The Ole Miss Rebels and Tulane Green Wave took part in some marathon baseball Saturday, playing 13 innings after Friday’s game was postponed due to rain. The Rebels were able to take both games, winning the first 5-4 and the second with a score of 9-1.
Ryan Rolison was in his normal form on Friday, striking out nine Green Wave hitters over five innings before the delay. His only run surrendered came by the way of a Matt Rowland home run, one of his two throughout the game. Rolison’s performance earned him his second win in as many starts. He has 21 strikeouts over 10 innings pitched early in the season.
Home runs from Cole Zabowski – his second on the season – and Cooper Johnson helped build a 5-1 Ole Miss lead before Will Ethridge and Will Stokes gave up three runs in the eighth inning. Ethridge gave up an RBI double to bring Tulane within three before Stokes surrendered a two-run shot to Rowland, making it a one-run game. Dallas Woolfolk shut the door on Tulane in the ninth, securing his third save in five games.
Game two of the makeshift double header had Tulane outmatched by the Rebels. Captain Brady Feigl threw six high-quality innings. All six of his strikeouts came in his first three innings. Tulane took advantage of a dropped strike three and brought a runner home, lending themselves a brief 1-0 lead. In his last frame, Feigl retired the opposition with just seven pitches, finishing with 73 total for the game. The only reason Feigl left the game was the prolonged break he had to sit through while the offense scored five runs in the sixth.
“We scored too many runs,” Feigl joked when discussing his exit from the game. “After they brought in the second pitcher, coach came up and said that is it, it has been a while.”
Coach Mike Bianco was impressed with his capitan’s strong showing.
“Efficient is not even fair,” Bianco said when asked what he thought about Feigl’s day. “I thought he was super dominant. That was maybe the best outing he has had here.”
The Green Wave’s lead quickly dissipated after Grae Kessinger’s lead-off home run. A 2-3 performance raised his batting average to .458 on the season as he took firm grasp of the lead-off spot in Bianco’s lineup.
“I hit it pretty well, and with the wind blowing out, I knew it was going to get out of [the park],” Kessinger said. “I am seeing the ball well, being aggressive, and the swing is feeling good.”
The game was knotted at one run a piece until the fourth inning. The Rebel bats woke up, scoring a run in the fourth, two in the fifth, and a five in the sixth. The offense forced Tulane to use four different pitchers in the sixth inning after starter Ross Massey left following the fifth inning. The first two runs of the inning came by way of a wild pitch and a passed ball. The team added another by sacrifice fly from Jacob Adams. The others came off the bats of Chase Cockrell and Ryan Olenek.
The two wins on Saturday clinch the series win against Tulane with a chance for consecutive sweeps to open the season. The Rebels sit at 6-0 while scoring at least five runs in five of their games. Their impressive scoring combined with dominant pitching is setting Coach Bianco’s team up for early season success. James McArthur will look to clinch a sweep for the second week in a row when he takes the mound for Sunday’s game.