By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – Three Ole Miss pitchers combined to shut out No. 24 Vanderbilt 1-0 before 8,257 fans at Swayze Field Friday, the opening night of SEC play.
It’s the sixth shutout of the season for the Rebels, their fifth in a row. No. 16 Ole Miss improves 13-5, while Vanderbilt falls to 12-7.
Game 2 is at 1:30 Saturday.
The Rebels have held the opponent scoreless in 45-straight innings and in 67 of the last 68.
Ole Miss starter David Parkinson allowed all three Vanderbilt hits. He walked four and struck out five.
“My leadoff batter was a big problem for tonight, but what was working for me when I got a runner in scoring position was my slider,” Parkinson said. “I was able to work with Cooper (Johnson) back there and get things done.”
Will Stokes pitched the seventh and eighth, and Dallas Woolfolk threw the ninth for his fifth save.
Woolfolk won a 12-pitch at-bat to lead off the ninth against Vanderbilt pinch-hitter Stephen Scott who fouled off six pitches before finally looking at a third strike.
“It’s big when all the pressure’s on you to keep the leadoff man off base and to keep throwing them in there when you’re throwing 94 or 95, and they were strikes,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “That was tough. That shows you how much he’s matured as a pitcher.”
The Rebels broke through in the sixth with a two-out rally.
Colby Bortles started it with a hit, his second of the game. After Thomas Dillard walked former Itawamba Community College standout Tim Rowe delivered a pinch-hit single to left to drive in Bortles.
Ryan Seamster was hit by a pitch, but the inning ended with three on base when Cooper Johnson struck out.
Both Parkinson and Vanderbilt’s Kyle Wright in the first four innings escaped bases-loaded no-out jams, and both got their first out when a batted ball hit a runner on the basepath.
For Vanderbilt in the top of the third, Alonzo Jones ran into his own weakly hit nubber.
Anticipation built for Ole Miss in the fourth with back-to-back hits by Ryan Olenek and Tate Blackman and walk to Bortles.
Olenek and Blackman went back to their bases when Dillard’s bouncer hit Bortles between first and second. Wright got the next two outs on a soft liner to first and a ground ball.
“David wasn’t real good as far as stuff and command, but one of the things, if you want to be an ace in the SEC you’ve got to get outs when you don’t have your best stuff,” Bianco said. “He was able to make big pitches once people were on.”
Ole Miss 1, Vanderbilt 0
Vanderbilt 000 000 000 – 0 3 0
Ole Miss 000 001 00X – 1 6 1
WP: David Parkinson (4-1). LP: Kyle Wright (0-3). Save: Dallas Woolfolk (5). Multiple Hits: (OM) Colby Bortles. 2B: (V) Ethan Paul. DP: Ole Miss 1. LOB: Ole Miss 8, Vanderbilt 7. T: 2:45. A: 8,257. Records: Ole Miss 13-5, Vanderbilt 12-6.
Game 2 is at 1:30 p.m. today.