Rebels drop game 2 to Crimson Tide

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OXFORD, Miss - (Ole Miss Athletics) - It was a back-and-forth Southeastern Conference battle Saturday at Swayze Field, but No. 7 Ole Miss baseball ended up on the wrong end of the hard-fought game, falling 8-6 to Alabama.

The visiting Crimson Tide started the scoring in the second after an error and a pair of walks. A Kolby Robinson sacrifice fly plated the first run, and a bases-loaded walk sent home the second and brought Taylor Broadway out of the bullpen. The junior promptly struck out the first batter he saw on three pitches to strand three Alabama baserunners.

Ole Miss responded in the bottom half, starting with a Cooper Johnson single back up the middle. Jacob Adams then was hit by a pitch, and the rally was on. Grae Kessinger and Anthony Servideosent runners home on back-to-back base hits, and Tyler Keenanscored another on an RBI groundout. Servideo then came home on a wild pitch as Thomas Dillard drew a four-pitch walk. After an Alabama pitching change, a Ryan Olenek base hit brought Dillard home to cap a five-run frame.

Following a scoreless third, Alabama swung back in the fourth, beginning with a leadoff triple by Robinson. A sacrifice fly then preceded a solo home run by Joe Breaux, prompting the Rebels to bring Connor Green on in relief. The Crimson Tide kept rolling, plating two more runs to take a 6-5 lead before the Rebels escaped the inning.

The Rebels once again countered when Keenan reached on an error. On the play, the ball bounced off of the foot of Alabama second baseman Morgan McCullough, and Servideo came all the way around from first to tie the game at six.

Alabama threatened in the seventh, loading the bases with no outs after two walks and a bunt single. However, freshman Doug Nikhazycame through with back-to-back strikeouts and a flyout to escape the jam.

The Crimson Tide broke through in the eighth. After a leadoff single, Ryan Olenek came on in relief of Nikhazy and quickly fanned the first two batters he saw. But a single by John Trousdale and a double by Drew Williamson gave the Tide an 8-6 lead.

Ole Miss was poised to regain the lead in the eighth when Kessinger singled and Keenan was hit by a pitch, but after fouling off six straight pitches, Dillard grounded into a double play to end the inning. The Rebels managed just a walk in the ninth before a pair of strikeouts ended their hopes for a late comeback.