Baylor pitching made things tough on Ole Miss hitters, but Rebel batters also made it tough on themselves, according to head coach Mike Bianco, after Friday’s opening loss in Houston. The Rebels lost 4-0 to the Bears.
There was an earlier hint from his comments a week or so ago that Bianco wasn’t totally happy with the team’s offense in the latter stages of a 7-0 season-opening win stretch. Then came a 9-6 setback to Memphis at home Tuesday night. Now this, a shutout loss to Baylor and only two Rebel hits – one by Colby Bortles and one by Cole Zabowski. There were five Rebel walks but 11 strikeouts. Tough day offensively.
Baylor is off to its best start in 33 years at 10-0. Starting pitcher Nick Lewis, who went seven innings, and reliever Kyle Hill, who took the Bears on home, are two reasons for that start and certainly the win on Friday. Baylor put up two runs in the bottom of the second off Rebel starter David Parkinson, and that would prove to be enough.
Ole Miss had only one runner past first base all day. That was Tate Blackman who was thrown out at third base trying to get there from first base on a Colby Bortles single. All in all a miserable day offensively for a team more talented than to let that type performance continue.
Ole Miss’ game two of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Classic is at Noon Saturday against Texas Tech.
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco
On Baylor starter Nick Lewis: “The scouting report was right on. We knew he was a fast ball, changeup guy. We just didn’t pick it up. The disappointing thing was we had several bad at-bats in the first couple of innings, and we didn’t make any adjustments. We kind of looked like we lost our edge, we lost our fire, and we didn’t compete very well. He was tough. There are days when the other guy is that good. But we’ve got to move more balls, lay down a bunt, give ourselves an opportunity.” On Rebel starter David Parkinson: “David really struggled with his offspeed today. Earlyon he really had no feel for the breaking ball or the changeup, so he was really relying on the fastball. A tough day for him.” On reliever Andy Pagnozzi: “Outstanding job. He hadn’t pitched great the past two outings. He competed and you’ll always get that out of Andy. People will say he saved the bullpen (for the next two days) which he did, but he also gave us a shot. When we weren’t looking good in any phase of the game – offense, defense, pitching – Andy put up a bunch of zeros and kept us within a swing. We just couldn’t get any baserunners.” On bouncing back against another tough team in the Red Raiders: “We knew this was going to be a challenge for us. I’m not happy with the way we competed today. They played really well; we didn’t play very well. This is what it’s all about. This is like SEC play where there are nights you don’t play well but you’ve got to bounce back and be ready the next day. So we challenged them to play with a little more heart tomorrow, a little more energy.”
HOUSTON – (Ole Miss SID) Facing an unbeaten team for the fourth time this season, the No. 8 Ole Miss baseball team fell 4-0 to No. 17 Baylor in the first game of the 2017 Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic Friday afternoon at Minute Maid Park. Despite getting a runner on in seven of the nine innings, the Rebels (7-2) were limited to just two hits in the setback.
Facing their fourth unbeaten team of the year, Ole Miss suffered its first loss against a ranked opponent this season (6-1).
Baylor (10-0), a team off to its best start since 1984, tallied three runs off Ole Miss starter David Parkinson (2-1). The southpaw suffered his first loss over his last five starts, dating back to last season. Out of the bullpen, Andy Pagnozzi only allowed one run on one hit in a career-high 4.0 innings of relief.
Along with hits by Colby Bortles and Cole Zabowski, Ole Miss was able to draw five walks throughout the contest as Tate Blackman walked three times on the afternoon.
Nick Lewis (3-0) tossed 7.0 shutout innings for Baylor, while Kyle Hill pitched the final two innings. Seven Bears recorded hits at the plate, including two by center fielder Richard Cunningham.
The Bears jumped out to an early lead with a pair of runs in the second. Following a leadoff single to begin the frame, Ole Miss left fielder Thomas Dillard just missed a diving catch down the left field line. With the ball rolling to the wall, Baylor sent the runner from first to home. A perfect relay from Dillard to Grae Kessinger to Cooper Johnson was made, but a collision at the plate forced the baseball out of Johnson’s glove for the first run of the game. Another base hit scored another Bear, and Baylor looked to put together a big inning by loading the bases. However, Parkinson forced a groundout to leave the bases juiced and keep the deficit at two.
Lewis continued to keep the Ole Miss bats in check, allowing his offense to add to the lead in the bottom of the fourth. A walk combined with two singles gave Baylor a 3-0 advantage. Two innings later, the Bears used a triple and a sacrifice fly to make it a four-run game.
Pagnozzi finished the game strong, retiring the final seven hitters he faced to help keep the Ole Miss bullpen full of arms for the rest of the weekend. However, the Rebels couldn’t muster a rally in the late stages.
Ole Miss will return to Minute Maid Park tomorrow for its second game of the Shriners College Classic. The Rebels will face another ranked team in No. 10 Texas Tech. First pitch is slated for 12:05 on Fox Sports (regional coverage) and the Fox Sports GO app. Fans can also tune in to David Kellum and Keith Kessinger on the Ole Miss IMG Sports Network.