Streaks End in Rebels’ Loss to No. 15 Vanderbilt

Thomas Dillard. Photo by Steven Gagliano
After going 48.0 consecutive innings without allowing a run, the No. 14 Ole Miss baseball team saw its streak come to an end Saturday afternoon at Swayze Field. With the wind blowing out to right field, No. 15 Vanderbilt used its lefty-heavy lineup to hit three home runs and take game two of the conference series, 6-2. The setback also ended a five-game winning streak for the Rebels (13-6, 1-1 SEC).

The Commodores (13-7, 1-1 SEC) scored three runs in the fourth to end a scoreless streak of 48.0 innings by Rebel pitching. Brady Feigl (2-2) allowed four runs on five hits in 5.1 innings of work as an Ole Miss starter surrendered a run for the first time in 52.2 innings over the past eight games.

Will Golsan went 2-for-4 as the leadoff hitter to pace the Ole Miss bats. Thomas Dillard added a homer for the Rebels, his third of the season.

Left-handed hitters Will Toffey, Stephen Scott and Jeren Kendall accounted for the three Vanderbilt home runs, all to right field. Righty Patrick Raby (3-2) earned the win, giving up two runs on four hits in 6.0 innings.

Feigl held Vanderbilt without a hit through the first three frames, and Ole Miss scored first with a run in the third. Kyle Watson walked before advancing into scoring position on a wild pitch. A sacrifice bunt by Cooper Johnson moved his teammate 90 feet away from home. With the infield coming in for a play at the plate, Grae Kessinger hit a chopper right to the second baseman. As Watson sped towards home, the throw went wide of the plate as both runners were safe. The failed fielder’s choice gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead.

The Commodores countered with three runs to take their first lead of the series and end the scoreless innings streak by Ole Miss pitching. Following a base hit to start the inning, Vanderbilt belted back-to-back homers courtesy of Toffey and Scott. Despite the rough start to the inning, Feigl remained calm and retired three straight hitters to end the inning.

Another Vanderbilt run in the sixth made it a 4-1 game, but It looked as if Ole Miss would answer in the bottom half of the inning. However, the Rebels ran into some trouble on the base path. With runners on first and second, Tate Blackman singled to left, but Watson was thrown out at home on a dart from the Vanderbilt left fielder. Ryan Olenek tried to slide safely into third, but a good throw by the catcher back to the bag was enough to get him out as well. Raby finished off the inning as the visitors held a three-rush cushion.

Dillard sliced into the lead with a solo blast to right field in the seventh, but Vanderbilt got the run back in the eighth to keep the margin at three. Ole Miss threatened in the bottom half by bringing the tying run to the plate in Bortles. The senior gave one a ride to the wall in right-center, but it found the glove of JJ Bleday for the third out. It was a tough day for right-handed hitters due to the wind direction, and Bortles felt it all day long by hitting three balls that ended up on the warning track.

Kendall gave Vanderbilt an insurance run in the ninth, sending a homer into the visitors’ bullpen. Moving from the designated hitter spot to the mound, Reed Hayes wrapped up the game by leaving two Rebels on base.

Both teams will attempt to win the SEC opening series tomorrow in the rubber match. The top-15 battle will air live at 3 p.m. on SEC Network, the first nationally televised game of the season for Ole Miss. Two freshmen will battle it out on the mound as Will Ethridge makes the first weekend start of his young Rebel career, going against Vanderbilt freshman Drake Fellows.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports

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