Texas A&M Knocks Ole Miss Baseball Team Out Of SEC Tournament
HOOVER, Ala. (Ole Miss Athletics) – After winning its first three games of the week, the No. 10 Ole Miss baseball team saw its 2016 Southeastern Conference Tournament run come to an end at the hands of the nation’s top ranked team. No. 1 Texas A&M scored seven runs in the last two innings to rally from a three-run deficit and defeat the Rebels (43-17), 12-8.
As they have been for the entire week, the Ole Miss bats were on fire throughout the game. Shortstop Errol Robinson led the way, going 4-for-6 with a career-high four RBI. The bottom of the order all put together quality games at the plate as Ryan Olenek, Holt Perdzock and Kyle Watson tallied two hits and two runs apiece. Tate Blackman reached base four times on two hits and a pair of walks, while J.B. Woodman earned his team-leading 25th multi-hit game of the season.
On the mound, Rebel starting pitcher Chad Smith allowed five runs (three earned) on four hits and six walks, while striking out five, over 4.0 innings. Freshman Dallas Woolfolk made his SEC Tournament debut and surrendered just one run over a career-high 3.1 innings. Fellow freshman Connor Green added a scoreless frame of relief.
Texas A&M (44-14) scored 12 runs on 12 hits. Austin Homan went 3-for-5, Michael Barash added a pair of hits for three RBI and Walker Pennington hit a pinch-hit three-run homer. The Aggies used six pitchers on the mound with Corbin Martin (2-1) collecting the win and Mark Ecker (6) claiming the save.
The Aggies struck first with two runs in their opening at-bats. A couple of walks put two runners on for Barash, who doubled to right field to plate the game’s first run. An Ole Miss error allowed another run to score and kept the inning alive, but Smith picked off the runner at first to end it.
After Smith held Texas A&M scoreless in the top half, Ole Miss answered in the bottom of the second to slice the deficit in half. Olenek singled with one out before going from first to third on a two-out base knock by Watson. Olenek’s aggressive base running paid off as the freshman scored on an infield single by Robinson to make it 2-1.
Texas A&M took advantage of another Ole Miss error to score a run in the third, but the Rebels responded with five of their own to take the lead. All five runs were courtesy of a two-out rally. Olenek recorded his second hit of the game to score Blackman before a Perdzock infield single loaded the bases. With three ducks on the pond, Watson lined a single to center to plate a pair of Rebels and give Ole Miss its first lead of the game. The Rebels weren’t finished as a double steal by Watson and Perdzock worked to perfection. Watson broke for second, and as the throw went down to the bag, Perdzock motored home. Robinson capped off the inning with another RBI base hit, and the Rebels found themselves ahead 6-3 through three.
An overturned call helped the Aggies score a run in the top of the fourth to cut the game’s margin to two. Texas A&M added another in the fifth, but the Rebels countered with a run to keep their lead at two. Ole Miss scored once again with two outs as Watson rolled home from first on Robinson’s third hit of the game. The speedy sophomore’s run evened out the tally by Texas A&M, 7-5.
Following back-to-back scoreless innings by Woolfolk, Robinson continued to knock in runs to build the Ole Miss lead. A single to right center, his fourth hit of the game, plated Perdzock to complete the shortstop’s four-RBI day.
Texas A&M regained the lead with five runs in the eighth. After a one-out walk by Woolfolk, closer Wyatt Short entered the game to try and get the Rebels out of the inning. However, the Aggies showed why they’re one of the best hitting teams in the country. Two singles made it a one-run game before Pennington’s pinch-hit three-run homer flipped the game in favor of Texas A&M, 10-8.
The Aggies added two more runs in the ninth in double their advantage. Ole Miss continued to fight, putting two runners on in the final inning, but a hard liner by Woodman found the glove of the Texas A&M first baseman to eliminate the Rebels, 12-9.
Ole Miss will wait to hear its fate regarding the NCAA Tournament. The selection committee will announce the 16 regional sites Sunday evening (May 29) at 7:30 p.m. CT, while the entire tournament draw will be announced on Memorial Day (May 30) at 11 a.m. CT on ESPNU.
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