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BLOG: Rebels blow lead, fall to Utah in Oxford Regional opener

The Oxford Regional was not your normal grouping of 1- through 4-seeded teams. Utah proved that Friday night.

The No. 4 seed Utes defeated host and No. 1 seed Ole Miss 6-5 in 10 innings to close out the first day of the Oxford Regional in the NCAA baseball tournament at Oxford-University Stadium.

Utah (26-27) advanced to take on No. 3 seed Boston College, which defeated No. 2 Tulane earlier in the day, Saturday at 5 p.m. in the winners’ bracket while the Rebels (43-18) will have a quick turnaround and take on the Green Wave in the first elimination game of the regional at 1 p.m.

After trailing 2-1, Ole Miss used a four-run fifth inning to take a 5-2 lead before the Rebel bullpen blew the lead and dropped the game in extra innings.

“Everybody was right. Utah’s so good,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “We knew it and (Utah starting pitcher Jayson) Rose was so good. We were able to get to him there in the fifth with some walks and let the door open. With a 5-2 lead, we’re usually pretty good, but we just couldn’t get off the field in the top of the sixth.”

After Ole Miss ace Brady Bramlett went five innings, giving up two runs, both earned, off three hits and striking out five, the game was handed over to redshirt freshman Brady Feigl in the sixth. Feigl has been a reliable asset as bullpen relief but struggled as the skies opened up and the rain got heavier during the middle stages of the game.

Feigl gave up a single then hit designated hitter Kellen Marruffo then walked first baseman Hunter Simmons. A fielder’s choice and a two-run double followed to allow Utah to tie the game, 5-5. Feigl worked two outs of the sixth inning after giving up the three runs on two hits before being replaced by setup man Will Stokes.

Stokes and closer Wyatt Short kept things in check, working 4 1/3 innings of one-run baseball off four hits. Simmons’ hit in the top of the 10th inning was the deciding blow, sending the Rebels to the losers’ bracket.

Rose was known for his lengthy outings and high pitch count. That continued Friday as he went six innings, giving up five runs, all earned, off four hits while walking four and striking out four. The right-hander tossed 112 pitches, 65 for strikes.

“(Rose) kept us off balance the majority of the game,” shortstop Errol Robinson said. “We got runners on then couldn’t really string together that chain and get the runs to score.”

Ole Miss went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position. First baseman Will Golsan and designated hitter Holt Perdzock were the only Rebels to have a multi-hit game, combining for four of the Rebels’ seven hits. Golsan went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in. Robinson went 0-for-4 but had an RBI after he walked to bring in a run.