticism enabled the Rebs to get to the bottom of the inning stilled tied at 6-6—which is where the next play of the game occurred. 

With one out and nobody on base, Thomas Dillard was looking at a 3-0 count from Long Beach State’s Dylan Spacke. On the next pitch, Dillard launched the ball to the student section and beer showers ensued as he hammered his sixth home run of the season, assuring Ole Miss of the series victory. 

About The Author

Archie Breland

Archie has been an Ole Miss fanatic since day one. Born in Denver, Colorado, he has a passion for everything Ole Miss and loves to be part of the great gameday experience. He is currently a freshman at the University of Mississippi and is studying the field of Journalism and Law. Archie played football in high school and also has extensive knowledge of all things college athletics.

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