OXFORD – Two runs were not enough to knock off No. 1 – especially with a ninth-inning collapse.
Ole Miss ace Doug Nikhazy opened with five-straight scoreless innings against top-ranked Louisville, but the Cardinals scored four runs on four hits against him in the sixth to win 7-2 before an announced crowd of 9,853 on Opening Day at Swayze Field Friday.
Game 2 in the series is today at 1:30.
No. 25 Ole Miss started five position players who were in high school or junior college last year against Louisville left-hander Reid Detmers the 2019 ACC Pitcher of the Year.
Ole Miss (0-1) lost on Opening Day for the first time since 2010.
It was the Rebels who broke through first, however, with an RBI double by Anthony Servideo in the fifth, his second hit of the game.
Nikhazy gave up back-to-back hits to start the sixth, and the runners advanced on a passed ball. Luke Brown and Danny Oriente scored easily when four-hole hitter Zach Britton doubled to left-center.
Among the newcomers seeing action were football players Jerrion Ealy, who started in center, and John Rhys Plumlee who entered the game as a pinch-runner and remained in at designated hitter.
Senior Taylor Broadway, the first Ole Miss relief pitcher, allowed an inherited runner to score with an RBI double after replacing Nikhazy in the sixth.
Detmers gave up doubles to Servideo in the first and Ben Van Cleve in the fifth, the latter producing the first Rebels’ run when Servideo dropped a line drive into right field.
Two other left-handers followed him, and all recorded big outs, like Michael Kirian’s strikeout of Ole Miss slugger Cael Baker with two on in a 4-1 game for the second out of the eighth.
Justin Bench followed Baker with an RBI single, but Tim Elko left two runners on base with a fielder’s choice.
Louisville added three runs on two hits and three errors in the ninth.