HOOVER, Ala. – Nr. 10 Ole Miss baseball fought all the way in the second round of the SEC tournament, but despite a heroic day from senior captain Tim elko and fantastic performances from Derek diamond and Jack dougherty, Vanderbilt eventually won a 5-4 defeat for Ole Miss.
Wednesday’s showdown between two of the SEC’s best was a secure battle duel between both starting arms of Diamond and Vanderbilt’s Christian Little, as only one combined race was mustered between both clubs through five completions.
However, the Rebels broke it at the top of the sixth on the first of two homers from Elko, this is a three-run blast and the third since the seniors return from ACL tear. Vanderbilt kept up with two of his own in the bottom half, finishing Diamond’s huge start after 5.1 IP, only two races allowed, and eight strikes, one of his career highs.
Elko homers again on the eighth to put the rebels on top in the direction of the game’s last frame with beginner Jack dougherty on the mound, but the Commodores eventually managed to string together a couple of races at the bottom of the ninth, final of an RBI single, to go off the Rebels.
Justin benk reached initially on a hit-by-pitch for the 24th time this season, but was stranded in second place. Vanderbilt found even less success in the bottom half when Diamond knocked out three straight Commodores to start the game.
The Rebels placed two runners in scoring position in the second, starting with a leading single by Tim elko, but both were stranded. Diamond then used a double play and his fourth strike on the ninth to get through the second unscathed.
Bench was again stranded in scoring position in the third after a single. In the bottom half, Enrique Bradfield logged Vanderbilt’s first hit of the night, but remained on the first when Diamond increased his strike to a total of five.
Vanderbilt-starting Christian Little continued the K-parade with three in the fourth, while the Commodore offense broke through at the bottom. After back-to-back doubles, Tate Kolwyck made the game’s first run on an RBI single, but Diamond stranded two runners with the score only 1-0.
After his first blunder of the night, Diamond bounced back largely, cutting through 9-1-2 of the Vanderbilt order behind two strikes, setting the stage for a major offensive inning for the rebels.
Jacob Gonzalez started it with a one-single, followed by a tour issued to Kevin Grahamand brings the junior’s reached base line to the 50-game milestone. Then Tim elko lifted a home run in the opposite field to the right, giving the Rebels a 3-1 lead.
Vanderbilt tied it straight to the bottom of another Kolwyck RBI single and an RBI fieldman’s choice outside of CJ Rodriguez’s bat. New Year’s relief Jack dougherty knocked out Jayson Gonzalez to escape the jam.
Then the legend of Elko grew. The Rebel captain launched the clear signal at home over the wall to the left to give the rebels a 4-3 lead.
Ole Miss carried that advantage into the ninth, but Vanderbilt found magic late when Dominic Keegan’s RBI single Enrique Bradfield da Commodores secured the final victory.
– Ole Miss falls to 39-18 in the season and 1-1 in the SEC tournament.
– Rebels shared the season series with Vanderbilt at 2-2, after a series victory earlier in the regular season.
– Ole Miss suffered his first loss of the season (30-1) when he led after eight rounds.
– Tim elko hit his third home run since tearing his ACL on April 5th. The Rebell captain also hacked his first multi-hit game since the injury.
– Elko tied Graham to the team management in the home race with 12.
– Elko drove in three plus races for the eighth time this season.
– Kevin Graham increased its base base to 50 games and has reached 55 of 57 games this season. His is the longest active reach in the nation.
– Derek diamond went five plus innings for the seventh time this season and knocked out eight, one shy of the season’s highest and his most against the SEC competition this season.
– Diamond allowed only two races in 5.1 laps, his fewest allowed in a start since March 21 vs. Auburn.
– Justin benk was hit by a pitch for the 24th time this season, moving him two shy of the national leadership.
– Jacob Gonzalez knocked out several times for just the sixth time in 57 games this season.