Late homers fuel Ole Miss past Oklahoma in Game 1 victory | Rebels win 10-3
OMAHA, Neb. (WLOX) - On Saturday night, the Ole Miss Rebels defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 10-3 in Game 1 of the College World Series Final.
Errors would plague the Sooners in the top of the first, allowing the Rebels to capitalize early and post two runs on the scoreboard. A two-out Tim Elko (Lutz, Fla.) single followed by a wild pitch gave the Rebels a runner in scoring position. Left fielder Kevin Graham (O’Fallon, Mo.) brought Elko around to score on a single into left field. Graham, who managed to steal second on a mishandled throw down by Oklahoma catcher Jimmy Crooks, would also score after a Kemp Alderman (Decatur) ground ball was bobbled by shortstop Peyton Graham.
The trend would continue in the next inning. Right fielder Calvin Harris (Peosta, Iowa) would reach first with two outs with an infield single, and a wild pitch would see Harris standing on second. Center fielder Justin Bench (Redington Beach, Fla.) singled to right field to score Harris from second and give the Rebels a 3-0 lead.
Ole Miss would earn a fourth run in the top of the third in the form of an opposite field homerun from fifth-year senior Elko. He would finish the day 4 for 5 with an RBI and 3 runs.
Oklahoma would eventually answer in the bottom of the sixth. Singles by Jackson Nicklaus and Sebastian Orduno gave the Sooners two runners with no outs. A bunt by Kendall Pettis down the third base line would lead to a throwing error by third baseman Garret Wood (Claremore, Okla.), allowing Nicklaus to score. Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco would then head to the bullpen, calling on freshman righty Mason Nichols (Jackson) to relieve Jack Dougherty (Collierville, Tenn.) with no outs and bases loaded. Nichols would allow one run to cross via walk before getting the out of the inning, bringing the score to 4-2.
Dougherty, who allowed no hits until the bottom of the sixth, finished the day with 3 hits and 1 run allowed through 5 innings pitched to earn his 4th win this season. He also struck out 6 batters during his tenure.
Ole Miss would light up the scoreboard again in the top of the eighth. Outfielder TJ McCants (Cantonment, Fla.), who entered the game for Wood, blasted a two-run homer over the right field wall. Calvin Harris and Justin Bench would do the same in the next two at-bats, making Ole Miss the first team to hit back-to-back-to-back homers in the College World Series since 1998. They extended their lead to 8-2.
Oklahoma would earn their third run of the game in the bottom of the eighth. Josh Mallitz (Tampa, Fla.) entered the game in relief of Nichols, walking the first batter he faced in Kendall Pettis. A balk by Mallitz saw Pettis advance to first, and Pettis would later score on a single from first baseman Blake Robertson, making the score 8-3. However, this would prove to be much too little, much too late.
Ole Miss would add insult to injury in the top of the ninth as Tim Elko earned his fourth hit of the day with a single into left field. A double from Kemp Alderman gave Peyton Chatagnier (Cypress, Texas) to runners in scoring position. He would cash in with a double into right field, scoring one run. A sacrifice fly by catcher Hayden Dunhurst (Carriere) would score the final run of the game, bringing the score to 10-3.
The Rebels are now just one win away from being crowned National Champions. Game 2 will be televised at 3 p.m. EST on ESPN.
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