NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) - The bats stayed hot for the No. 4 Ole Miss baseball team as the Rebels ran past No. 14 Vanderbilt, 11-3, on Friday night to improve to 29-6 overall and 8-5 in SEC play.
Ole Miss strung together hit after hit in seemingly every inning. The offensive parade, coupled with a strong three-man pitching performance by Ryan Rolison, Will Ethridge and Max Cioffi, put the Rebels in a strong position to start this key SEC road series.
The fourth-ranked Rebels struck first after a one-out single by Ryan Olenek to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. After base hits by Nick Fortes and Thomas Dillard, Olenek came around to score on a wild pitch for the game’s first run.
Vanderbilt came back with two runs in the bottom half of the first before Rolison settled in. The Rebel starter, in conjunction with reliever Will Ethridge, kept the Commodores off the scoreboard for the next five innings, allowing the Ole Miss offense to dig in.
Olenek led off the third inning by reaching on a walk. He scored shortly thereafter on a single by Dillard, who came around and crossed the plate on an RBI base hit from Will Golsan. Cole Zabowski scored the third run of the inning on a Chase Cockrell sacrifice fly, giving the Rebels a 4-2 lead.
The Rebels added two more runs in the sixth on a two-out, two-RBI triple by Fortes. Golsan then made it 7-2 when he crushed his first home run of the season deep over the left field wall in the seventh.
Ole Miss put up yet another crooked number in the eighth, scoring on an RBI single by Zabowski, a fielder’s choice off the bat of Tyler Keenan, and finally, a wild pitch to make it a 10-3 lead.
The final run of the contest came in the ninth when Jacob Adams touched home courtesy of an RBI double deep to left center by Fortes.
Rolison improved to 5-3 in another strong outing, going 5.2 innings, allowing two runs on six hits, striking out eight along the way. Ethridge was strong in relief, turning in 2.1 innings with just one run and one hit allowed. Max Cioffi continued the strong start to his Rebel career, retiring Vanderbilt in order in the ninth to close out the win. The freshman out of Chicago is yet to allow a run in 11 innings of work at the collegiate level.
Ole Miss and Vanderbilt are scheduled for a 2 p.m. first pitch on Saturday. Game 2 between the Rebels and Commodores will air on SEC Network+.
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