LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The Ole Miss baseball team saw its 2015 season come to an end, dropping a tight 2-1 contest to CSU Bakersfield Saturday at the Los Angeles Regional of the 2015 NCAA Tournament. One swing of the bat, a two-run home run by CSU Bakersfield's Soloman Williams, was the difference in the game that gave the Roadrunners (37-23-1) the win and ended the Rebels' (30-28) Road to Omaha.
Each team tallied seven hits throughout the ballgame. Sophomore Errol Robinson went 3-for-4 with a double to lead Ole Miss. His performance at the plate was the sixth time this season that he recorded at least three hits, a team high. Classmate J.B. Woodman added a pair of hits as well, and senior Sikes Orvis smacked a single in his final game as a Rebel.
Redshirt sophomore Brady Bramlett (7-4) was saddled with the loss although he pitched effectively for seven innings. The right-hander allowed two runs on seven hits, while striking out five and walking just one. Sophomore Wyatt Short pitched a perfect eighth inning, retiring all three batters he faced.
Along with the home run by Williams, CSU Bakersfield was led by a complete game from starting pitcher Hayden Carter (9-3). He gave up one run on seven hits with just two strikeouts and a pair of walks. Carter tossed 117 pitches for his eighth complete game of the season.
Bramlett held the Roadrunners in-check, but the Rebels were kept off the scoreboard as well through the early innings of the contest. In the bottom of the fourth, the Roadrunners struck first. David Metzgar doubled to lead off the inning before Williams cleared the fence with a home run to right field. CSUB added another hit for its third to start the frame, but Bramlett retired three straight hitters to end the inning. Through four innings of play, the Rebels found themselves trailing 2-0.
Ole Miss got a run back in the top of the fifth, nearly tying the game on a deep flyball by Colby Bortles. Robinson led off an inning with a hit for the third time in the game, doubling to left field. A Will Golsan groundout advanced Robinson 90 feet, giving Bortles a chance to knock his teammate in on a sacrifice fly. The Rebels' third baseman did just that, but it could have been more. Bortles belted a ball to deep center field that was caught at the top of the wall by CSUB center fielder Jordie Hein. Instead of a two-run homer to tie the game, Ole Miss had to settle for one run to cut the margin in half, 2-1.
After giving up the two runs in the fourth, Bramlett finished his outing by retiring nine of the last 11 batters he went up against and kept the Roadrunners off the scoreboard. However, Carter matched Bramlett by preventing the Rebels from tying the game. He retired the side in the top of the ninth to complete the game and eliminate Ole Miss from the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
Along with Orvis, four other seniors played their final game in an Ole Miss uniform: Scott Ashford, Austin Knight, Sam Smith and Scott Weathersby.
Mike Bianco, Ole Miss Head Coach
"As I told the players a couple minutes ago, you are never really prepared for this press conference. You wake up in the morning with positive thoughts and think that you'll come out and play good baseball and play another day, but the truth of the matter is, every coach in the country has to give this talk except for one, the team that wins the national championship. A lot will be dissected about this game and yesterday's, but the truth is, I'm really proud of my guys. It hasn't been the easiest year. Our guys have hung in there and I'm proud of our seniors for keeping the tradition going. We go to Omaha last year and this was one of those years that we could have fallen backwards and they didn't let that happen. They represented the program in such a great way and got back to the postseason for the 20th time as a program and that's something I'm really proud of. Obviously I'm disappointed about today."
On the performance of his starting pitcher, Brady Bramlett
"I thought Brady (Bramlett) was terrific. The truth of the matter is, he didn't make one mistake, I made one mistake. We tried to sneak a fastball into (Soloman) Williams and obviously he got all of it and really, that was the baseball game. But Brady was terrific; we just didn't have an answer for (Hayden) Carter. We knew he could pitch like that. He's just a guy that throws it in the cup and makes it real difficult on the offense."
On changing the mentality of the team heading into an elimination game
"I'm proud of them. I know that there was a time in the season where it didn't look good. At one point we were 16-18 and had lost four in a row and got shut out at Vanderbilt. We challenged our guys and they responded. At the end of the day, we had a winning record in the number one baseball conference in the country, were a number two seed and played the country's most difficult schedule and these guys have a lot to be proud of. They won't be proud tonight and probably not for a couple weeks, but their coach is proud of them."
Brady Bramlett, Ole Miss RHP
On his solid outing today
"I felt great today. My fastball command was there. It was just one of those games. But I felt great from the beginning."
J.B. Woodman, Ole Miss Outfielder
On his team's inability to get the big hit
"We couldn't get the big hit when the runners were on base. We set them up but couldn't get the big hit to knock them in. That's something you have to be better at to win baseball games."