Baseball Rolls Past Saint Louis in Oxford Regional Opener

OXFORD, Miss. - The No. 4 national seed looked just like that in its first game of the NCAA Oxford Regional. Ole Miss baseball cruised past Saint Louis, 9-2, Saturday night to advance to the winner's bracket.

Ryan Rolison struck out a career-high 13 batters and both Cole Zabowski and Tyler Keenan homered to seal a date with second-seeded Tennessee Tech (49-9) at 4 p.m. CT on Sunday.

SLU scored the game's first two runs in similar fashion. Rolison walked a batter in the first before giving up an RBI double into the left field corner to make it a 1-0 game. He issued a walk again in the second before allowing an RBI single.

However, in the bottom half of the second, the Rebels took over. Thomas Dillard started the rally, reaching on an error. He quickly came home, scoring his 65th run of the season on a monstrous home run by Cole Zabowski to center field. After a Will Golsan single, Chase Cockrell delivered the next RBI with a double to left center. Then it was Jacob Adams' turn, who tripled down the right field line to complete the cycle for the Rebels in the inning. Ryan Olenek added the sixth run with a double of his own to put Ole Miss firmly in control.

Ole Miss tacked on two more runs in the third. Golsan was hit by a pitch to start it, and Tyler Keenan finished it with a two-run blast to straightaway center.

The Rebels threatened another big inning in the fourth when they loaded the bases to chase Saint Louis ace Miller Hogan. Dillard elevated a ball to deep right center field but came just a few feet shy of the grand slam, settling for a sacrifice fly to make it a 9-2 game. The Billikens escaped the jam, doubling off Olenek as he attempted to tag and swipe home on a Zabowski fly ball.

Pitching with a comfortable cushion, Rolison found his groove. The sophomore lefty allowed just one hit after the second inning capping his masterful performance by striking out the side in the seventh inning, giving him a career-best 13 Ks on the evening.

Max Cioffi closed it out, picking up right where Rolison left off. Cioffi fanned one in the eight and one more in the ninth, the final batter of the evening, to give Ole Miss a combined 15 strikeouts.

Brady Feigl is set to throw against college baseball's most prolific offense. Tennessee Tech leads the nation in nearly every statistical category this season, including a .341 team average and 129 home runs. The Golden Eagles homered once in the opening round of the regional as they pushed two runs across in the eighth inning to edge Missouri State 6-4.

Missouri State will face Saint Louis in an elimination game at noon CT Sunday at Swayze Field. The Rebels and the Golden Eagles will follow at 4 p.m. The loser of the second game will take on the winner of the first game in another elimination contest Sunday night at 8 p.m. CT.

Quick Hits
- Ole Miss (47-15) is now one win shy of tying its all-time single-season record.

- Ryan Rolison (10-4) set a career-high with 13 strikeouts and became just the third player in Ole Miss baseball history to record 10 wins and 100-plus strikeouts in a single season.
- Cole Zabowski became the third Rebel with double-figure home runs this season, joining Thomas Dillard (13) and Nick Fortes (11).
- Ole Miss hit for the cycle in the second inning with Will Golsan's single, doubles by Chase Cockrell and Ryan Olenek, Jacob Adams' triple and Cole Zabowski's homer.
- Jacob Adams recorded the team's sixth triple this season. He's the fourth Rebel to triple this year.
- Max Cioffi recorded his third straight scoreless outing in relief. In his last three appearances, Cioffi has gone 6.0 innings, allowing no runs and no hits, walking three while striking out five.
- Tyler Keenan returned from a wrist injury to hit his ninth home run this season.
- Grae Kessinger returned from a hamstring injury and recorded a walk and a run scored, as well as a strong night in the field.

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.


 

 

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