Baseball wins marathon over Hawaii to open 2024 season

Published 6:31 am Saturday, February 17, 2024

From Ole Miss Athletics

It took 13 innings and nearly five hours of game time, but Ole Miss Baseball finally opened its 2024 season with a 5-4 win over Hawaii on the island. It was the longest game played by the Rebels since April 10, 2015 when they played 16 innings at Vanderbilt.

Ethan Groff and Ethan Lege each had big days at the plate, combining to go 6-for-11 and five RBI. Groff finished the night 3-for-5 with a home run, three RBI, and a run scored. Lege went 3-for-6 with two RBI and a run scored.

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Jackson Ross went 2-for-5 with two walks and two runs scored in his first action as a Rebel. Andrew Fischer drew four walks, tying the Ole Miss single-game record in his first game for Ole Miss.

After a quiet first inning from both sides, Groff hit the first Rebel home run of the season in the second inning. He crushed a ball over the left field fence to get Ole Miss on the board at 2-0.

After scoring on Groff’s home run in the second, Lege hit an RBI single up the middle in the third, bringing home Judd Utermark from second and putting the Rebels up 3-0.

Quinn continued to deal on the mound, striking out three batters in a row between the second and third innings. He had six punchouts and gave up just one hit after 3.1 innings of work.

The sophomore ran into trouble in the fourth, issuing back-to-back walks followed by back-to-back hits, giving up two runs in the process. Mason Morris came on to try and end the threat, but a double down the line for Hawaii would tie the game at 3-3.

Morris retired seven of the next nine batters he faced, pitching a career-high 2.2 innings in relief. He also tied a career-high with three strikeouts.

After Morris was relieved in the seventh inning, Hawaii grabbed their first lead of the night on a wild pitch in the eighth.

The Ole Miss offense had just two hits over the course of the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, both singles by Groff. After a single by Jackson Ross with one out the ninth, Groff once again found himself at the center, tying the game at 4-4 with a sacrifice fly.

Mason Nichols made his first appearance of the season, coming on with two outs in the eighth inning. With two runners on and one out in the ninth, he induced an inning-ending double play to send the game to extra innings.

Both sides played scoreless 10th, 11th, and 12th innings with Nichols picking up four more strikeouts in the process. The junior would end up working a career-high 4.1 innings, allowing no hits, punching out five, and earning his first win of the season.

Ross opened the 13th inning with a leadoff single up the middle followed by Fischer’s fourth walk of the night. Lege knocked in the eventual game-winning run with a single through the right side, scoring Ross to make it 5-4.

Connor Spencer earned the save in his first appearance as a Rebel, striking out the side to close out the win.

The teams will play a doubleheader tomorrow beginning at 5:05 p.m. CT. beginning with a seven-inning game followed by a nine-inning game.