Ole Miss bats silent as Rebs drop series at Vandy with 8-0 loss in game two
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On its way to the national title last year, Ole Miss hit a bumpy spot in the schedule where the Rebels dropped a few games. Hopefully, here we go again. Perhaps the past few days are setting the stage for the Rebs to get hot.
Ole Miss fell to sixth-ranked Vanderbilt Friday 8-0, the Rebels’ third consecutive loss. Underrated Jacksonville (Ala.) State beat Ole Miss midweek, and Vandy run ruled Ole Miss 12-2 in the first game of the series.
“Just another tough night for us,” head coach Mike Bianco said after the loss.
“Obviously disappointing. You’ve got to tip your cap to (Vandy pitcher Hunter) Owen. He was remarkable on the other side. It’s been a while since I’ve watched us get dominated like that. The last 23 outs in a row, pretty impressive on the other side.“
Coach Mike Bianco on loss in game two to Vandy
This was the first time Ole Miss has been shutout since last March 5th, a 1-0 loss at Central Florida.
Friday, while Ole Miss wore green caps to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, there was no corned beef and cabbage being served. Instead, the two starting pitchers were serving up donuts. Through the first four innings, neither team could score a run.
Vanderbilt’s Hunter Owen and Ole Miss freshman Grayson Saunier matched each other by keeping the other team off the scoreboard.
In the fifth, however, Saunier ran into trouble. Vandy finally opened the scoring in the bottom of the fifth when Enrique Bradfield scored from second on a single by Jack Bulger. Then the Commodores took command with an R.J. Austin three-run homer to give Vanderbilt a 4-0 lead.
Saunier’s night ended a batter later after scattering nine hits in his 4 1/3 innings of work.
“If we want to try to find a silver lining, I thought that was Saunier’s best outing of the year. Unfortunate he just started to run out of gas there in the 5th and they were able to put big inning together but I thought he was really sharp.”
Coach Bianco on Grayson Saunier
Sam Tookoian came on in relief and was able to pitch his way out of a bases-loaded jam to end the rally.
The Vandy Boys added another run in the sixth when R.J. Schreck launched a bomb over the right field wall. The solo shot gave the Commodores a 5-0 advantage.
The Commodores added some insurance in the bottom of the eighth when they scored three runs highlighted by a run-scoring double by Bulger to give Vanderbilt a 8-0 lead.
Vanderbilt outhit the Rebels 13-2 in the game and the score could have been worse. The Commodores left ten runners on base.
Coach Bianco talked about Owen’s pitching.
“Super-dominant fastball that was low-mid 90s, looked like it had some ride. We were chasing balls up in the zone, then two different breaking balls, a cutter and a curve ball and even a few changeups to some of the right-handers. Kind of suffocated us offensively. He was super good and on his game tonight.“
Coach Bianco on Vandy pitcher Hunter Owen
Calvin Harris notched one of the two Ole Miss hits, giving him five in the first two games of the series.
The two teams meet again Saturday at 1 p.m.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.