The Rebels handled business against the Commodores on Sunday. While the score doesn't reflect it, the Rebels were dominant in a huge series win.
Drew McDaniel had a solid outing giving up 3 runs and seven hits through 3.2 innings. McDaniel started off the game aggressively after going 1-2-3 through the top of the order.
Vanderbilt scored first at the top of the third inning after a pair of singles and a throwing error by Hayden Dunhurst. After going down 2-0, the Rebel bats wasted no time and put a hurt on the black and gold pitching staff. Ole Miss scored 10 runs in the third inning, the most runs Vanderbilt has given up in an inning since 2016.
TJ McCants led off the dominant inning on a single. Jacob Gonzalez and Kevin Graham were both walked setting up a bases-loaded situation with no outs. Justin Bench capitalized on the opportunity with a two-RBI double off the bullpen wall in left field to tie the game. Vanderbilt brought in reliever Hunter Owen, only to have Dunhurst hit a line drive to give the Rebs their first lead of the game.
Reilly walked Ben Van Cleve and Hayden Leatherwood to load the bases for the second time that inning. Cael Baker sent a bomb into left field to make it 8-2, Ole Miss.
The Rebels still weren’t done after Jacob Gonzalez had a home run of his own to add two more runs.
Austin Miller came in and lasted less than an inning after giving up four runs on a grand slam that chipped into the Rebel lead. Usually scoring 10 runs in a single inning would be a safe cushion, but baseball requires 27 outs. A team can’t waste away the clock with a huge lead in the early innings — you have to get the outs.
Jackson Kimbrell came in to relieve Miller and had his longest career relief outing with 3.2 innings pitched. He allowed three hits and three strikeouts. He gave up a home run of his own, before being replaced by freshman stud Jack Dougherty.
“It’s good to finally have a long and good outing.” Jackson Kimbrell said. “I hope I can keep repeating that from here on out.”
Jack Dougherty only pitched 0.2 innings giving up one hit and two strikeouts. He still is a young player and was redshirted up until 10 days ago, but bringing on a dependable pitcher late in the game to get to Taylor Broadway has been a key factor in Ole Miss’ series wins.
Ole Miss was able to tack on an extra two runs in two separate innings. Gonzalez singled in the fifth to bring McCants home before Dunhurst hit a solo home run that went 395 feet up the bleachers of the student section. He stared down the ball all the way out of the park and according to One Man to Beat, Dunhurst “ grabbed an easel and painted a watercolor of it leaving the park.”
Vanderbilt’s pitcher had his little feelings hurt and sent one really close to Ben Van Cleve’s head immediately following Dunhurst’s home run. I would be embarrassed too, Maldonado.
Ole Miss had a five-run lead heading into the stretch. Both teams got out of the inning quickly, but Vanderbilt was able to inch closer with a home run and a double to make it 12-9, Rebels. In the eighth inning, Gonzalez continued his lights-out day with his second home run of the game. Gonzalez went 3-for-3 with two home runs and 4 RBI’s.
The beer showers in right field were weak at that point, but four home runs will do that to ya.
Vanderbilt was able to score one more at the top of the ninth before Taylor Broadway was able to put the nail in the coffin and secure the win.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been more proud of a team.” Head coach Mike Bianco said. “We have a lot of games in front of us. But how resilient and relentless they continue to be. Our guys continue to answer back.”
This series win against No. 2 Vanderbilt is huge for the Rebels to make their case to host Regionals. There is still a lot of baseball to be played this season, but Ole Miss proved once again that they can do it.