Game Story By: Jeff Roberson
The teams split games so far here, with the Rebels winning 4-0 Friday night. Sean Johnson is the scheduled starter, according to Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco, in the series finale at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Ole Miss didn’t get a runner to third base Saturday until the ninth inning. Ryan Olenek doubled and moved to third on Tate Blackman’s ground out. But Colby Bortles, after fouling off several pitches and staying alive, struck out. That was followed by a popup behind home plate for Herni Lartigue, and the opposing catcher made the play to end the game.
Parkinson drew his first start last Saturday in his team’s 14-9 victory against Arkansas.
“Two weeks in a row he’s pitched terrific,” Bianco said of Parkinson. “He was much better (this week) than he was last week, just as far as stuff and command. He really used all three of his pitchers – fast ball, slider and change. He gave us every opportunity.”
Parkinson (1-1) went seven innings, allowing one run on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
“I felt good,” Parkinson said, even toward the end of his time on the mound. After a first inning where he threw 24 pitches, he only threw 86 total in seven innings.
“Coach (Carl Lafferty) came to me after the first inning in the dugout and basically said keep the pitch count down and go after them, let them hit the ball,” Parkinson said. “You’ve got good defense behind you, so that’s what I did.”
In warmups his approach was somewhat different, Parkinson admitted.
“Out of the pen I try to miss barrels, so I come out there and try to hit corners and keep them off balance. Instead I threw the ball in the zone and let them hit pop flies, things like that. That’s what I was trying to do.”
The Rebels hardly had any scoring opportunities during the course of the first eight innings. When they did, they couldn’t capitalize. Bianco credited Tide starter Jake Walters.
“Their guy pitched just as well,” he said. “It all came down to a couple of timely hits. We had some opportunities – not many – in some innings where we chased a couple of pitches out of the zone that could have been ball four. We don’t get a bunt down. A couple of things that could have helped us. The at-bats break down, and the next thing you know we’re out of the inning without a score.”
The best chance early to make something happen had been in the fourth inning with runners on first and second with one out. But back to back strikeouts for Walters ended the Rebel threat.
In the eighth a leadoff walk from Holt Perdzock got things started. Kyle Watson came in to pinch run. Alabama brought in its closer, left-hander Thomas Burrows, to replace Walters. Errol Robinson popped up but the Alabama right fielder dropped the ball. Still, the throw to second got Watson while Robinson was safe at first.
But Michael Fitzsimmons, pinch-hitting for Connor Cloyd, struck out and J.B. Woodman popped up in foul territory to end the threat in the eighth.
In the Alabama eighth, the Crimson Tide scored a run after two outs as Brady Feigl had replaced starter Parkinson with one on in the inning. Dallas Woolfolk came in to finish the inning after Feigl was pulled.
Ole Miss had only five hits in the game, and Alabama only seven.
Lartigue said Walters was good.
“He’s a pretty good competitor and filled it up,” the Rebel catcher said. “What we weren’t ready for, he threw a lot of offspeed in hitter’s counts, and that kept us off balance and off of his fast ball a little bit. We need to be a little more patient and chain a few more at-bats together.”
As for tomorrow?
“We’ve got to get off the mat and strike first,” Lartigue said. “We obviously didn’t do that today. We’ve just got to come out and compete, have quality at-bats, and win a lot of pitches.”
Alabama is schedule to start junior righty Nick Eicholtz (2-1, 2.51 ERA).
Ole Miss look to take the series tomorrow in game three against Alabama. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. CT and will be televised on the SEC Network + and Watch ESPN.