Junior left fielder Thomas Dillard capped off a late comeback for No. 17 Ole Miss with a single double RBI hit up the middle to defeat No. 6 Texas A&M in game one on Thursday in extra innings.
With the win, Ole Miss advances to 28-15 overall and 11-8 in the SEC. A&M takes the hit, moving its record to 30-13-1 and 11-7-1 in SEC play.
The Rebels and the Aggies held each other offensively in the first three innings, with both teams registering a single hit until A&M struck first in the top of the fourth.
After outfielder Cam Blake was hit on the first pitch of his at bat, catcher Mikey Hoehner took advantage at the plate with a single base hit to left field, putting Blake at third following a throwing error.
Ole Miss' starting right-hand pitcher Will Ethridge put both runners on base after just two pitches, and it didn’t get any better for the Rebels.
A&M first baseman Will Frizzell reached on a muffed throw from the Rebels first baseman, allowing Blake to cross home plate for the first score of the game.
Following a scoreless finish in the fourth, the Aggies’ continued the struggle for runs in the fifth inning.
Lead off hitter Bryce Blaum got the scoring run started with a single to center field, joining right fielder Logan Foster, who was previously hit by a pitch, on base.
Blake returned to the plate and hit a single through the right side on the first pitch, recording an RBI in the process, as Blaum scored to make it 2-0 with two outs.
Hoehner also wasn’t done from the plate, hitting a single RBI into right-center field to put Foster over home plate and extending the lead to three.
A&M starting pitcher John Doxakis took care of business from the mound after pitching seven innings, putting up six strikeouts, five hits, three runs, one earned run and five walks.
The Rebels got on the board in the bottom of the seventh after Doxakis threw a wild pitch and sophomore outfielder Carl Gindl scored an unearned run following a throwing error from Hoehner.
Following a walk and a single from Doxakis in the bottom of the eighth, A&M head coach Rob Childress called in reliever Kasey Kalich to the mound to close out the game.
But things didn’t start pretty for the closer.
Ole Miss catcher Cooper Johnson reached on a fielder’s choice with a bunt, but took off to second plate after Kalich committed a throwing error which led to a player returning home for a run.
Freshman pinch hitter Kevin Graham took advantage of his substitution at the plate with a sacrifice fly, allowing Dillard to score an unearned run for the Rebels to tie the game going into the ninth.
Both coaching staffs made adjustments on the mound, with right-hand pitcher Parker Caracci getting placed on the mound to start for the Rebels and left-handed reliever Joseph Menefee taking over for Kalich.
Caracci would make the first mistake after allowing Hoehner to score on a wild pitch in the top of the 11th.
Menefee found himself in a jam after loading the bases with only one out, until Dillard hit a single up the middle for a pair of RBI’s to win the series opener 5-4.
The Aggies face the Rebels again Friday at Swayze Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and will be televised on SEC Network +.