OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) – Brady Feigl had an outing for the ages, working against one of college baseball's best arms in Auburn’s Casey Mize, and led the Rebels to their first two-game edge in a conference series all year. No. 5 Ole Miss (38-13, 15-11 SEC) earned the series victory over the Tigers, putting them in line for the first SEC sweep of the year against a solid No. 16 Auburn club.
Head Coach Mike Bianco earned his 800th career victory with the win, his 700th as a skipper of the Rebels, and will look to go for number 801 tomorrow in the series finale.
Feigl set a career high in strikeouts with 12, stifling the powerful Tiger bats while allowing just one hit through his first five innings on the mound. While he couldn’t finish the complete game, Feigl’s 8.0 innings ties his career best set a year prior against Furman. The Rebels’ leading strikeout-to-walk ratio pitcher also improved on his best stat, finishing his outing with just one walk to go along with his 12 strikeouts.
While Feigl worked his magic on the mound, the Rebel bats struck early, and Tyler Keenan and Thomas Dillard were there to provide the spark as Ole Miss jumped to an 8-1 lead at one point in the ballgame. Both players finished the day with three hits, matching both of their season bests, while the freshman Keenan shined in one of his most impressive performances to date.
Keenan went 3-for-4 at the plate, with a single, double, and home run, his sixth of the year, while scoring two runs and driving in four more, the most on the night for the Rebels and also tied for his best of his young career at Ole Miss.
To go along with Keenan’s homer, Chase Cockrell also delivered with a two-run long ball in the second inning, jumpstarting the scoring fest to come. With the two home runs today, the Rebels now have 11 homers in the past five games, and eight in the last three.
The Rebels were able to do it all at the plate against one of the SEC’s most dominating pitchers in Casey Mize. Mize, who entered the game boasting the league’s most strikeouts and lowest opposing batting averages, found no luck against the Rebel bats, and set new season highs in both hits and runs allowed today.
Mize’s 5.0 innings of work tied for his shortest outing of all year, and his six runs allowed doubles any amount of damage inflicted by an opposing team on the Tiger ace since his second appearance of the year.
Ole Miss struck first in the second inning when Dillard and Keenan combined for a pair of singles, the latter resulting in an RBI for the Rebel third baseman. Cockrell brought both he and Keenan home on a two-run home run an at-bat later.
Keenan’s homer would add two more in the bottom of the fourth after Auburn got on the board with both their first hit and run of the game, a solo home run in the top half of the inning. The Rebels would go on to add more runs in each of the next three innings with RBI from Dillard and Keenan and a base path blunder by the Tigers that allowed Dillard to scamper to the plate in the seventh inning.
Feigl would attempt to go all the way, but after a leadoff home run in the top of the ninth, followed by a single, and his pitch count at 104 pitches, Bianco elected for his reliever, Greer Holston, to work the final three outs. Holston allowed a pair of hits but did not let a run cross the plate and struck out two to close the game and give the Rebels the series victory.
Ole Miss will be back in action Saturday at 4 p.m. CT with James McArthur on the mound as they go for their first conference sweep of the year.
- The Rebels improve to 38-13 on the year, 15-11 in league play, where they remain a half-game behind Arkansas for second in the SEC West.
- Head Coach Mike Bianco earned his 800th career win, his 700th as skipper of the Rebels.
- With back-to-back wins over Auburn, Ole Miss has won its first two games in an SEC series and is in line for its first conference sweep of the year.
- With two home runs, Ole Miss now has 11 homers in the past five games, and eight in the last three.
- Brady Feigl delivered his best outing all year, going 8.0 innings of work en route to setting a new career high in strikeouts with 12 to help him earn his eighth win of the season.
- Two Rebels had three-hit games, Tyler Keenan and Thomas Dillard, both of whom tied their season-best in that category.
- Keenan went 3-4 at the plate today with a home run, his sixth of the year, as well as a double, two runs, and four RBI, matching his career best in runs batted in.
- Auburn starter Casey Mize, who entered the game leading the SEC in strikeouts and opponent batting average, set new season highs in both runs and hits allowed to the Rebels.