The Ole Miss baseball team used dominant performances from Will Ethridge, Tyler Myers and Ryan Olenek to eliminate Missouri and advance to the second round of the SEC Championship.
The pitcher’s duel allowed Ole Miss to save their bullpen as the offense got the job done. Olenek had an all-around afternoon, getting the save after coming in from centerfield. Olenek was also 2-4 on the day at the plate.
Back-to-back doubles from Thomas Broyles and Austin James off of Will Ethridge gave the Tigers the early advantage in the second inning.
Ole Miss came back to get on the board in the fifth when Thomas Dillard, batting in the leadoff spot, slapped a double to left field to bring in Jacob Adams. Grae Kessinger bunted to get Dillard to third and Tyler Keenan was hit by a pitch before Cole Zabowski singled to center field two pitches later to give the Rebels the 2-1 lead.
The Rebels just missed a chance to extend the lead in the seventh when Ryan Olenek singled to left field with two outs and Dillard at second. Third base coach Mike Clement waved Dillard home and he was tagged out easily at home, ending the inning.
Ole Miss’s missed opportunities on the base pads were curbed by the impressive job from the pitching staff. Ethridge made it to 101 pitches in 7.0 innings, striking out six and allowing seven hits. Tyler Myers came in to relieve him in the eighth and struck out the side.
Mike Bianco elected to send out Olenek to close rather than Parker Carraci, who was warming up in the bullpen for awhile. Josh Holt reached second after a ball got past catcher Cooper Johnson and Paul Gomez walked. Olenek struck out Broyles with runners on first and second to earn his second-consecutive save.
D1baseball projected the Rebels as a No. 2 seed in a Corvallis regional hosted by Oregon State going into the start of the tournament and with the win, the Rebels have this week to improve upon their seeding and No. 30 RPI ranking.
The victory gives the Rebels a second-round date with No. 2 seed Arkansas on Wednesday afternoon.