MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Junior right-hander Tanner Bailey worked a perfect four innings in a predetermined start on Tuesday night, but a late Tiger rally was trouble as No. 18 Ole Miss (27-14) fell to Memphis (18-23) by a score of 4-2 at AutoZone Park.
Bailey retired all 12 batters faced, including four strikeouts, and Ole Miss held a 2-0 lead through 6.5 innings. But, Memphis pushed two runs across in the seventh and two in the eighth to claim the win.
The Rebels had a chance to rally in the ninth, putting men at the corners with one out, but Memphis was able to turn a double play on a ball up the middle that ended the threat of an Ole Miss comeback.
Dylan Chavez (3-3) suffered the loss for Ole Miss in relief, working 1.1 inning and allowing two runs on four hits with two strikeouts as Jacob Wilson hit a two-run home run to left off Chavez in the eighth to give Memphis the lead for the first time in the game.
Michael Wills (3-1) picked up the win as he worked 8.1 innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on nine hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
“You have to play all nine innings and they played better than we did in the last couple of innings,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We have to figure out a way to finish things off. Tanner Bailey was terrific tonight in the start for us. He did what we needed him to do and that was throw strikes, fill up the zone and he did that.”
Neither team could manage anything early in the game, with the Rebels notching a pair of hits in the first inning before Memphis would get out of the inning and then hold Ole Miss off the bases through the next three innings.
Ole Miss scored in the fifth inning when Tanner Mathis came up with an infield single with two outs and the bases loaded to bring home John Gatlin. The ground ball to the left side was saved by the Memphis third baseman, but he threw the ball into the outfield trying to get Auston Bousfield out at second, allowing the Rebels to plate a second run as Blake Newalu went home on the throwing error. The score sat at 2-0 in favor of the Rebels after the top of the fifth.
Memphis got its first hit of the game in the seventh inning as the Tigers put together the first rally of the night. Back-to-back singles opened the frame before Ole Miss would go to the bullpen for left-hander Dylan Chavez in relief of right-hander Aaron Greenwood. Another Tiger single loaded the bases before Chavez would strike out the next two batters.
T.J. Rich then came up with a single up the middle on a full count pitch to drive in two runs and tie the game at two in the seventh. Chavez got the next batter to fly out to end the inning, but the lead was gone with the score tied after seven complete.
The Tigers took the lead in the eighth when Wilson hit his two-run shot to left field. Tucker Tubbs scored on the play after reaching in the previous at bat with a double down the third base line. The Rebels then went to the bullpen for Chris Ellis to replace Chavez.
Ole Miss will return to action this weekend with a three-game series on the road at Mississippi State. The first game of the series is set for a 6:30 p.m. start on Friday and will be televised by SportSouth. All three games in the series will be televised with Saturday’s game also being carried by SportSouth and Sunday’s finale on CSS.
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