No. 5 Rebels Fend off Auburn for Game One Win
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SIDEBAR: Rolison, Golsan Power Rebels to 5-4 Win Over Auburn
By Davis McCool, Ole MissSports.com
OXFORD, Miss. -- No. 5 Ole Miss (37-13, 14-11 SEC) held off a staunch Auburn lineup to take Game 1 of the SEC series by a score of 5-4. The win moves the Rebels a game ahead of the Tigers and into a tie for first place in the SEC West with just two games and another weekend series remaining on the schedule.
Ryan Rolison earned his seventh win of the season, improving to 7-4 on the year, throwing 6.1 innings of quality baseball, allowing just one run until he departed in the seventh inning. He was officially credited with three runs, two of them earned, on five hits, his lowest number of hits allowed since his second outing of the year against Tulane.
Nick Fortes and Will Golsan got the Rebel bats sparked early with a pair of homers in the second and third innings, respectively. Golsan's, his fourth in the last sixteen games, led off the scoring with a two-run shot in the second inning, while Fortes' propelled him into a tie with Thomas Dillard for the team lead in home runs at 11 apiece.
Aside from the home run, Golsan managed an RBI single in the sixth inning to add needed insurance, good for a 2-for-4 night with three RBI for the Rebel captain. Dillard and Cole Zabowski each also managed multi-hit games, both going 2-for-4 at the plate with a combined four singles. Dillard also upped his team-best stolen base lead to 15, moving him to fourth in the league in that category.
Ryan Olenek had his 23-game hit streak snapped today with an 0-for-4 night at the plate, his first game without a hit since March 22. The streak, tied for third-best all-time as a Rebel and second-best in the SEC this season, spanned 49 days, and saw the Rebel center fielder hit .516 with 48 hits, 10 of them doubles, with 17 of those games being multi-hit affairs.
The game led off without a baserunner until the bottom of the second, when Zabowski reached on a one-out single. Golsan would ensure that Zabowski's hit would not go unrecognized and brought them both home on a two-run homer, his fourth of the year, an at-bat later.
Fortes would follow up Golsan's with a shot of his own, a solo home run over the left-center wall to put the Rebels up 3-0 after the third inning. Following a Dillard single an inning later, Tyler Keenan upped the lead by one on an RBI double, his lone hit of the game, to give Ole Miss a four-run advantage after four complete.
Rolison kept the Tiger bats silenced for most of his outing, not allowing a run over the first five innings of work, but Auburn came storming back with a rally of their own in the seventh inning.
The Tigers plated one in the sixth inning on a solo home run, their first of the game, but would add three more to their total with a three-run seventh. Rolison led off the inning, allowing two to reach scoring position before he was lifted for Houston Roth. Roth would go just 0.1 of an inning, allowing one to score on a wild pitch and two more on a Grae Kessinger error at shortstop.
The Rebels found just what they needed with Parker Caracci's entrance into the game following Roth's exit, however. The Ole Miss closer would go the final 2.1 innings of the game, allowing just one hit, no runs, and striking out four in the process. Caracci allowed just one baserunner with the game within one, and picked up his ninth save of the year in the process.
Ole Miss will be back in action tomorrow in game two against the Tigers, where they will take on SEC strikeout leader Casey Mize, a projected top-round draft pick and dominant league starter, with a 6:30 first pitch time.
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