Ole Miss fans stood in disbelief and heartbreak, while Tennessee Tech dogpiled in the middle of Swayze Field. Ole Miss was incapable to pull off the magical come back in the 9th inning and fell to the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles 3-2.
Monday was a frustrating day for the Ole Miss Baseball Club as they tried to win one of two games to advance to host the NCAA Super Regional. After dropping the first game, the Rebs relied on a win in an elimination game Monday night versus the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles.
Jordan Fowler, the left-handed freshman, got the start for the Ole Miss Rebels. Fowler, who sports an ERA of 3.18 and a record of 7-0, has been superb in his first year. Fowler was just that to give the Rebels as much defensive support as he could. Jordan was able to hold the nation’s leading scorers to just two runs and four hits on 85 pitches through five innings of play.
Coach Bianco commended Fowler on his outstanding performance by saying, “There’s not a lot of silver linings I think tonight, but that’s one to watch how he pitched down the stretch and against this team.”
The start on the mound for Tennessee Tech went to sophomore Devin Lancaster. Even though Lancaster’s average pitch hit at best the mid-80 mph while his change-up pitches ranged in the mid-60 mph, the Rebels still had trouble sparking an offensive charge. Through the three matchups against the Golden Eagles, Ole Miss struggled to find their offensive prowess they carried with their bats all season long.
Grae Kessinger broke the offensive slump with a solo bomb over the left field wall which erupted Swayze Field. A pitching change for Tennessee Tech followed by a couple of hits later, the Rebels extended the lead to 2-0 with bases loaded and one out.
The Golden Eagles were left in the most vulnerable state with three Rebels in scoring position, however, Travis Moths dealt two strikeouts to Keenan and Cockrell to the end the inning. The failure to convert more runs in the top of the 6th inning proved to be disastrous for Ole Miss because the bats fell flat for the remainder of the game.
The Golden Eagles, who have been quick to answer any Ole Miss scores, did not fail to reply to Kessinger and company. After Chase Chambers was hit by a pitch and advanced to first, Trevor Putzig tied the game by sailing a home run over the outfield fence. Houston Roth was called into the game to relieve.
With two base runners on and zero outs, Roth struggled in the top of the eighth inning. Second Team All-American Parker Caracci came in to pull Ole Miss out of a tough jam by only allowing one run to score. The Golden Eagles jumped out in front of Ole Miss 3-2.
Nick Osborne, with an ERA of 6.30, then pitched three shutout innings to send one of the greatest seasons for Ole Miss baseball to its grave.
In the post-game press conference Coach Mike Bianco said, “It’s the best team I’ve ever coached.” If you have watched Ole Miss baseball this season, one would have to agree. The Rebels’ season ends with an SEC Tournament Championship and a 48-17 record.
The Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles will travel to Austin to play the University of Texas to play in the Super Regional round of the NCAA Tournament.