Rebels drop heartbreaker in College World Series opener

OMAHA, Neb.  — It came down to one hit after a stellar pitcher’s duel that saw the score knotted at one through eight innings of play at TD Ameritrade Park on Sunday night.
Fourth-ranked Ole Miss (46-20) fell to top-ranked Virginia (50-14) by a score of 2-1 in the opening game of the College World Series for both teams. The Rebels were set to face Texas Tech in an elimination game on Tuesday afternoon.
If the Rebels beat Texas Tech they will then play another elimination game on Thursday at 7 pm. against the loser of Tuesday’s winners’ bracket game between TCU and Virginia.
Ole Miss looked to be on the verge of sending the game into extra innings with two outs on the board and a man on second. Virginia’s Mike Papi won the battle between himself and right-hander Aaron Greenwood, taking a full count pitch and driving it to the gap in right center to bring the winning run home for the Cavaliers.
Greenwood (3-2) suffered the loss for the Rebels, allowing the one run on one hit with a walk and two strikeouts in 1.2 innings of relief work. Starter Chris Ellis worked 6.0 innings, allowing one run on six hits with four walks and three strikeouts before giving way to left-hander Jeremy Massie in the seventh.
“It’s a tough lesson you learn in baseball, but we’ve learned it a few times this year. The team that plays best usually wins,” said head coach Mike Bianco. “And I thought they outplayed us tonight. Not by much, but enough to make a difference, especially in this tight of a ballgame.
“I thought Chris did a good job, pitched out of some jams. But they were able to put enough runners on and finally get a couple of timely hits, but I’m proud of the way we competed. If you’re going to win here you’ve got to play a little bit better than we did today.”
Artie Lewicki (7-1) picked up the win in relief, working 2.0 innings with one strikeout and no hits, but did allow an inherited run to score as Ole Miss rallied to tie the game in the eighth. Starter Nathan Kirby worked 7.0 innings on the night, allowing the one run on one hit with three walks and four strikeouts.
Virginia got a rally started in the fifth, using back-to-back singles to open the inning and sending Ole Miss out to the mound for a visit to settle things down. The Rebels got a line drive to second in the next at bat, turning two on the play with the runner at first being erased as Preston Overbey got the ball to Sikes Orvis to put two away in the inning.
An intentional walk of Papi after a couple of balls kept the inning alive before Joe McCarthy would single up the middle to get the Cavs on the board 1-0 after the fifth.
A leadoff walk in the seventh for Virginia sent the Rebels to the bullpen for Massie in relief of Ellis. The left-hander ended the inning without yielding a run as a fielder’s choice and a pop up and groundout around a single sent Ole Miss back into the dugout only trailing by one run.
The Rebels rallied in the eighth inning, using a pair of walks to open the inning and send Virginia to the bullpen for the right-handed reliever, Lewicki.
Errol Robinson punt down a sacrifice bunt, moving pinch runner Cameron Dishon and Colby Bortles into scoring position. Holt Perdzock then stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter for Preston Overbey and drove a ball to short, scoring Dishon and tying the game.