Kicking off the 2015 NCAA Tournament, the Ole Miss baseball team dropped a narrow 3-1 decision to the University of Maryland in the first game of the Los Angeles Regional Friday night, May 29, at Jackie Robinson Stadium. With the setback to the No. 3 seed Terrapins (40-21), the No. 2 seed Rebels (30-27) will play in an elimination game Saturday, May 30, at 6:00 p.m. CT.
Senior Austin Knight was phenomenal behind the plate, throwing out three baserunners throughout the game. Knight became the first Rebel to catch three runners stealing since Stuart Turner accomplished the feat against Southeast Louisiana, March 6, 2013. He also reached base twice, drawing a walk and getting plunked by a pitch.
Ole Miss starting pitcher Christian Trent (7-7) went 6.1 innings, surrendering three runs on nine hits and three walks. The southpaw also struck out four Terrapins in his outing. Fellow junior Jacob Waguespack tossed 2.2 scoreless innings of relief, striking out two and not allowing a hit.
The Terrapins were led by their left side of the infield as shortstop Kevin Smith and third baseman Jose Cuas recorded two hits apiece. Starting pitcher Mike Shawaryn (13-2) lasted 5.1 innings, allowing one run on two hits and five walks. Kevin Mooney (3) pitched the ninth to pick up the save.
Maryland got to Trent early with a pair of runs in the first. The Terrapins smacked three straight doubles, before adding another base hit. However, the Rebels’ southpaw nailed down the lead runner and added a bases-loaded strikeout to prevent the big inning.
Trent put up back-to-back scoreless innings before the Terps added another run in the fourth. However, the damage was limited with the help out a double play. Trent recorded a strikeout on a ball in the dirt, and Knight threw out a runner attempting to reach second to end the frame.
A four-pitch sixth inning by Trent got the Rebels back to the dish for the bottom half of inning. Ole Miss showed its patience to get on the board, drawing four consecutive walks in the frame. Shawaryn issued three straight walks to load the bases, forcing him to exit the game. With Maryland bringing in a left-hander out of the bullpen, Coach Bianco elected to go to his bench as well, pinch-hitting right-handed hitter Nic Perkins for lefty J.B. Woodman. The move paid off as Perkins fought through an eight-pitch at-bat before his walk plated the Rebels’ run and cut the deficit to two, 3-1.
In the eighth, senior Sikes Orvis tried to slice into the Maryland lead by blasting a deep flyball to center field. However, Maryland centerfielder LaMonte Wade reached over the fence, bringing the ball back into play and making the catch for the out. Knight added a shot to the warning track that was also hauled in, and the Rebels were kept off the scoreboard.
Ole Miss will return to Jackie Robinson Stadium tomorrow, facing elimination from the regional tournament. The Rebels will face the loser of the first round matchup between No. 1 seed UCLA and No. 4 seed CSU Bakersfield. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CT. The game will be available on ESPN3, the Watch ESPN app, as well as the Ole Miss Radio Network.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports