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Ole Miss drops Game 1

By By Will Bardwell/staff writer
June 5, 2004
OXFORD Even in what he said was his worst outing of the season, Ole Miss pitcher Stephen Head was good.
But Western Kentucky starter Grady Hinchman was at his best.
The Hilltoppers ace allowed only two hits to the Rebels in the first complete game of his career as Western Kentucky beat Ole Miss 1-0 in the NCAA baseball regional.
And Hinchman made sure the top-seeded Rebels didn't score. Head gave up six hits and one earned run in a complete game of his own, but he was unmistakably out-dueled and fell to 6-3. Hinchman carried a no-hitter into the sixth, issued just two walks and allowed only one Ole Miss base runner to reach third base.
Hinchman's aggressive pitching paid off. Rebels batters, aggressive in their own rights, hit into four first-pitch outs including all three outs in the ninth inning.
Western Kentucky (35-26), seeded fourth in the four-team field, plated the game's lone run on a long fly ball that allowed Matt Johnson to score from third base. After making a sliding catch on the warning track for the second out, Rebels center fielder Alex Presley fired the ball to the infield, and Antone Towns was thrown out retreating to first base. Johnston crossed the plate an instant before Towns was cut down.
Bianco briefly discussed the play with home plate umpire Kelly Gonsales between innings, but did not argue the call.
Ole Miss came closest to scoring in the bottom of the sixth, when Matt Tolbert led off with a single the Rebels' first hit of the game. Tolbert advanced to third base with two outs before Towns ended the inning for Western Kentucky with a diving catch in right field.
The Rebels came a few feet short of tying the game in two consecutive at-bats in the seventh inning. Head and Seth Smith both crushed long fly balls that died on the warning track.
Hinchman, who threw just 103 pitches, improved to 7-5. Since losing a decision to New Mexico State on May 7, Hinchman is 3-0 with a 1.54 ERA.
The Rebels have not enjoyed such success. Since beating LSU on May 21, Ole Miss has lost five straight and has scored in just three of its last 28 innings.
With the first-game loss, the Rebels (39-20) now must win four straight games to emerge victorious from the double-elimination tournament. Ole Miss will play at 10 a.m. today against Washington, which lost 3-2 to Tulane earlier on Friday. Rebels ace Mark Holloman (9-2, 2.64 ERA) will start on the mound, while the Huskies will counter with Kyle Parker (3-3, 4.09 ERA).
If Ole Miss beats Washington, it will face the loser of the Western Kentucky-Tulane game at 7 p.m.

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