OXFORD, Miss. -- In the final regular season game of the 2017 season at Swayze Field, the Ole Miss baseball led from start to finish to surge past No. 19 Texas A&M 6-3 in the series' rubber match. The Rebels (31-21, 13-14 SEC) scored two runs in the first, and a three-run eighth ended up being crucial to the Mother's Day victory.
With the win, Ole Miss secured its fifth victorious series over a ranked team this season. The Rebels also finished the 2017 regular season home slate with an impressive 24-8 record.
Ryan Olenek and Will Golsan recorded three hits apiece, while combining for three of the team's six runs. Team captains Tate Blackman and Colby Bortles hit home runs in the eighth to give the Rebels a comfortable lead. Blackman belted his ninth of the season, and the senior Bortles produced his team-leading 10th blast in what could end up being his final at-bat at Swayze Field. Freshman Cooper Johnson went 2-for-4 at the bottom of the lineup.
Making his 13th start of the season, David Parkinson (6-3) went 6.0 innings and allowed just one run to go along with five strikeouts to get the win. After completing the sixth, the junior southpaw handed the ball to Will Stokes who came out ready as he kept the Aggies (35-17, 15-12 SEC) off the scoreboard. Dallas Woolfolk (12) pitched the final 2.0 innings to earn his second save of the weekend.
Texas A&M leadoff hitter Nick Choruby went 3-for-5 to lead the visitors at the plate, while six other Aggies recorded hits. Jorge Gutierrez added a pinch-hit home run in the ninth. On the mound, starter Stephen Kolek (3-3) allowed three runs on five hits and five walks over 4.2 innings.
Golsan was first to get things going for the Rebels with a single to right. After two walks, the bases were loaded for Olenek at the plate. The sophomore's sacrifice fly scored Golsan for the game's first run. Then with two outs, Nick Fortes tried to steal second but got caught in a pickle long enough to score Bortles and give Ole Miss a 2-0 lead.
Texas A&M found its first hit by Joel Davis in the second, but Ole Miss turned a double play started by Parkinson. The Rebel starter followed the twin killing with a big strikeout to end the inning and keep the Aggies scoreless.
In the third, Parking found himself with the bases full of Aggies. With a single by Texas A&M's Logan Foster, the Aggies put themselves on the board. However, that did not waver Parkinson as he struck out the next two batters to work out of the bases-loaded situation and limit the damage.
Olenek got things going for the Rebs in the fourth with a single to right followed by his 10th stolen base of the year. Kyle Watson then reached first on a fielder's choice as Olenek beat the throw to third. Cooper Johnson placed with a perfect bunt down the third base line for an infield single that scored Olenek, making it a two-run game.
Ole Miss held on to a 3-1 lead until Blackman smacked a solo home run over the left field wall to kick off the eighth inning. Two batters later, after Golsan tallied his third hit of the game, Bortles followed with a long ball of his own. The senior, possibly stepping up to the Swayze Field dish for the final time in his Ole Miss career, belted a two-run bomb that easily cleared the fence in left. The three-run inning built the Rebels' advantage to five heading into the final frame.
Texas A&M fought back in the ninth, grabbing two runs to bring the score to 6-3. However, Woolfolk made sure the tying run never reached the plate by striking out Foster to end the game.
The Rebels will wrap up the 2017 regular season with four road games in a five-day span. First, Ole Miss travels to Jonesboro, Arkansas Tuesday (May 16) to face Arkansas State for the second time this season. With the Rebels looking to claim the season sweep, first pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. and can be heard on the Ole Miss IMG Sports Network. Ole Miss will then travel to Auburn to put a lid on the regular season conference slate (May 18-20). The three-game series begins Thursday night at 6 p.m. CT with game two beginning at the same time on Friday. The series finale will start at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon.