By Adam Brown
Ole Miss drops a 5-4 heartbreaker to the Vanderbilt Commodores on Wednesday night. Vanderbilt scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth including the walk-off single by Dom Keegan.
“Just a tough one. When you get walked off, obviously, it’s tough to put into words in just a few minutes afterward,” head coach Mike Bianco said. “I thought it was a hell of a baseball game. I thought both teams played super hard, and after a probably couple-hour rain delay, we got started close to 9:30 in the evening. Both pitchers, Little for them and Diamond for us, I thought were spectacular.”
The Rebels captain Tim Elko led the club against the Commodores. The designated hitter blasted two home runs against the Commodores pitching staff to break open the pitcher’s duel.
“It was a curveball (the second home run in the seventh) up in the zone and just saw it well and put a good swing on it,” Elko said.
Ole Miss’s (39-18) starter Derek Diamond was masterful on the bump against the Commodores. Diamond made it difficult for Vanderbilt to get going offensively.
Diamond kept the high-powered offense of the Commodores quiet through the first three innings. He struck out the side in the first and had a no-hitter going into the third inning.
“Coach said in the meeting after, and I agree, that was one of the best pitching performances I’ve seen him make since he’s been here,” Elko said. “I was really proud of how well he did and excited to see what he’s got coming for us going forward.”
Vanderbilt broke the scoreless pitching duel in the fourth inning as Spencer Jones delivered a one-out double, followed by a double by Troy LaNeve. Jones came in an on-base rip of the bat of Tate Kolwyck.
The Rebels took the lead in the sixth. Elko delivered his 12th home run of the season to give Ole Miss a 3-1. Elko has belted three home runs since returning from his ACL injury earlier this season.
Diamond worked 5.1 innings, surrendering two runs on four hits with eight strikeouts.
In the bottom of the sixth, Vanderbilt scratched back for two runs to tie the game at 3-3.
Bianco brought Jackson Kimbrell into the game in relief in the sixth. Kimbrell did not record an out and allowed one run on three hits.
Freshman Jack Dougherty entered with bases loaded in the sixth and worked out of the jam. He tossed three complete innings and surrendered two runs on four hits to pick up the loss. Dougherty struck out five and allowed a walk.
Elko finished the game going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBIs.
Ole Miss struck out a total of 13 Commodore sluggers.
Ole Miss drops down into the loser brackets portion of the tournament. The Rebels return to the Met on Thursday afternoon against the Georgia Bulldogs. The first pitch is set for 1 p.m. on the SEC Network.