Diamond Rebels Drop Heartbreaking Series at Vandy

Ryan Olenek. Photo by Steven Gagliano

On Sunday, the No. 4 Ole Miss and the No. 14 Vanderbilt Commodores concluded the series with a doubleheader. The Rebels dropped both games by the score of 8-7 in both games.

Ole Miss (29-8, 8-7 SEC) and Vandy played two seven-inning contests. In Game 1 of the doubleheader, the Commodores and the Rebels got into a pitcher dual through the first three-and-a-half innings.

Then in the bottom of the fourth, Vanderbilt broke through by plating two runs in the frame.

Ole Miss didn’t take long to respond as they scored one in the fifth off the bat of Tyler Keenan’s RBI double and then a solo home run in the sixth by Ryan Olenek to knot the game up at 2-2.

Vanderbilt retook the lead in the sixth by going ahead 5-2. The Rebels answered with four runs of their own in the top of the seventh. Back-to-back singles from Cole Zabowski and Will Golsan started the rally. Eventually, Olenek came through with an infield single to plate the go-ahead run. Vandy came back in the bottom half to tie it and send the game into extra innings.

In the eighth, Ole Miss plated another run across on a sacrifice fly by Golsan to score Thomas Dillard and give the Rebels a 7-6 lead. The Commodores found a way to score two runs in the bottom of the frame to tie the series.


Game 2

Ole Miss jumped out to an early 1-0 lead over Vanderbilt in the second game of the doubleheader. Grae Kessinger got on board by a leadoff walk before advancing to third on a double by Olenek. Dillard drove Kessinger in on a groundout. Olenek now has a 15-game hitting streak.

The Rebels starter James McArthur was outstanding early, striking out five of the first six batters he faced. In the third, an inside breaking ball caught the leg of a Vanderbilt batter to start a two-run inning for the home team. The Commodores tacked on three more runs in the fourth, forcing the Rebels to come back once again.

Ole Miss did just that, tying the game with a four-run fifth, highlighted by a monstrous solo home run for Keenan, an RBI single by Olenek and a two-RBI double for Nick Fortes. Immediately after Fortes’ double, Vanderbilt used a hidden ball trick to help end the inning.

With the score tied at five, Will Ethridge struck out the side in the fifth, setting up for the Rebels’ go-ahead inning. After a Golsan single and a walk by Keenan to start the inning, Cooper Johnson came through with an RBI single in a pinch-hitting situation. Kessinger then delivered an RBI single of his own to give Ole Miss a two-run cushion, 7-5.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough, as the home team came through with a big inning of its own to reclaim the lead 8-7 for the win.


Game 1

The No. 4 Ole Miss Rebels offense was hot Friday night as they rolled past No. 14 Vanderbilt by the score of 11-3 to take the series opener.

The diamond Rebels plated the first run as Ryan Olenek got a one-out single and then base knocks by Nick Fortes and Thomas Dillard loaded the bases. Olenek came in to score on a wild pitch.

In the home half of the first, Vanderbilt scored two runs to take a 2-1 lead.

Ole Miss’ starter Ryan Rolison then settled in and kept the Commodores bats at bay with help of reliever Will Ethridge to keep them off the board over the next five innings.

Olenek led off the third inning by reaching base on a walk. He scored shortly thereafter on a single by Dillard, who came around and crossed the plate on an RBI base hit from Will Golsan. Cole Zabowski scored the third run of the inning on a Chase Cockrell sacrifice fly, giving the Rebels a 4-2 lead.

The Rebels added two more runs in the sixth on a two-out, two-RBI triple by Fortes. Golsan then made it 7-2 when he crushed his first home run of the season deep over the left field wall in the seventh.

Ole Miss put up yet another crooked number in the eighth, scoring on an RBI single by Zabowski, a fielder’s choice off the bat of Tyler Keenan, and finally, a wild pitch to make it a 10-3 lead.

The final run of the contest came in the ninth when Jacob Adams touched home, courtesy of an RBI double deep to left center by Fortes.

Rolison moved to 5-3 on the season after a strong performance, working 5.2 innings, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out six batters. Ethridge went 2.1 in the outing only giving up one run on a hit. Max Cioffi came into the game in the ninth and retired Vandy in order.

Ole Miss returns to the diamond at Swayze on Wednesday night as they play host to Arkansas State. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.


Adam Brown is the sports editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at adam.brown@hottytoddy.com.

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