OXFORD, Miss. -- In an attempt to claim a pair of midweek games over back-to-back days, the Ole Miss baseball team suffered a 10-5 setback to Memphis on Star Wars Night at Swayze Field, April 22. The Rebels (21-21) recorded 12 hits throughout the contest, but the Tigers (27-12) used their 13 hits to tally 10 runs and earn the season split of the non-conference series.
Three Rebels recorded three-hit games as Ole Miss reached the double digit mark in hits for the fifth time in the past seven games. Ole Miss received production from each class. Sophomore Colby Bortles had another big night at the dish, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, two RBI and one run. Bortles' three hits tied his career high total for a single game. Junior Connor Cloyd kept swinging his hot bat with his third consecutive multi-hit ballgame in a 3-for-5 performance, increasing his batting average to .414 this season. Senior Austin Knight notched a career-high three hits as well for the Rebels. Rounding out the multi-hit games, freshman Will Golsan added a pair of base knocks.
Senior Sam Smith (2-5) was saddled with the loss after lasting four innings. Finishing out the ballgame, junior Drake Robison tossed a pair of scoreless frames and picked off the first runner of his career in the top of the ninth.
For the Tigers, Zach Schritenthal and Tucker Tubbs each smacked three hits and scored twice; Tubbs hit his 12 home run of the season, and Nate Rupiper added two hits, two runs and two RBI. Southpaw Alex Gunn (5-0) kept his perfect record intact, but the Rebels were able to rack up five runs on six hits and two walks on the Memphis starting pitcher over his five innings on the mound.
Memphis tallied three runs to start the game, jumping out to the early lead. The Rebels added one run in the bottom of the first due to a heads up play by J.B. Woodman. Standing 90 feet away from home, Woodman broke for home as soon as he saw a ball in the dirt. As the catcher went for the tag, the speedy sophomore knocked the ball out of the glove to slide in safely and cut the deficit to two, 3-1.
After the Tigers put up a run in the top of the fourth, Ole Miss countered with two runs to bring the difference within one, 4-3. Following a Bortles leadoff walk, Orvis doubled to deep center field to score his teammate before advancing to third on the throw home.
Two errors helped Memphis put a five-spot on the scoreboard in the fifth. In the bottom half of the inning, Bortles drove a ball into the gap to score two runs as he reached base for the third time in the game with his double. Through five innings, the Rebels trailed by a 9-5 margin.
Ole Miss threatened in the later innings, getting two runners in scoring position in the sixth, seventh and eight frames. Nonetheless, the Memphis relievers were able to make big pitches to keep the Rebels from mounting a comeback.
Up next, the Rebels host Alabama for a weekend of SEC action. The first game will air on SEC Network+, while the final two contests versus the Crimson Tide will be on national television. Saturday night's game will be broadcast on SEC Network at 7:00 p.m. CT, and the series finale on Sunday will be live on ESPN beginning at 12:00 p.m. CT. The home three-game set against Alabama will be the first of three SEC series at Swayze Field over the final four weekends of the 2015 regular season.