By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Vanderbilt took advantage of seven walks and a hit batter by Ole Miss pitchers and manufactured enough offense to beat the Rebels 3-1 in Game 1 of their SEC series before 10,002 fans Friday night at Swayze Field.
If No. 17 Ole Miss is to keep from losing its third-straight conference series it will need to defeat the No. 2-ranked Commodores today and Sunday. First pitch today is 4 p.m.
Vanderbilt starter Kevin Ziomek and reliever Brian Miller combined to limit Ole Miss to six hits. Shut out in the final two games at Florida, the Rebels (23-7, 4-6 SEC) have scored just one run in their last 27 innings.
Ole Miss starter Bobby Wahl allowed only one run but walked six.
Miller gave up two ground-ball singles to open the ninth but, Jake Overbey failed to get down a bunt on three attempts. Miller rallied with a fly out and two ground balls.
After reliever Tanner Bailey put two runners on base with a hit batter and a walk in the eighth in a 1-1 game, Vanderbilt (27-4, 9-1) executed a double steal and scored the go-ahead run on Spencer Navin’s sacrifice fly.
Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco thought Bailey was pressing after hitting Mike Yastrzemski on a 2-2 count to start the eighth.
“I thought he was in good command but tried to overthrow a little bit after that. It was one of those games where you have to keep your composure on the mound.”
Bailey kept the game tied at 1 in the seventh when he induced a two-out ground ball with the bases loaded. He began the night with five walks and one hit-batter in 20.1 innings.
Miller got a fly ball from Stuart Turner and a ground ball from Sikes Orvis with the tying run at second base in the eighth.
Vanderbilt got on the board in the fifth when Conrad Gregor gave himself up in a rundown with two outs, and Xavier Turner ran home.
Austin Anderson’s two-out, full-count RBI single in the third gave Ole Miss a 1-0 lead and its first run in 20.2 innings.
“It’s disappointing that we didn’t do enough to win the game,” Bianco said. “There were a couple of plays throughout that if we do things differently we have a much better shot to win the game at the end. They did a little more than we did.”