Grinding Out A Victory

Six runs in the bottom of the first inning were plenty for Ole Miss against Mississippi State in a 12-3 win Saturday night. But the Rebels still lost the series two games to one.

"Just played really well," said Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco. "Proud of the way we came out tonight."

A Matt Tracy single in the first got things started as two runs scored. Will Allen followed that up with a RBI single. Austin Anderson reached on an error that got a run in. Blake Newalu singled to score Allen and Anderson.

Up 6-0 and having had a successful top of the first with only one batter reaching via hit by pitch, starter Austin Wright then moved on to have his best career night as a Rebel. The junior left-hander pitched six and a third innings allowing two runs on four hits with two walks.

Key stat for Wright in this one? A career-high 10 strikeouts.

"I've been struggling, and it was nice to go out there today (and pitch well)," Wright said. "I didn't have everything working, so it was nice that the offense put up runs right off the bat. I felt pretty good today, but the offense did a lot for me."

Bianco said Wright was at his best when his team needed him most.

"Just a great performance from him. His best outing, and certainly with all that was on the line," Bianco said after Wright improved to 5-4 with the win.

Blake Newalu
Bruce Newman
On the flip side, the Rebels chased MSU starter Chris Stratton in the first inning as he never made it out of the initial frame. He faced 10 Rebels and recorded only two outs with six runs, three earned, on five hits with two strikeouts and two walks. He got the loss and is 5-6 for the Bulldogs.

Ole Miss (28-23, 12-15 SEC) added a run in the fourth for a 7-0 lead on a RBI double by Matt Snyder that scored Alex Yarbrough who had reached on a base hit.

Snyder was 3 for 4 with 3 RBI. Yarbrough was 4 for 5 with an RBI. Tracy was 1 for 5 with 3 RBI. Will Allen was 2 for 5 with 2 RBI. Newalu was 1 for 4 with 2 RBI.

A leadoff home run by Bulldog Jonathan Ogden in the fifth cut the UM lead to 7-1. But in the bottom of the sixth the Rebels added three runs. Yarbrough had a RBI single and Matt Snyder a two-run homer.

Down 10-1, MSU (32-19, 13-14) added two runs in the top of the seventh, while Ole Miss tacked on two in the bottom of the eighth.

The Rebels dominated at the plate with 15 hits to only six for the Bulldogs.

"The last two nights have been tough," Bianco said. "(Thursday night) I thought we just let get away. The Friday night game they just beat us in every phase. Tonight, not that you shouldn't play hard (every game), you put the uniform on and you represent this University, and you're supposed to play hard. But with your backs against the wall and with not very good success the last two days, I thought we came out with a lot of life and a lot of bounce. One of those not be denied nights."

The Rebel head coach admitted it would have been tough had his team lost this one.

"It was as close to a must win as you can get," he said.

Ole Miss hosts Southeast Missouri State Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in Oxford.

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