Complete Game

It took until the fifth inning, but the Ole Miss bats finally woke up. In that inning the Rebels scored five and went on to beat Lipscomb University 8-0 Friday night.

While a lack of offense has been the story lately, and the Rebels seemed to pick it up in that area, it was pitching that stood out most in game one of this series.

Matt Crouse in particular.

The junior left-hander moved to 4-0 on the season with a four-hit shutout of the Bison. He said it was basically all in another night's work as far as this season is concerned.

"I didn't feel too much different than last week, even though last week we got shortened by the rain," said Crouse, who went nine innings with a career-high nine strikeouts and only one walk. "I knew everything was working, and I was able to throw everything in the zone. So I thought I'd have a pretty good night."

Crouse was pleased to see five Rebel runs go up on the scoreboard in the fifth inning.

"My thought process really didn't change," said Crouse, who also has Friday wins over Wright State, Houston, and Tulane. "It just takes a little bit of pressure off. But it doesn't change things at all. Just keep throwing it in the strike zone and make them get themselves out."

In that fifth inning of a scoreless game, the Rebels (11-4) had their second most productive inning of the season. Back to back to back one-out singles by Will Allen, Miles Hamblin, and Blake Newalu loaded the bases, and a walk for Tanner Mathis got the first run in.


Alex Yarbrough
Courtesy: Bruce Newman
It was highly uncharacteristic of Lipscomb starter Richie Goodenow, a former Vanderbilt pitcher. The left-hander was sensational most of the night, especially early. Except for the fifth.

With the bases still loaded and a run on the board, Alex Yarbrough doubled over the head of Bison third baseman Josh Chism to score Hamblin and Newalu for a 3-0 UM lead. Matt Smith grounded out to score Mathis to make it 4-0. Matt Snyder reached on an infield single to score Yarbrough.

Up 5-0, Crouse was on cruise control from then on. Lipscomb stayed with Goodenow through seven innings before bringing in RHP Mike Grace. Crouse pitched his first complete game as a Rebel.

"I felt pretty good actually," Crouse said of the final few innings. "It was easy tonight."

Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco said Crouse was in a major groove in this one.

"Friday night always starts with pitching, and Crouse was tremendous tonight," he said. "Throughout the game, they (Bison batters) were very aggressive. And they had some opportunities early. They hit some balls hard and some balls that went right to our outfielders. We kind of started to throw some more changeups and breaking balls first-pitch that kind of kept them off balance. Crouse started to really roll after the second or third inning. He was just brilliant tonight."

Bianco mentioned the offense, but he didn't dwell on it that much.

"Offensively it was just a much better game for us," he said. "And their guy was maybe the best, but if not the best was certainly one of the best, pitchers that we've seen all year. He's not a guy that was going to bring a lot of velocity. But that kind of guy wins a lot, mixing up a fast ball and a changeup and a slider that was obviously devastating to left-handers to where they just could not pick it up. We had so many bad swings at it."

But there were enough good swings, especially in that fifth inning, to be more productive than they've been lately.

"We hung in there, especially after the way we've swung the last few days," Bianco said. "We made some adjustments, punched some balls through, and then got some big hits throughout the lineup, extending innings and getting runs in."

Ole Miss added a run in the seventh on a sac fly by Yarbrough, and two more runs in the eighth on a RBI double by Hamblin.

"It felt really good to see some runs cross the plate," said Yarbrough after Ole Miss got 10 hits for those eight runs. "That breakthrough inning with five runs felt really good. We were due some bounces and some rolls our way. It was a good night for everybody offensively."

Ole Miss and Lipscomb (7-7) meet again Saturday at 1:30 p.m. RHP David Goforth will go for Ole Miss. Lipscomb will send RHP Connor Sinclair to the mound. He leads the Bison staff with a 1-1 record and a 1.50 ERA with 20 strikeouts and six walks.


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