An Anthony Servideo walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning saved Ole Miss from disaster on Wednesday as the Rebels escaped with a 9-8 win over visiting Alcorn State.
Greer Holston was given the ball on the mound to start and was chased without recording an out in the first inning. The Braves pushed across four runs in the frame, all of which were credited to Holston. The Rebel right hander only recorded one inning of work last season due to a mysterious drop in his velocity, and his outings so far in 2020 have not shown a great deal of promise despite strong showings in the fall and preseason practices.
“It just wasn’t his night,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. “It’s just unfortunate because he’s pitched so well in the fall and preseason. Sometimes it happens. You just get off to a bad start, and it’s just not your night.”
The Rebels were outhit by the Braves 11-7 and were assisted by four Alcorn errors. After taking a series from then-top-ranked Louisville last weekend, Bianco said it would be easy to point at this game as a “hangover” from that series, but he believes that there’s a different answer.
“I think it’s easy to look at this game and say, ‘It’s a hangover effect, you had a good series against the No. 1 team and you just didn’t show up to play,’” Bianco said. “I don’t necessarily think it’s that. We didn’t play well, but you have to give them credit. We just didn’t have an answer for them all night with a bunch of different pitchers.”
Bianco was asked about his bullpen situation following the win. The Rebels lost Tyler Myers to a UCL injury before the season started, and many arms are still trying to find established roles in the Rebel relief corps.
“It’s easy to be super critical of the bullpen because we’ve had leads late and not finished the game,” Bianco said, “but I’m confident that we’re going to have enough pieces there. We’ve just got to figure it out.”
As for the hero Servideo, he has quickly grown accustomed to his role at the top of the Ole Miss batting order. After going 3-for-5 at the plate Wednesday night, the Rebel shortstop is batting .550 with two home runs. When asked if he came to the plate in the 10th with the plan to end the game, Servideo answered simply.
“Yeah,” Servideo said with a laugh. “We were hanging around too long. It shouldn’t have gone 10 innings, but I’m really proud of how the team fought and came out with a win.”
Ole Miss will play host to the Xavier Musketeers this weekend at Swayze Field with first-pitch times of 4 p.m. on Friday, 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday.