In-State Win

Ole Miss rolled into its series against Alabama, which opens Southeastern Conference play, with an 8-0 win against instate foe Jackson State.

The Rebels are 14-4 and face the Crimson Tide, 11-6 after a 2-1 non-conference loss to Auburn Tuesday night, three times this weekend in Oxford.

Once again good things started with pitching. In its last four games, through 36 innings, Ole Miss has allowed one run.

"On the mound, Matt Tracy was tremendous," said Coach Mike Bianco after the senior left-hander went seven innings with a career-high 11 strikeouts, four hits, and a walk. "He was very aggressive in the strike zone, lot of first and second pitch strikes and got ahead of a lot of hitters. He had a really good fastball tonight. A lot of nights he mixes in some changeups, but not many changeups tonight. Mostly fastballs. The second time through we were able to mix more breaking balls in."

"It's always fun to help the team win in any way possible," said Tracy, who has been important for the Rebels this season on the mound, at the plate, and in the outfield. "To get out here and have some success on the mound was good."

On Tuesday night, Ole Miss had a four-run third inning for the early lead that held up. Alex Yarbrough doubled off the top of the right field wall at the visiting bullpen to score Taylor Hightower who was hit by a pitch and Blake Newalu who beat out a throw on a bunt to the third baseman.

Blake Newalu vs. JSU
Courtesy: Bruce Newman
Matt Snyder followed with a double to right to get Yarbrough home. After Snyder moved to third on an infield single by Preston Overbey, Snyder then raced home on a wild pitch during Jordan King's at-bat.

The Rebels got a run in the seventh but were primed for more. A one-out, bases-loaded walk got Hightower home. But Miles Hamblin hit into a double play immediately thereafter, and the Rebel lead was only upped to 5-0.

Eric Callender came on for the senior left-hander Tracy to start the eighth. The senior righty went an inning with a hit and a strikeout. Mike Mayers finished things up in the ninth with two strikeouts.

But in the eighth, Ole Miss added three runs. Newalu singled with two outs to score Overbey who had led off the inning with a double. Tanner Mathis doubled to score Hightower, who had walked, and Newalu.

Yarbrough felt the Rebels, errorless on the night, played well.

"It's easy to play defense behind Tracy when he's throwing like that," said the sophomore second baseman who was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI in the contest. "We made all the plays in the field. And when we got guys on base tonight, we got them in pretty cleanly."

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