NEW ORLEANS - Ole Miss baseball fell behind early Sunday against Tulane, but the No. 10 Rebels (4-2) came through with clutch pitching and hitting performances when it mattered to secure a 6-3 victory and a key road series win.
Sophomores Tyler Keenan and Anthony Servideo delivered late for Ole Miss at the dish. Keenan drove in the game-winning run as part of a 3-for-5, two-RBI day, while Servideo put the game away with an RBI single in the eighth, going 2-for-4 with two RBI on the afternoon.
Meanwhile, the Rebel bullpen used an effective combination of Austin Miller, Connor Green, Kaleb Hill, Tyler Myers and Doug Nikhazy to hold Tulane scoreless over the final seven innings. Green turned in 1.1 scoreless innings to grab his first career win and Nikhazy tossed a perfect final inning to earn his first career save.
After a scoreless first frame, Tulane broke through in the second, first on a solo home run by David Bedgood. The Green Wave kept the rally going, plating two more runs on a sacrifice fly and a double to left field. The home team looked to add another on that double, but a relay from Thomas Dillard to Grae Kessinger to Cooper Johnson pegged Ty Johnson at the plate for the third out.
In the third, Ole Miss fought back with a crooked number of its own. Kessinger and Olenek started the two-out rally with consecutive base hits. The two came home on a single to left by Tyler Keenan and a hard-hit single to short by Dillard, respectively, to cut the Tulane lead to one, 3-2.
After the second, starter Gunnar Hoglund settled in, holding Tulane scoreless for the next two frames. Miller picked up where Hoglund left off in the fifth, working a one-two-three inning to keep the gap at one. Miller got one out in the sixth before passing the ball off to Green with runners on the corners and one down. The senior escaped the jam in impressive fashion, ending the Green Wave threat with two one-pitch at-bats.
Ole Miss broke through in the seventh and eighth innings to take command. Michael Fitzsimmons started the rally by drawing a walk in the seventh. Josh Hall came on to pinch run and promptly stole second and came home on a Servideo single to right. Keenan then put the Rebels on top for good, sending Servideo home with a two-out base hit to left.
A combination of Green and Hill held Tulane down in the bottom half, allowing for another big inning for the Ole Miss offense. Cole Zabowski started it off by reaching on a dropped pop fly by the Tulane right fielder. Jacob Adams then drew a walk to keep it going, and Servideo delivered once again with a single to right, sending Zabowski home safely. A wild sequence followed when the ball skipped away as Tulane tried to gun down Zabowski at the plate, then Adams at third. That allowed Adams to score, but as Ole Miss tried for one more, Servideo was pegged at the plate for the third out. But at that point, the damage was done.
Tyler Myers came out of the bullpen for Ole Miss and delivered a clutch one-two-three eighth inning. Doug Nikhazy continued an outstanding start to his Rebel career, tossing a perfect ninth with two strikeouts to seal the series.
Ole Miss returns to action Tuesday. The Rebels will host UT Martin at 4 p.m. CT at Swayze Field.
- Ole Miss improved to 4-2 on the season and 2-1 on the road.
- The Rebels now hold an 89-39 advantage in the all-time series against Tulane.
- Connor Green earned his first career win, throwing 1.1 scoreless innings with one strikeout. Green pitched twice this week, yielding no runs on three hits with five Ks.
- Doug Nikhazy earned his first career save after throwing a perfect ninth inning. The freshman out of Windermere, Florida, made three appearances on the mound this week, allowing no runs on four hits with six strikeouts over 3.1 innings.
- Five Rebels hit over .300 this week: Anthony Servideo (.333), Grae Kessinger (.353), Tyler Keenan (.412), Thomas Dillard (.412) and Ryan Olenek (.500).
- Thomas Dillard slugged 1.118 this week with a double, a triple, three home runs and 13 RBI.