Raleigh, NC-Walks and errors proved to be costly for the Rebels in the NCAA Tournament opener on Friday as Ole Miss (37-23) fell to William & Mary (38-22) by a score of 4-2.
With the loss, the Rebels fall into the loser’s bracket and will face the loser of tonight’s game between NC State and Binghamton in an elimination game at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday.
Mike Mayers (5-6) took the loss for the Rebels as William & Mary scored four unearned runs in the fifth inning, capitalizing on a pair of fielding errors and four walks to score the only runs of the game for the Tribe.
It was all the third-seeded team in the regional would need to pick up the win.
Jason Inghram (9-6) picked up the win as he worked 8.0 innings and allowed two runs on eight hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Matt Wainman picked up his 14th save of the season, closing out the ninth and keeping the Rebels off the board.
“It’s disappointing, the way we played today,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “It was a tough day for Mike (Mayers) and an uncharacteristic day on the mound for him. William & Mary played hard and clean baseball. They played better than us in all three phases of the game today. We had that one inning that we couldn’t get out of and that was pretty much the ballgame. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an NCAA Tournament game where a team got four runs without getting a hit.”
After three quick innings to start the game, Ole Miss got a chance in the fourth inning, putting men at the corners with one out. A squeeze attempt caught Turner in a rundown between third and home, allowing Preston Overbey and Auston Bousfield to move to second and third on the play. Ole Miss couldn’t get them home, however, as a foul fly ended the inning with two men in scoring position for the Rebels.
The Tribe responded in the top of the fifth, using a fielding error and a walk with one out to put two men on base. A ground ball to first put the second out on the board, but advanced both runners into scoring position. Back-to-back walks with full counts then pushed a run home to put William and Mary on the board.
A second walk with the bases loaded put a second run home before another fielding error pushed the Tribe lead out to 4-0 and sent Ole Miss to the bullpen for right-hander Aaron Greenwood. The right-handed reliever then got the Rebels out of the inning with a strikeout, but Ole Miss trailed by the four runs.
The Rebels got another chance in the bottom of the fifth, pushing two men into scoring position for the second time on the afternoon, but again the Tribe escaped the inning without suffering any damage by getting Ole Miss to groundout to end the frame.
Ole Miss got on the board in the sixth when Andrew Mistone scored on a ground ball to short from Will Allen. Mistone singled before a one-out double from Bousfield pushed both runners into scoring position for Allen. The Rebels would get nothing more across the plate as a fly out ended the inning with Ole Miss down 4-1.
Another run came home for the Rebels in the seventh when Turner hit a sac fly to center field, scoring Mathis. Mathis reached on a single before an Austin Anderson double put two men in scoring position for Turner. Ole Miss trailed 4-2 after seven innings of play.
The Rebels would get nothing more across the plate as Inghram and Wainman held the off the board in the eighth and ninth to pick up the win.