By Adam Brown
Junior Thomas Dillard delivered the game-winning base hit in the bottom of the 11th to give Ole Miss a 5-4 victory in the opening game of the series against Texas A&M on Thursday.
Ole Miss (28-15, 11-8) had the bases loaded in the 11th when Dillard hit the ball up the middle to bring home Ryan Olenek (third) and Grae Kessinger (second).
Dillard finished the night going 2-for-4 at the dish with a run and two RBIs.
Ole Miss starter Will Ethridge was a rock on the bump for the Rebels as he worked eight innings against the Aggies and only gave up three runs on six hits. Ethridge struck out seven batters.
Texas A&M (30-13-1, 11-7-1) got on the scoreboard first in the game as they broke up the pitchers’ duel in the fourth inning as a run came into score on a muffed throw. The Aggies tacked on two more runs in the fifth off two hits.
Ole Miss got the bats going against the Aggies in the seventh as Micheal Fitzsimmons got a base hit to right center. Sophomore outfielder Carl Ginidl came in to pinch run. He would move up to second on a groundout by Olenek, advance to third on a wild pitch, and come home on an error by the catcher.
In the eighth, the Rebels tied the game up with two more runs as Tyler Kennan and Dillard crossed the plate.
The Rebels’ closer Parker Carracci came in the ninth and worked three innings, giving up a run but striking out five batters. Carracci picked up the win to move to 2-2 on the season.
Ole Miss is 6-2 against Texas A&M over the last two seasons. In the Aggies’ last trip to Oxford, Ole Miss fell in game one but won the final two to secure the 2017 series victory.
The probable starters for this weekend’s matchup for the Aggies showcase the arms of sophomore Asa Lacy (tonight) and Saturday’s hurler is TBA. Coach Mike Bianco will match talent with southpaw Doug Nikhazy (Friday), and Saturday’s pitcher is yet to be determined.
This weekend’s series will be on the SEC Network+ on Friday and Saturday. Fans can listen to all of the action on the Ole Miss Radio Network.