Prior to the 3rd inning of Saturday’s game, Ole Miss’s pitching staff had given up 0 runs in 48 innings. That’s nearly 7 full games of shut-out ball. Thank the good Lord sweet baby Jebus for Will “Youth Hockey” Toffey and Stephen “Oh God, Not in the Face” Scott.
After a 1-0 loss to Ole Miss last night, the Fightin’ Admiral Akhbar’s struck first, scoring the first run in the bottom of the 2nd on an Ethan Paul throwing error at the plate. That led to a 1st and 3rd, 1 out situation that Patrick “Mad Dog” Raby calmly got out of.
With sophomore RHP Brady “Paul” Feigl (director of such female-driven comedy classics as Bridesmaids and Spy) on top of his game, and Vanderbilt’s offensive struggles in the front of everyone’s mind, there were legitimate worries that one run would be enough. Not to be deterred, in the top of the 3rd, Vanderbilt struck back with a lead-off single by Julian “Chinfante” Infante, followed by back to back jacks to right field by Toffey and Scott.
The Mad Dog followed that up by retiring 8 straight in the 3rd-5th inning, and continued his workmanlike, steady-handed dominance on the mound. While there is nothing fancy about what Raby offers up, his mistake-free, pound the strike zone, calm and efficient approach has him 3-2 on the season with a 1.42 ERA.
Stephen Scott continued his hot hitting with a one out 2B in the 6th, knocking out Ole Miss starter, and director of the new Ghostbusters, Feigl in the process. Ethan Paul greeted Ole Miss reliever Andy Pagnozzi with a productive out, moving Scott up to 3rd. Jason Delay then drove Scott home on a line drive single to RF to make it 4-1 (Delay moved up to 2nd on the fielding error by Bryan Seamster).
The theme of the bottom of the 6th was “hit hands and throw downs.” Ole Miss countered with a lead-off 2B by Will Golsan that hit off of Jeren Kendall’s wrist in the bottom of the 6th. Raby then plunked Olenek on the pinky side of his hand - possibly breaking it - but the umpire did not award the batter with first base. After Mike Bianco yelled at him for the better part of 10 minutes, the Ump relented, and called it a HBP. The ump quite easily could have thrown Bianco out of the game for his insolence, and I’m not sure why he didn’t. Regardless, Ole Miss ran themselves out of a potentially big inning when Stephen Scott gunned down Golsan at home, and Delay followed by nailing Olenek at 3rd - a rare 7-5 double play on a single to left field. Blake Bortles’ little bro grounded out to 2nd, ending the inning with no damage done - save for Ryan Olenek’s possibly broken left hand.
Thomas Dillard narrowed the gap to 4-2 with a lead-off solo shot in the bottom of the 7th, and subsequently ended the day for the Mad Dog.
Freshman LHP Zach King relieved Raby, and retired the side on 8 pitches.
Will Toffey worked a walk to start the 8th, which brought in the 2nd Ole Miss reliever on the day - Freshman RHP Houston “The Human Stain” Roth. Toffey advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch, and Jason “The Rain” Delay delivered with his 2nd 2 out RBI single of the game to make it 5-2.
Ole Miss threatened again in the 8th, but came up empty. Zach King walked the lead off hitter in the 8th, but Collin “Twisted Wrister” Snider was not going to take it. He promptly K’d Golsan on a change. On the next batter, however, though Snider popped Olenek up, Kendall made his 2nd horrid defensive play on the game, calling Bleday off and then coming up short on a dive as the wind blew the ball out of range. The result was 1st and 2nd with one out. Snider then got Tate Blackman out on a chopper to the mound, moving the runners up a base. Colby Bortles put a charge into one, but no damage was done, as JJ Bleday was there on the warning track to make the inning ending out.
Jeren Kendall provided some cushion with a one out HR to the bullpen in right in the top of the 9th, pushed the lead to 6-2, and chased Houston “Portnoy” Roth to the locker room to complain about it.
Reed Hayes, who had served as DH all game, closed things out with a scoreless 9th.
On the Bump Sunday:
VU Freshman RHP Drake “Safari Planet” Fellows (3-0, 1.00 ERA)
v. Ole Miss Freshman RHP Will “Come to my Window” Ethridge (1-0, 1.15 ERA)