You think Ole Miss fans are ready for baseball? 12,117 people packed into Swayze on Friday night to watch the Diamond Rebs knock off No. 9 East Carolina, 5-4, in the first game of the 2017 season. The previous record of 11,729 came in 2013 against Bama.
The weather certainly helped—a first-pitch temp in the mid-60s was a welcome change from the cold and drab of the last couple of Opening Days. But Friday night’s enthusiasm also speaks to Ole Miss fans’ eagerness to move past a rough nine-month stretch that included a Laremy Tunsil bong video, an endless stream of NCAA rumors and a bowl-less football season.
The students were certainly ready to celebrate in Right Field.
And celebrate they did. Here’s the first beer shower of 2017, courtesy of a second-inning solo shot from junior outfielder Will Golsan.
Looks like right field needs some ☔️! Chance of rain = pic.twitter.com/4u19vUQOrS— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) February 17, 2017
That dinger gave Ole Miss its first lead of the game at 2-1. ECU briefly retook the lead in the fourth, but two Rebel runs in the bottom of that inning put them back up for good. David Parkinson put up a stellar seven innings in his first Friday night start and Will Stokes worked a six-out save (though the two-out solo shot he allowed in the top of the ninth made things interesting, if only briefly).
We’ll have more analysis on Monday, but this club looked pretty damn salty against a top-10 opponent. Over 12,000 screaming fans certainly helped their cause.