Long Ball Saturday

Ole Miss was trailing Georgia State 1-0 heading to the bottom of the fifth inning. Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco decided to talk to his team about its offense to that point.

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"Just a little pep talk there," Bianco said. "That's good (that it worked). Just a little frustrated that we haven't played better at home, that we haven't swung it better. Just challenged them a little bit. It's nice when they respond."

Did they ever. Five runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth to put this one away. With Christian Trent pitching as he was, and Josh Laxer later in relief, this one was over.

"I thought he was terrific and pitched very similar to Chris (Ellis) last night," Bianco said of starter Trent. "Just a great mix of three pitches that kept them off balance. Really the only blemish was (early). Besides that I thought he was super dominant. Just a great performance and a great defensive game."

The Rebels' sophomore lefty pitched seven innings allowing one run on three hits with six strikeouts and no walks.

Bianco brought Laxer in for the final two innings. Ellis had pitched a complete game Friday in a 3-0 Ole Miss win. Bianco didn't feel the need to do the same thing with Trent.

"Not once we got the eight-run lead," he said. "The bullpen was rested, and I thought Laxer came in and pitched as well as he ever has here. He was 91-94 with a hard slider in the strike zone. He was real dominant to the end."

Laxer allowed no runs on one hit with three strikeouts and a walk.

Sikes Orvis
Bruce Newman

Nic Wilson started things off for the Panthers with a leadoff double past third base to the left field corner in the second inning. Chase Raffield sac bunted Wilson to third. A first-pitch single by Chris Triplett gave GSU a 1-0 lead.

Ole Miss (6-0) had some opportunities early but left some players stranded. The Rebels had four freshmen in the lineup in this one.

Freshman J.B. Woodman reached on a one-out hit by pitch in the bottom of the second. Freshman Errol Robinson singled to center field, and both moved up on a double steal when freshman Dalton Dulin struck out. An Auston Bousfield groundout to shortstop ended the Rebel threat.

Austin Anderson led off the Rebel third with a single that bounced off the first baseman's glove, a hard hit ball that was ruled a single. A Will Allen fly ball to right moved him to third. A groundout by Preston Overbey to the third baseman was the second out as he threw out Anderson at home. Sikes Orvis struck out to end the third inning.

Freshman Colby Bortles led off the fourth for Ole Miss with a long ball to the right corner for a double. After that, Woodman struck out, Robinson grounded out, and Dulin grounded out to third.

With the offense a bit stagnant as far as producing runs, Bianco then talked to his team at that point. As pointed out earlier, it worked.

Bousfield led off the fifth inning with a first-pitch solo shot into the home bullpen to tie the game 1-1.

"First pitch changeup," Bousfield said of his first home run of the season. "Just saw it up a little bit and got a good swing on it."

Allen singled with one out, followed by a single for Overbey. Orvis then sent one out of the ballpark over the right-center wall for a 4-1 UM lead.

That led to a pitching change for GSU (3-3), sending starter Andrew Fessler (LHP) to the showers. Jerry Stuckey (RHP) came in for the Panthers, and Bortles immediately sent one to the wall in center, just short of another round-tripper. Woodman and Robinson reached on singles. Dulin walked, and Bousfield followed with a RBI single to short that scored Woodman for a 5-1 Rebel lead. Anderson flew out to left to end the fifth inning.

Ole Miss actually finished with 17 hits on the day. GSU only had four.

"Felt like a leadoff guy today," said Allen, one of three Rebels, the others being Bousfield and Overbey, with three hits each on the day. "Get on base and everybody driving me in. However we can score runs, it's awesome."

Hunter Cash (LHP) was the third pitcher used by GSU, and he started the Rebel sixth. Allen welcomed him to the game with a single. Overbey tripled and scored Allen; Orvis singled to score Overbey.

Wayne Wages (LHP) was called upon at that point to try and slow things down. Bortles singled, then Woodman struck out for the first of the frame.

Robinson walked to load the bases. Dulin reached on a fielder's choice as he grounded to third, and the third baseman threw home to get Sikes at home.

The Panthers then changed pitchers again as Aidan McLaughlin (RHP) came in with two outs and runners on first and second. Bousfield then singled to right and scored both Bortles and Robinson. Anderson grounded out to end the inning. Four runs had scored for the Rebels.

Allen, the catcher, said Trent was on again today, just as he was last week in the Rebels' 11-1 win on Saturday at Stetson.

"He was great," Allen said. "Good three-pitch mix. Made all the right pitches. Very competitive. Kept them off balance. Just getting outs and doing his job. Very composed out there. He's a great pitcher and on Saturday for a reason."

Trent, now 2-0 with the win, said for his first time playing at Swayze, he had to be pleased.

"I didn't feel like I was finding my pitches early in the game," Trent said. "A little bit of nerves with the first game at home. In the fifth inning (when the Rebels scored five runs), that helped a lot. It allows you to breathe a little with a lead, and you can just go out there and make pitches. Just play the game."

Panther starter Fessler (0-1) got the loss.

Ole Miss and Georgia State wrap up the three-game series at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

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