Despite an uncharacteristic six-errors in the game, the Rebels still had a chance to win on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, the miscues prove to be too much as No. 8 Ole Miss (7-1) dropped its first game of the season to Memphis (5-3) by a score of 4-3.
The Rebels put a man on first with a lead-off walk in the ninth inning, but were unable to get him home to force the game into extra innings or continue the rally to claim the win.
Scott Weathersby (0-1) suffered the loss for the Rebels in his relief appearance, allowing one unearned run on two hits with two strikeouts. The right-hander pitched well, but three errors in the frame allowed the decisive run to come home.
Conner Porter (1-0) picked up the win in relief, working the seventh inning for the Tigers. He gave up a lead-off walk before allowing a sac bunt for the first out and retired the next two batters to keep the Rebels from taking the lead. He was the pitcher of record when his team took the lead in the eighth to grab the win.
“Not to take anything away from Memphis, they played very well tonight,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We played terrible, obviously, with six errors on the board. That’s a big deal. It gave us no opportunity to win the game. (Matt) Denny did a great job. He came in with bases loaded, no outs jam. He gets a double play and gets out of it with one run.
“(Scott) Weathersby and (Tanner) Bailey were terrific,” Bianco said. “It’s hard to hide six errors. It’s amazing, we almost got through it. Offensively, we weren’t very good either. We weren’t able to put innings together. We were aggressive and aggressiveness kind of hurt us a couple of times. We weren’t able to execute. We have to do a better job in all phases.”
Memphis took the early lead with a run in the second inning when Zach Willis drew a two-out walk with the bases loaded to put the Tigers on the board.
Ole Miss responded in the bottom of the frame with a two-out rally of its own. With two men on thanks to a hit batter and a walk Preston Overbey delivered an RBI single to right, followed by an RBI single to center from Lance Wilson to put the Rebels on top 2-1.
Memphis got out of the inning when Overbey was thrown out at home trying to score on the hit to shallow center.
The Tigers tied things up in the fourth when Ethan Gross grounded into a double play with the bases loaded. Denny, who had taken the mound to face Gross, then struck out Willis when the lineup flipped to end the inning tied at two.
Ole Miss moved back in front with a single run in the fifth on a double off the wall in right field from Auston Bousfield that scored Anderson, who reached on one of the Rebels’ eight base on balls on the night.
The lead would be short-lived, however, as Memphis answered with a tying run in the sixth. The Tigers put two men on with a single and a catcher’s interference call, and then used a sac bunt to push both men into scoring position. A groundout brought the run home before the Rebels would use a flyout to get out of the inning with the score locked at three.
Memphis then capitalized on a lead-off single and the three errors in the eighth inning to bring home what proved to be the game-winning run.
The Rebels will return to action on Wednesday afternoon, hosting Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 4 p.m. at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field. Kids under 12 will be admitted for free and it will be $1 Hot Dog night at the ballpark.