Ole Miss needed what it got Friday night after a stretch of baseball games that left some people wondering. That also included players and coaches. The Rebels collectively know they are better than what they had shown the past several games.
Enter David Parkinson. The junior left-hander was spectacular with a one-hit performance against Furman as the Rebels won 2-0 to begin the series. The hit didn’t come until the eighth inning of Parkinson’s masterful performance.
The Rebels need that tough, confident leader on the mound in the first game of a series, and heading into Southeastern Conference play Parkinson now has that role locked down.
Ryan Olenek hit throughout the stretch of offensive woes for this team. Friday night the sophomore went 3-for-4 and has become a most dependable hitter for the Rebels.
Will Golsan, Tate Blackman, and Thomas Dillard all had hits. But Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco was proud of the two walks and a hit batter the Rebels got off Furman ace Will Gaddis, perhaps as much as anything else offensively. That Ole Miss was getting baserunners was something new for this team. It wasn’t the case two weeks ago, but it had become a nightmare stretch at the plate, both from a hitting standpoint and a crossing it standpoint for the better part of two weeks.
Now 9-5 the Rebels can move on from here. They won’t likely face another Gaddis this weekend who, in the words of Olenek, was the best the Rebs had faced in 2017.
Blackman and Colby Bortles, the two captains, were back in the lineup after some conduct that displeased Bianco. Perhaps now this team can settle back in and find its former self, which was so good back in February.
James McArthur won’t pitch this weekend. Although a MRI Tuesday proved nothing was wrong, he had some arm soreness and needs to rest it. Perhaps he will be ready for Vanderbilt next weekend. Saturday’s starter is Brady Feigl, and the Sunday starter, not named yet, could likely be Ryan Rolison.
Ole Miss freshman catcher Cooper Johnson
On Parkinson’s night: “I knew he had a little bit of a chip on his shoulder from the beginning. It seemed like he had some fire, and I knew he was locked in. That first inning I hardly moved my glove. He was hitting his spots and that was the key. He had all his pitches.” On the late innings for Parkinson: “Obviously not as sharp as earlier, but I give him credit for staying sharp even in the eighth. He had the no-hitter going and that could be an emotional thing. I give him credit for staying sharp.”
Ole Miss junior LHP David Parkinson
On being locked in: “I was a little more aggressive and more focused. I felt in the later innings I really had that. I felt good (in the late innings).” On when he was aware of the no-hitter, which was into the eighth inning: “All the way. It’s hard not to know.”
Ole Miss sophomore outfielder Ryan Olenek
On playing defensively behind Parkinson and his performance: “It was pretty fun to watch. I’ve never seen a pitcher do what he did tonight. He was lights out.” On what made Parkinson so good: “He throws all his pitchers where he wants to. It’s fun to watch him pitch. He can work a hitter.” On the offense: “As a team we’re trying to keep the approach. A lot of teams go through ups and downs. We faced a really great pitcher tonight. He was the best we’ve seen all year. We had really great ABs even when we got down two strikes. We just kept competing.”
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco
On Parkinson: “Just a great mix. His curve ball was really, really good. The changeup was terrific. That’s what he didn’t have last week at Minute Maid. He made some first pitch strikes, especially with the offspeed. When you do that, you’re left-handed, and you throw 90 miles an hour, he was able to pretty much all night own the inside part of the plate to those right-handers which makes it a lot tougher on them.” On facing Gaddis from Furman: “That might be the best guy we’ve faced all year, and not just talent wise but the way he pitched. We earned every bit of it. I thought our at-bats were great. Our swings were shorter. It’s been glaringly obvious of our struggles. I was proud of Coach (Mike) Clement and what they did yesterday in practice. They worked a lot on shortening the swings and hitting balls the other way. We had a lot of good at-bats.”
OXFORD, Miss. – Behind David Parkinson’s 8.0 scoreless innings of one-hit baseball, No. 14 Ole Miss produced a shutout for the second time this week in a 2-0 victory over Furman. The Rebel starting pitcher faced the minimum Friday night, keeping the Paladins (8-5) hitless through the first seven innings.
Parkinson (3-1) struck out a career-high nine hitters and did not issue a walk during his longest outing as a Rebel. The Henrico, Virginia, native had a no hitter intact until a leadoff single to center in the eighth inning, but the Furman baserunner was wiped off the bases on a groundball double play. Will Stokes completed the shutout for Ole Miss (9-5), earning his fourth save of the season and 14th of his career to move into sole possession of sixth on the Ole Miss all-time saves list.
At the plate, sophomore Ryan Olenek matched his career high with three of the Rebels’ six hits. Tate Blackman added an RBI single, while Will Golsan and Grae Kessinger scored the two Ole Miss runs. The Rebels recorded all six hits off highly-touted prospect Will Gaddis (1-2). The Furman starter lasted 7.0 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) and tallying six strikeouts.
Olenek was the first to get the bats going for the Rebels with a single to right field in the bottom of the first. The night didn’t stop there for the center fielder as he put the bat to work with a double in the bottom of the third to bring in Ole Miss’ first run of the game with the help of an error by the Paladins. With the hit-and-run on, Golsan motored around the bases from first in what appeared would put two runners in scoring position; however, Olenek’s liner went under the right fielder’s glove and rolled to the wall, allowing Golsan to cross the plate.
In his fourth start of the season, Parkinson started the night with a strikeout in the first, two in the second and built from there to finish with his total of nine. He hit the leadoff batter to start the fourth inning, but catcher Cooper Johnson threw out the runner on a failed hit-and-run attempt. Parkinson cruised from there, retiring the next 11 batters he faced.
Ole Miss doubled its lead with a run in the fifth. Kessinger walked before back-to-back base hits by Olenek and Blackman scored the freshman to make it a 2-0 game. Colby Bortles took one for the team on his next at-bat, loading the bases and giving the Rebels a chance to blow the game wide open. However, a groundout got Furman out of the frame trailing by only two.
Parkinson’s no hitter was broken up in the top of the eighth when Furman first baseman Brandon Elmy singled to center. Despite the no-no out of the question, the southpaw completed the inning by retiring the next two hitters. He finished the eighth by forcing a 5-4-3 double play to cap his scoreless outing and help Ole Miss maintain the two-run advantage.
Stokes entered the game in at the top of the ninth and quickly found himself with two runners on and no outs. However, the Ole Miss closer persevered with the help of the Rebels infield. After Stokes recorded a strikeout on a failed bunt attempt by Furman, Bortles snagged a liner at third and caught the runner at second off the bag. Rocketing the ball back to second, Blackman covered the bag to turn the double play and preserve the shutout.
Ole Miss will look to clinch the series tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. as Brady Feigl takes the hill to square off against the Paladins.