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Ole Miss drops opening game of series to A&M, 8-9

Ole Miss drops opening game of series to A&M, 8-9

COLLEGE STATION – Following an SEC sweep of Eastern Division foe South Carolina last weekend, Ole Miss (32-12, 13-8 SEC) looked to continue its winning ways with a trip west to face Texas A&M ( 25-22, 5-16 SEC).

While the opening game of the series was not necessarily a “must-win” for Ole Miss, the Rebs need a series victory to buoy their resume — especially with the NCAA College Baseball committee narrowing potential regional sites to 20 next week.  But after a 9-8 walk-off loss to the Aggies Friday night at Blue Ball Park, Ole Miss now must take the next two to win the series.

(Click here for box score.)

The Red and Blue got off to a hot start, scoring three runs prior to taking the field on defense. Jacob Gonzalez took the first pitch he saw and deposited a single into left field. The freshman shortstop then scored on a double down the left field line by Peyton Chatagnier.

In somewhat of a homecoming for the sophomore from Cypress, Texas, Chatagnier, the Rebel second baseman, went 1-for-4 on the night and contributed one RBI and scored a run when Kevin Graham reached on a throwing error.  T.J.McCants drove in Graham on a sacrifice fly.

Hoglund out in the first inning

With a 3-0 lead headed to bottom of the first and reigning SEC pitcher of the week and Friday night starter Gunnar Hoglund on the hill, one would assume the Rebels were in excellent shape. However, Hoglund was not his usual self and only pitched 2/3 of an inning, departing due to what Coach Mike Bianco described as “stiffness.”

“He had some stiffness in his forearm,” Bianco explained postgame. “It just didn’t feel good. You could tell in the first inning. Velocity wasn’t bad…command wasn’t good,” he noted.

He mentioned it in the bullpen. We talked to him and he said there were just a couple of pitches in the bullpen where he said he felt a little stiff. Like three pitches warming up. Josh Porter, our trainer, looked at him and evaluated him. He said he wasn’t feeling any pain. He felt good. He wanted to go out there. Once we started noticing the command went awry, we went out there and he said he was still feeling the stiffness so that’s when we took him out.

Coach Bianco on Gunnar Hoglund

The Aggies matched the Rebels in the bottom half of the first, tying the game at three apiece.

Ole Miss broke the lead in the fourth when Gonzalez scored his second run from a Graham single to left center field.

Texas A&M plated five in the fifth inning to chase Derek Diamond who was brought in to relieve Hoglund.  Up until the fifth, Diamond had been extremely effective allowing just one hit and one walk.

Not allowing the Aggie lead to stand where it was, recent graduates Hayden Leatherwood and Cael Baker led off the sixth inning with back-to-back home runs.

Leatherwood has been red hot lately, going 8-for-16 in the last four SEC games and 3-for-5 on the night.

Graham continued the hitting from the Rebels, doubling with one out.  Graham scored on a Hayden Dunhurst single and McCants singled Dunhurst home.

In his longest outing of the year Austin Miller threw 2.2 innings of scoreless relief holding down the Aggies. “We needed that tonight,” Coach Bianco said. “Certainly his best outing. He was pretty dominant tonight.”

Jack Dougherty took the tough luck loss after allowing a solo home run in the ninth to end the game.

Next Up:

Early morning for the Rebels and Aggies Saturday with an 11 a.m. first pitch from Blue Bell Park.

(Feature image credit: Evie Van Pelt, The Rebel Walk)

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 24 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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