Baseball's Rally Falls Short in 7-6 Loss at A&M

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Junior Michael Fitzsimmons launched a pinch-hit grand slam off the scoreboard in left field during the top of the eighth inning to bring No. 5 Ole Miss baseball to within one, but the rally by the Rebels came up just short as No. 11 Texas A&M held on for a 7-6 win Friday night in College Station.

Lights-out pitching by Greer Holston out of the bullpen gave Ole Miss a chance in the ninth. The sophomore from Long Beach, Mississippi, struck out the Aggies' hottest hitter in Michael Helman to end the eighth. Then Cole Zabowski ripped a double down the left field line in the ninth, but the Rebels couldn't complete the rally, suffering just their third loss of the season, now at 21-3 and 3-2 in SEC play.

Texas A&M took control early at Blue Bell Park with a four-run second inning. The Aggies took the lead on a two-run home run by first baseman Will Frizzell. The home team tacked on two more runs in the frame after three walks by starter Brady Feigl.

After that rough inning, Feigl found his rhythm. The junior out of Chesterfield, Missouri, struck out the first two batters of the third before inducing a Frizzell groundout to Jacob Adams for a 1-2-3 inning. Ole Miss chipped one away in the bottom half starting with a two-out single through the left side by Thomas Dillard. Will Golsan then came through, driving Dillard home on a double deep to left center off an 0-2 count.

Feigl retired the side in two of the next three innings to get Ole Miss to the seventh down 5-1. Designated hitter Chase Cockrell started another two-out rally with a single to center, part of a 3-for-3 day for the junior. Then catcher Cooper Johnson hit one underneath the glove of Texas A&M shortstop Braden Shewmake to extend the inning. Second baseman Jacob Adams made the Aggies pay for the error, sending a single up the middle to plate Cockrell and make it a 5-2 game.

The Aggies added two more in the bottom of the seventh, which proved to be the difference. Feigl's day was finished after getting the first out of the seventh but not before yielding a single to the Aggie leadoff hitter Zach DeLoach. Then Helman doubled to left off of Will Stokes, eventually setting the table for a two-RBI single to center to make it a 7-2 contest.

Holston inherited a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the seventh and escaped the jam unscathed, retiring consecutive batters, opening the door for a big eighth inning by Ole Miss. The frame started with Nick Fortes taking a fastball squarely on his left hand. Dillard then reached base by taking a pitch on the lower leg, and Cockrell made it a full boat with a two-out, full-count walk. Fitzsimmons came on for Johnson and demolished a 2-1 offering by Chandler Jozwiak off the scoreboard in left field.

The Rebels took a 7-6 deficit into the ninth, where Holston was stellar. He issued a leadoff walk but retired the next three in order, culminating with a gutsy strikeout of Helman, who was 3-for-4 with two doubles at the time.

Zabowski's rocket down the third base line gave the Rebels hope in the top of the ninth, but Ole Miss couldn't bring him home in a narrow Southeastern Conference road loss.

The Rebels and Aggies will get together for a rubber match on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT. The contest will be available on SEC Network +, as well as the Ole Miss Radio Network.

For all Ole Miss Baseball news and information, visit the official athletics site OleMissSports.com. For more social media updates, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissBSB, on Facebook at Ole Miss Baseball and on Instagram at olemissbsb.

Quick Hits
- Michael Fitzsimmons' eighth-inning blast is the Rebels' first grand slam since Colby Bortles knocked in four on April 15, 2015 against UT Martin.
- The Rebels' last pinch-hit home run was DH Chase Cockrell's bomb in Game 3 against Long Beach State. - Now 12 different Rebels have hit a home run this season.
- Sophomore RHP Greer Holston is the latest young arm to shine out of the Rebel bullpen. Holston finished with a line of 1.2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 K.
- All six of Ole Miss' runs came with two outs.
- Ole Miss' three defeats this season have come by a combined four runs.
- The Rebels snapped a four-game winning streak, which was the SEC's longest going into the day.
- Cockrell got back on track with a 3-for-3 day with a walk and two runs scored.
- Junior second baseman Jacob Adams had a strong day at the plate, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.

 

 

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