OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss Athletics/WTVA) - It wasn't the offensive onslaught that carried the No. 9 Rebels to Friday and Saturday night victories, but Ole Miss (12-3) got it done when they needed to and escaped Sunday with a 2-1 win and series sweep over the UAB Blazers.
Strong relief pitching for the Rebels called for minimal action on the offensive side of the ball. Austin Miller and Connor Green continue to separate themselves from the pack of Rebel relievers, with both recording scoreless outings today. Between the two, they have allowed just one run all year in 25.2 combined innings of work. Both notched an appearance today to land themselves in a tie for the most appearances out of the bullpen this season with six.
Green is still yet to allow a run all season in six appearances, while Miller boasts the most innings recorded in relief opportunities. Miller also has two saves under his belt, which stood as the most on the team until Parker Caracci returned to 2018 form today with a dominant save performance.
Caracci entered in the top of the eighth after Doug Nikhazy was only called on for one out, inheriting one runner and quickly letting another reach on a walk. Caracci was able to stifle the rally with a strikeout and subsequent batters' interference call to shut down the eighth before promptly coming back an inning later and striking out two for his second save of the season.
After a solo home run notched the Blazers' only run of the day in the fourth inning, Thomas Dillard recouped the losses with one of his own in the bottom of the sixth. A solo homer from the bat of Dillard would tie it in the sixth, as he managed to extend his 16-game hitting streak and get the Rebels back in the game all in one swing of the bat.
It would only take one more run from the Ole Miss offense to take the lead and leave Swayze with a series sweep over the Blazers. One inning later, in the seventh, after Anthony Servideo reached on a walk, Tyler Keenan would boot him home on a single through the right side. Servideo's hustle proved worthwhile as the Blazer right fielder was unable to cleanly field the ball, allowing Servideo to score all the way from first on a routine single.
Two runs were all the Rebels needed to escape Sunday with a win and secure back-to-back series sweeps for the first time since early 2018. Caracci, feeding off an energetic crowd today, pumped a fastball by UAB's Tyler Tolbert in the bottom of the ninth to move the Rebels to 12-3 on the year heading into conference play.
The Rebels will take off for a two-game midweek trip to Louisville next week, with games on Tuesday and Wednesday, before welcoming Alabama to town for the first of many SEC series at Swayze Field.
- Ole Miss improves to 12-3 on the year, and 16-10 all-time versus UAB.
- This will be the Rebels' second sweep of the year, with three-game victories over UAB and Long Beach State.
- Almost a month into the season, Connor Green has still yet to allow a run, earned or otherwise, in six relief appearances on the season. Green turned in 1.1 innings of scoreless baseball today after inheriting a bases loaded situation in the sixth inning.
- Green picked up his third win of the year today, matching Will Ethridge for the most on the team.
- Parker Caracci earned his second save of the year after working the final 1.2 innings of this ballgame.
- Thomas Dillard extended his hitting streak to 17 games today with a home run in the sixth inning. He now has a team-high seven homers on the season.
- With two more intentional walks today, Dillard has now been intentionally put on first five times this year.
- Austin Miller has been terrific in six appearances out of the bullpen, and he continued his stellar season with 2.1 scoreless innings today, lowering his ERA to 0.50.