Surprising Sunday

An early-season Sunday that could have solidified the Ole Miss baseball team as a top contender in the Southeastern Conference race turned out to be one that might have done that for visiting Texas A&M. The Aggies have now won five of six in league play.

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Ole Miss lost 2-1 in the opener and 10-6 in the finale, as rain on Saturday forced the ballclubs to play two seven-inning games Sunday.

"A tough day for us," said Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco after his team fell to 21-4 overall and 3-3 in SEC play. "The first game we played OK, but we just didn't do enough to win the game. In game two, just very disappointing. We go up 5-0 in the first (inning) in a short, seven-inning game at home. You've got to be able to close it out."

Mike Mayers
Thomas Graning

But the Rebels did not and the series went to the Aggies. Ole Miss won Friday's game 8-2.

In game one Sunday, Rebel starter Mike Mayers got off to a shaky start in the first inning, as he had in the second game of the Arkansas series last weekend. A hit batter and a walk led to a RBI single by cleanup hitter Mitchell Nau.

But Mayers settled down nicely after that and had five solid innings before giving way to Tanner Bailey who finished things up.

The Aggies were able to add to the 1-0 lead in the third inning. Again it was Nau who came through, this time with a solo home run for a 2-0 Texas A&M lead. But the Aggies (17-8, 5-1) would get no more.

Ole Miss got its lone run in the fourth on a round-tripper by catcher Stuart Turner, his third home run of the season.

Mayers (2-2) got the loss, and Texas A&M starter Daniel Mengden (4-1) got the win. Jason Jester, who went the final 1.1 innings, got his seventh save.

Auston Bousfield
Thomas Graning

In game two, after the Aggies got nothing in the top of the first off Ole Miss starter Sam Smith, the Rebels unleashed an offensive attack in the bottom of the inning that scored five runs and chased Texas A&M starter Jason Freeman.

Leading 2-0 already, the Rebels scored three runs on a Will Jamison two-RBI single and an error on Aggie first baseman Cole Lankford.

But Texas A&M chipped away at the 5-0 Rebel lead, tying it with two runs in the second and three more in the top of the fifth. A four-run seventh gave Texas A&M a 9-5 lead, and they cruised to victory.

"We have to forget about this and move on," said Rebel senior Tanner Mathis. "We'll come back from this and get after it."

Chris Ellis, who hadn't pitched in five weeks because of injury, got the game-two loss in relief. Matt Kent, also in relief, got the win for the Aggies.

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