An impressive outing by Ryan Rolison went to waste on Friday night as Ole Miss dropped the first of a three-game set against the Georgia Bulldogs 3-2.
The Rebels garnered seven hits in the losing effort, but left seven men on base, including a bases-loaded situation in the first and two runners in scoring position in the eighth.
“We just didn’t play well enough,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. “The story was that they just played a little bit better than us in all three phases. They pitched better than we did, hit better than we did and fielded better than we did.”
The Bulldogs’ pitching effort was led by starter Chase Adkins who went six complete innings and allowed only one run: a Grae Kessinger solo-shot in the sixth. Adkins was not factored into the decision as he left the game in a 1-1 tie, but his performance was impressive nonetheless.
“It was a struggle,” Kessinger said. “He was just making his pitches, throwing them all for a strike. You’ve got to give credit to him, but as an offense, we believe we can hit anybody, even if they have their stuff.”
Ole Miss also had an impressive outing from their starter. Ryan Rolison went seven complete and allowed only two runs, one of which came in the first inning. The Rebel bullpen was unable to secure that number, however, after a scoreless frame from Will Ethridge in the eighth. Parker Caracci allowed two hits, a walk and a run in the ninth to give the Bulldogs the lead that they never relinquished.
According to Bianco, part of the Rebels’ issue on Friday was not making plays when it counted, something that his team was good at earlier in the season.
“Those in-game battles that we were so good at early in the season make all the difference in the world in a game,” Bianco said. “A pitch here to get off the field, a play, a big at-bat. We haven’t done enough of that the last few days.”
Coming into Friday, even after dropping two straight SEC series on the road, Ole Miss was still ranked highly in national polls and was No. 5 in RPI. In order for Ole Miss to continue to be projected as a national seed in the NCAA tournament, they need to win conference series against quality opponents like the Bulldogs. Although the Rebels have faced adversity in recent days, Kessinger believes that it has not negatively impacted team morale and that they are still in a strong position to compete.
“I think that’s just the way baseball goes sometimes,” Kessinger said. “We won a lot of these early, and it hasn’t fallen our way the last few games, but I don’t think our confidence is wavering. Everybody believes in each other now more than ever, and that’s what’s going to make this team special in the end.”
Ole Miss faces Georgia in a doubleheader tomorrow at Swayze Field to close out the series. The first game will begin at 1:30 p.m. with the second game beginning 45 minutes at the conclusion of game one.