NASHVILLE, Tenn. Jeremy Travis' three-run homer in the top of the fourth inning capped off a four-run inning to lead Ole Miss to a 9-3 win over Vanderbilt on a rain soaked Friday night at Hawkins Field.
The Rebels (10-3, 1-0 SEC) scored four in the fourth, two more in the second and three in the sixth to take a 9-3 lead. The Commodores four-game winning streak was snapped as they fell to 10-5 overall and 0-1 in league action. VU lost its SEC home opener for the first time since 2002 and its first opener overall since falling at Ole Miss in the 2004 campaign.
"When they punched us in the face in the fourth and sixth inning, we didn't have anything to show for it," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "We went to our knees and never got back up."
Vanderbilt built a 2-0 lead heading into the fourth and starter Mike Minor had given up just one hit through the first three innings. Tim Ferguson opened the inning with an infield single and scored one out later on Logan Power's double to right-center. Power then stole third and Taylor Hashman walked before Travis blasted a 1-2 pitch over the wall in left-center field to make it 4-2.
The Commodores cut into the lead with a run in the bottom half on a bases loaded walk to Curt Casali.
The Rebels added two more runs in the fifth, the first on a fielding error by Jason Esposito and the second on a wild pitch. Power added a three-run double in the sixth to make it 9-3. He finished the night 3-for-4 with four RBI to lead Ole Miss.
Both starting pitchers did not last five innings with Minor (1-1) getting the loss after giving up six runs, five earned, on seven hits with three strikeouts and a walk. It was his shortest starting performance since a two-inning stint against Florida on April 28, 2007.
"I left some balls up tonight and they took advantage of it," said Minor. "There were other times where I thought I made good pitches but they still hit it."
Taylor Hill came on in the fifth and pitched the final 4.2 innings of the contest. He gave up three runs on five hits with a career best eight strikeouts while walking three.
"Taylor ate some innings for us tonight," said Corbin. "He made one bad pitch to Power, but other than that I thought he pitched pretty well. He kept us around in the game but our offense couldn't get it done."
The Commodores plated a run in the first when Steven Liddle hit a one out double to right and scored on an Aaron Westlake double to right-center off of Ole Miss starter Drew Pomeranz.
They added another run, courtesy of a throwing error in the second to take an early 2-0 lead.
Westlake was the lone Commodore with two hits on the night as they finished with seven in the game.
"We didn't have a lot of quality at-bats and whenever you give up nine runs on a Friday night in a SEC series at home you are going to have your share of issues," stated Corbin.
Rory McKean (2-1) came on in the fifth and pitched three innings of one-hit scoreless relief with two strikeouts and four walks to pick up the win.
The Commodores and Rebels will play the second game of the three game set tomorrow at 3 p.m. Right-hander Caleb Cotham (3-0, 1.29 ERA) will start for Vanderbilt, while Ole Miss will counter with righty Phillip Irwin (2-0, 1.72 ERA).
Ole Miss 000 423 000 - 9 12 2 Vanderbilt 110 100 000 - 3 7 1
Pomeranz, McKean (5), Morgan (8), Barbeck (9) and Basham. Minor, Hill (5) and Westlake W- McKean 2-1, L- Minor 1-1. Sv- None. HR: OM: Travis (2)