No. 8 Ole Miss Drops Top-10 Matchup with No. 10 Texas Tech
March 4, 2017

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HOUSTON – In its second game of the 2017 Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic, No. 8 Ole Miss out-hit No. 10 Texas Tech, but three errors hurt the Rebels (7-3) in a 5-1 loss to the Red Raiders (10-2) Saturday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.

The Rebels tallied seven hits on the day, including three doubles, while Ole Miss pitching limited Texas Tech to six. The bats didn’t get going until late with five hits coming in the final two innings. Michael Fitzsimmons provided a spark off the Ole Miss bench, going 2-for-2 with a double. Ryan Olenek added a pair of hits and an RBI as the team’s starting center fielder.

Ole Miss right-handed pitcher James McArthur (0-1) was saddled with the tough loss. Pitching back in his home state, the New Braunsfels native did not allow a hit until the fifth inning and all three runs scored off him were unearned. He finished the day surrendering two hits and three walks through 5.0 frames. Freshman Ryan Rolison tossed 2.2 innings of relief and tallied six strikeouts, both career highs. Another freshman, Houston Roth, pitched out of the bullpen and retired all four batters he faced.

Texas Tech received a big day from its starter Steven Gingery (3-0), who went 8.0 innings and allowed only one run on five hits and two walks. Five of the Red Raiders’ six hits came from the two through four hitters in the lineup. Cleanup hitter Tanner Gardner went 2-for-4 with four RBI.

With the help of two strikeouts, McArthur sent the Red Raiders down in order to begin the game. After a smooth first inning, the sophomore lost a little command in the second as two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases with nobody out. However, his teammates helped him get out of the jam unscathed by turning a double play to end the inning. Colby Bortles fielded a sharp groundball to third and rifled it home to Cooper Johnson before the Ole Miss catcher threw it back to Bortles for another force out, completing the twin killing. The quick turn ended the threat and kept Texas Tech off the scoreboard.

A failed pickoff attempt allowed the Red Raiders to score first and take a 1-0 lead. McArthur walked the second batter of the inning, and on the ensuing at-bat, his throw to first got away from first baseman Chase Cockrell and rolled down the line. The TTU baserunner scampered to third on the miscue, and a sacrifice fly brought him across the plate for the game’s first run.

The Rebels hurt themselves in the sixth as a pair of errors led to two Texas Tech runs. First, it looked as if McArthur forced his second groundball double play of the contest, but Grae Kessinger’s throw to second sailed wide to allow both runners to reach safely. Attempting to pick off the lead runner, McArthur’s throw went into the outfield and placed both Red Raiders in scoring position. The situation forced head coach Mike Bianco to lift McArthur and go to the bullpen. However, a base hit plated two to give Texas Tech the three-run advantage.

Texas Tech scored twice in the eighth to increase its lead to five, but the Rebels responded with a run. Tate Blackman doubled before Olenek followed with a two-bagger of his own, cutting the deficit to four, 5-1.

After a perfect top of the ninth from Roth, Ole Miss continued to fight and spark a ninth-inning rally. Bortles singled to begin the inning, before a web gem swiped the senior off the base. Designated hitter Thomas Dillard looked like he had a base hit in the 4-hole, but a diving stop by Texas Tech second baseman Brian Klein started a 4-6-3 double play. Fitzsimmons and Tim Rowe recorded back-to-back singles, but a hard-hit line drive by Nick Fortes found the glove in center field to end any hopes of a comeback.

Ole Miss will wrap up play in Houston tomorrow, squaring off against No. 1 TCU. The Rebels and Horned Frogs will play the second game of the day with first pitch scheduled for 1:35 p.m. Redshirt-sophomore Brady Feigl will take the hill against the nation’s top-ranked team. The game will air live on Fox Sports (regional) and the Fox Sports GO app as well as the Ole Miss IMG Sports Network. 

Quick Hits

  • Ole Miss dropped to 6-2 against ranked teams this season.
  • All three of McArthur’s runs he surrendered were unearned; his ERA dropped to 1.76 on the season.
  • Freshman Ryan Rolison struck out six in 2.2 innings of relief, both career highs.
  • In Houston, freshman Houston Roth retired all four hitters he faced in 1.1 innings of work.
  • The Ole Miss bench went 3-for-4 at the plate, including two hits by Michael Fitzsimmons and one by Tim Rowe.

 

 

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