Coach Mike Bianco and No.10 Ole Miss baseball were back in action Sunday as they faced Kentucky in a doubleheader at Swayze Field.
Because of inclement weather in the Oxford area this past weekend No.10 Ole Miss baseball (25-12, 9-6) was forced to play a shortened doubleheader on Sunday in two 7-inning games. Coach Bianco and the Rebels picked up the 8-2 series opening win Friday night and were looking to maintain their short-lived SEC West No.1 ranking. The Kentucky Wildcats (20-16, 4-11) would make it impossible.
In the first game Sunday, after a scoreless first inning, Kentucky got on the board first with 1 run in the top of the second to take the early 1-0 lead. The Wildcats then added 1 run in the top of the third to extend the lead to 2-0. Kentucky wasn’t done and added 2 more runs in the top of the fourth to extend their lead to 4-0. After a scoreless fifth and sixth the Rebels finally got on the board with 1 run in the bottom of the seventh but failed to rally giving the Wildcats the 4-1 win.
In the second game Sunday the Rebels and Wildcats saw three scoreless innings to begin. The Wildcats took the board first in the top of the fourth with 3 runs to take the 3-0 lead. Not done, the Wildcats added 1 run in the top of the fifth to extend their lead to 4-0. The Rebels got on the board with 2 runs in the bottom of the frame with 2 runs to cut the Wildcats lead to 4-2. The Rebels couldn’t produce any further and Kentucky picked up the 4-2 game-three win and the SEC series. OHT looks at the doubleheader by the numbers and makes some observations.
By The Numbers
Ole Miss Rebels
In the first game Sunday there were 6 Rebels who combined for 7 hits with 1 Rebel recording multiple hits in the 4-1 loss. Leading all Rebels at the plate was junior Cooper Johnson who went 2 for 3.
However, the biggest hit of the game came from freshman Kevin Graham (1HR) who went 1 for 1 with the only Rebels RBI of the game. Sophomore Carl Gindhl also went 1 for 1 at the plate. Senior Chase Cockrell went 1 for 2 in the game while juniors Cole Zabowski and Thomas Dillard went 1 for 3.
On the mound freshman left-hander Doug Nikhazy drew the expected game-two start. Nikhazy went for 3.2 innings allowing 4 earned runs on 6 hits. Nikhazy had 6 Ks and 1 HBP. Junior right-hander Tyler Myers entered in the fourth and went for 1.2 innings allowing 0 earned runs on 3 hits with 1 BB.
Sophomore right-hander Max Cioffi entered in the sixth and looked really good on the mound to finish out the 4-1 game-two loss. Cioffi went for 1.2 innings allowing 0 hits with 4 Ks. Nikhazy (3-2) picked up the loss.
In the second game Sunday, game-three of the series, there were 4 Rebels who combined for 6 hits with one Rebel recording multiple hits. Leading all Rebels at the plate was junior Grae Kessinger who went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI. Senior Michael Fitzsimmons went 1 for 1 while junior Cole Zabowski went 1 for 2. Junior Cooper Johnson went 1 for 4 at the plate.
On the mound freshman right-hander Gunnar Hoglund drew the start for coach Bianco and the Rebels. Hoglund went for 4.2 innings allowing 4 earned runs on 4 hits. Hoglund had 8 Ks and 1 HBP. Junior right-hander Austin Miller entered in the fifth and finished out the mound for the Rebels. Miller went for 2.1 innings allowing 0 earned runs on just 1 hit with 4 Ks.
The two Sunday losses were hard to watch and are even tougher to write about. There is no doubt the weather this spring has greatly affected both Ole Miss baseball and Ole Miss softball. Nobody wants to deal with rescheduling and we surely don’t like to see shortened 7-inning games in a doubleheader. Would the outcome of the series been different had we played on a normal schedule? Perhaps, but we know the Rebels still didn’t play the way they are capable of doing.
Entering the Sunday doubleheader the Rebels were riding a 5-game win streak due in large part to outstanding offensive production at the plate. Over the three-game series against Kentucky we saw the Rebels pitching staff do better than we have all season. However, the lack of plate production in the final two games was horrid. The Rebels have to be more productive on offense to win games. When they hit well they win.
Coach Mike Bianco and Ole Miss baseball find out Tuesday night if they can get back on track as the Rebels host the Memphis Tigers. First pitch from Swayze Field is set for 6:30pm CT and the game can be viewed via SECN+. Good luck to coach Bianco and the Rebels. Hotty Toddy!