Ole Miss overcomes Arizona in rain-plagued Coral Gables Regional

Published 12:21 am Sunday, June 5, 2022

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Enduring two days of rain and several delays and postponements was worth the wait for Ole Miss.

Peyton Chatagnier drove in five runs, including three on a go-ahead, bases-clearing double in the top of the ninth inning, to lead Ole Miss to a 7-4 win over Arizona in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament’s Coral Gables Regional.

Chatagnier also hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning, but it was his double down the left field line in the eighth that finally gave the Rebels their first lead in a back-and-forth game.

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Arizona’s Chase Davis and Garen Caulfield hit solo home runs in the second inning, but Ole Miss’ Jacob Gonzalez pulled a two-run homer down the right field line in the fourth to tie it at 2.

Arizona went back in front in the sixth with a two-run double by Tony Bullard, but Chatagnier’s home run in the top of the seventh tied it again.

Ole Miss loaded the bases on three walks in the top of the eighth, and Chatagnier cleared them with his two-out double for a 7-4 lead.

Josh Mallitz had five strikeouts in two scoreless innings of relief, and Brandon Johnson pitched a scoreless ninth to close it out and earn his 10th save of the season.

Johnson gave up a walk and a single to bring the tying run to the plate, then buckled down to get a pair of strikeouts and escape the jam.

Ole Miss starter Dylan DeLucia went six innings and allowed four runs, but also had a career-high 12 strikeouts.

The rain-plagued Coral Gables Regional finally began Saturday evening after a tropical system dropped nearly 10 inches of rain on South Florida. Friday’s session was rained out, and Saturday’s delayed about six hours. Ole Miss and Arizona did not begin their game until 10 p.m. EST.

Ole Miss (33-22) was the beneficiary of the win. It won’t have to play until Sunday at 2 p.m. against regional host Miami (40-18), which beat Canisius 11-6 in the other opening-round game. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.

Arizona (37-24) will have a quick turnaround to play Canisius (29-24) in an elimination game Sunday at 10 a.m., less than 10 hours after the Wildcats walked off the field.