Midweek Win

Matt Smith sent a two-run shot out of the park in the first inning, and Rebel pitching went to work after that as Ole Miss beat Samford 3-0 Tuesday night.

"A well-played game, and a big home run obviously by Matt in the first," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco after his team improved to 16-6 in its only non-conference game this week.

Smith launched one over the wall in left center after Blake Newalu had been hit by a pitch off Bulldog starter Joshua VanFleteren.

"It was good to get some runs early," said Smith.

That hadn't been a trademark of this Rebel team lately.

"Anytime you can come out of the first inning with some momentum, it puts more pressure on them and helps us as an offense," Smith said.

Matt Tracy (3-1) started and went five innings, picking up the win. He walked four, which was his biggest negative stat. He struck out six and only allowed four hits.

But it was the re-appearance of two pitchers, R.J. Hively and Bobby Wahl, that brought a smile to Bianco's face. Both had been shelved since the first week of the season with arm problems. Both are back on the mound now.

"It was nice to see the guys that haven't pitched in a while get out there," Bianco said. "Certainly they (Hively and Wahl) look healthy. Both looked good and I'm proud of them."

Hively came in for Tracy to start the sixth and pitched a 3-up, 3-down inning. Wahl pitched the seventh and followed suit, facing three Bulldogs and sending them all back to the dugout.

Smith watches his home run vs. Samford
Bruce Newman
Both pitching staffs did well, and Bianco was impressed with the visiting team's pitchers. The Samford coaches sent six different ones to the mound.

"Offensively they didn't give us much, meaning they pitched well. You can see why their team ERA is like 2.70. It's a team that statistically they make a lot of errors. But tonight they didn't. They made some great plays defensively. They just didn't give us much."

Neither the Bulldogs, now 15-8 on the season, nor the Rebels was credited with an error in the final box score.

Ole Miss outhit Samford 9-5 in this one.

The Rebels added a run in the sixth. A two-out double by Eric Sauls set things up, and a single by Tanner Mathis got him home for a 3-0 Ole Miss lead.

Trent Rothlin started the eighth for the Rebels but didn't last long. The senior reliever hadn't pitched since March 5 against Tulane. Against Samford he gave up a hit and then walked a Dog, and that was that.

Brett Huber came in to halt things right there and got three straight outfield fly balls to end the eighth. The third out was a spectacular diving catch in center field by Jordan King to rob Samford's Gardner Richey of a likely two-RBI double.

"Game-winner," Bianco said of King's catch. "If he doesn't get to it, it's two runs and there's a guy in scoring position. Great catch."

In the ninth, Huber made things look easy with a 3-up, 3-down of his own, which included two strikeouts. He picked up his third save of the campaign.

VanFleteren, who went 3.2 innings, got the loss to fall to 2-2.

Ole Miss is at Tennessee for three games this weekend.

OM Spirit Top Stories