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No. 16 Diamond Rebels Explode in the Eighth to Tame Tigers

Quentin Winstine

 

In what was a pitcher’s duel for most of the game, No. 16 Ole Miss (6-1) changed it into a blowout with a six-hit, five-run eighth inning on the way to a 7-2 win against the Memphis Tigers (3-4) Tuesday at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.

“I thought it was a really well-played game and a really well-pitched game,” head coach Mike Bianco said. “The box score probably won’t do it justice. It was one of those games where it was very limited on hits on both sides. There was good defense. The pitchers did a terrific job. Then, we were able to put an inning together.”

Memphis was the first to strike as they took an early 2-0 lead on a 2-RBI single in the second.

Ole Miss answered with one run in the bottom half of the inning with an RBI single by sophomore catcher Will Allen that scored senior designated hitter Matt Snyder, who led off the inning with a double, and one run in the third on a fielder’s choice to score sophomore first baseman Preston Overbey.

After giving up two runs on three hits in the second, freshman right-hander Sam Smith held the Memphis offense at bay. Smith worked five innings, giving up two runs on five hits with four strikeouts.

Memphis put some pressure on junior right-hander Blair Wright, who came on in relief, but a couple of key baserunning blunders erased any opportunity to score. Bianco then turned to junior left-hander Dylan Chavez (1-0). The junior college transfer earned the win, giving up no runs and no hits with two strikeouts in two and two-thirds innings.

“It was a pitcher’s game,” Chavez said. “Pitchers on both sides were doing really well. Coach (Bianco) just told me to go out there and fill up the strike zone, just don’t do too much. That’s what I did. I tried to attack them with my best stuff and just compete out there and challenge them.”

The Ole Miss bats, which were quiet for much of the day, erupted in the eighth.

Freshman outfielder Auston Bousfield led off the inning with a single, moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt and then came around to score on an RBI single by Snyder to put Ole Miss on top 3-2.

“The way Bousfield, who didn’t have a real good night offensively, gets a big base hit with two strikes in the last inning, Yarbrough gets the bunt down, Snyder gets the big hit — that’s how you would want to draw it up,” Bianco said. “But it doesn’t always happen that way.”

The Rebels weren’t finished there. Ole Miss sent 10 batters to the plate, and junior third baseman Andrew Mistone, freshman outfielder Senquez Golson, freshman first baseman Sikes Orvis and junior Blake Newalu all singled to extend the lead to 7-2. Chavez closed it out in the ninth, retiring the Memphis side in order to secure the win.

Rebels turn attention to Jackson State

Ole Miss returns to action tonight, hosting the Jackson State Tigers (3-4) at 6:30 p.m. at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field. It is a make-up game from a rainout against TCU earlier this season. Ole Miss won last year’s meeting 8-0 in Oxford and will play them later this season on March 27, also in Oxford. On the mound, Ole Miss will start freshman right-hander Josh Laxer. The Madison native has made one appearance this season, giving up no runs and no hits with two walks and one strikeout in two innings against Arkansas State this past week.