NEW ORLEANS, LA (WLBT) - When Thomas Dillard’s second home run of the day landed in the parking lot beyond the right field wall at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium, it looked as though Ole Miss baseball had clinched the series. But at the end of a wild 13-12 affair, Tulane emerged victorious on a walk-off home run.
Dillard finished 3-for-5 with two homers and eight RBI, the most by a Rebel since Sikes Orvis drove in eight on May 12, 2015, against Arkansas State. It wasn’t quite enough, though, as Tulane’s David Bedgood had the final say with a pinch-hit homer to win it.
Ole Miss started the shootout with some two-out magic in the first as Cole Zabowski reached on a single and Dillard plated him with a near-home run off the wall in straightaway center field.
Tulane got that run back in the bottom half when Jonathon Artigues sent Ty Johnson home on a single off of Rebel starter Houston Roth’s foot. The Green Wave gained the lead in the second on a sacrifice fly, but the Rebel bats came alive again in the third.
Grae Kessinger and Ryan Olenek started the rally with back-to-back four-pitch walks. Dillard smoked his third home run of the season to put Ole Miss back on top. Not to be outdone, Tyler Keenan then stepped up and crushed his third homer of the year to make it a 5-2 Rebel advantage. Those bombs came as the first back-to-back homers by a pair of Rebels since Tate Blackman and J.B. Woodman did it on May 13, 2016, against Kentucky.
However, Tulane quickly knotted it back up in the bottom half, tying the game on a Kobi Owen two-run home run. Then, in the fifth, Owen hit another big home run to put the Green Wave ahead 8-5.
Tim Elko got one run back for the Rebs in the sixth, sending one over the right field wall for his first hit and first homer of the season. But once again, Tulane used the deep ball to stretch the lead. After a double by Kody Hoese, Grant Mathews took Max Cioffi deep to right to make it a 10-6 Green Wave advantage.
Ole Miss swung back in the seventh. Kessinger led it off with a walk, followed by an Olenek base hit. Zabowski then chopped one back to Tulane pitcher Trent Johnson, but Johnson’s throw sailed over the first baseman’s head, sending Kessinger home. Dillard then plated Olenek with an RBI groundout, before Keenan drove Zabowski home on a sacrifice fly, cutting the Green Wave lead to just one, 10-9.
Tyler Myers brought some juice out of the bullpen for Ole Miss, striking out the side in the bottom of the seventh to keep it a one-run game.
Tulane manufactured another run in the eighth on an eventful play. With the bases loaded and no one out, Tulane’s Trevor Jensen hit a soft liner to center. Olenek made a diving play, but after a long discussion, it was ultimately ruled a trapped ball. The Rebels got two outs on the play—one for a force out at third because the runner at second stopped, thinking the ball was caught. The second out came when the batter passed the runner who was on first base. Tulane got a run out of it all to make it an 11-9 contest.
With just three outs left to make up two runs, the top of the Rebel order went to work. Kessinger and Olenek knocked back-to-back singles, setting the stage for Dillard’s second home run of the afternoon, a three-run blast that put Ole Miss ahead, 12-11. Parker Caracci came in to close it out for the second straight game and looked sharp to start, striking out the first batter he faced. He walked the next batter, and Tulane entered Bedgood as a pinch hitter. On a 2-1 count, Bedgood homered to right field to win it for the home team.
Ole Miss (3-2) and Tulane (6-1) will do it one more time tomorrow to decide the series. First pitch Sunday is set for 1 p.m. CT.
- Ole Miss fell to 3-2 on the season.
- Ole Miss hit back-to-back home runs for the first time since Tate Blackman and J.B. Woodman did it May 13, 2016, against Kentucky.
- Ole Miss has hit at least two home runs in every game this season for a total of 12 in five games.
- Tim Elko homered for his first hit of the season. He became the seventh Rebel to go deep this season.
- Thomas Dillard logged a career-high eight RBI, the most by a Rebel since Sikes Orvis drove in eight on May 12, 2015, against Arkansas State. He came two shy of the Rebels’ single-game record of 10 RBI, accomplished by Rebel legend Charlie Conerly in 1947 against Millsaps.
- Dillard posted his second career two-homer game. His first came last season against Austin Peay.
- Dillard is the first Rebel to hit two home runs in a game since Chase Cockrell went yard twice on May 6, 2018, at South Carolina.