Rebels Roll

Freshman right-hander Chris Ellis was solid in his first career start and the Rebel bullpen took advantage of an early offensive showing to help No. 16 Ole Miss (18-7) post a 12-0 shutout over Jackson State (16-8) on Tuesday at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.

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Ellis (2-0) picked up the win in a predetermined start, working 4.0 scoreless innings and allowing only one hit with six strikeouts.

"Proud of Chris in his first college start," Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. "I thought he was a little adrenalized at the start and had a little trouble getting his breaking ball over. They were aggressive and he was able to fight through the first two innings with his fastball — it was pretty alive — and then after that he had all his pitches."

Ellis admitted some nerves as he took the mound to begin the game.

"I found out about it (Monday) morning. Coach (Carl) Lafferty texted me and said I was starting," the Spain Park (Ala.) High School alum said. "It was real exciting. I was real nervous actually. I was more nervous than the SEC games coming in for that. It was nice to have a little time to prepare and warmup well."

But he agreed with his head coach that he went with what worked early and successfully moved on from there.

"The fastball was working early on," Ellis said. "I couldn't spot the curveball at first so it was good to establish the fastball and keep it down."

Ole Miss' bullpen kept things in check from the fifth inning as five more pitchers combined for the shutout of the Tigers.

Desmond Russell (4-2) took the loss for Jackson State, allowing seven runs on nine hits with three walks and a strikeout in 5.0 innings of work.

The Rebels jumped out of the gates with a four-run first inning, sparked by a three-run home run from Zach Kirksey, and never looked back on the way to the 12-run win. It was Kirksey's ninth home run of the season.

Tanner Mathis
Bruce Newman

"We played really well tonight," said Bianco as his team moved to 18-7 on the season. "We got off to a really good start with (Zach) Kirksey's home run. I was proud of the way we kept it clean and played well defensively.

"There were a lot of good nights on offense," Bianco continued. "Will Jamison had a terrific night. A lot of guys played well for us tonight. It doesn't happen often that you get that many innings out of your relievers, and the best thing was that they all pitched well."

An Alex Yarbrough double with two outs got things started in the first inning. Yarbrough came home on a single to right from matt snyder. Will Allen walked in the next at bat before Kirksey delivered his three-run shot to make it 4-0 Rebels.

The Rebels added a fifth run in the second inning when Jamison scored on a single up the middle from Tanner Mathis.

Ole Miss pushed two more runs across in the fourth inning to lead 7-0. Preston Overbey singled and Jamison walked to get things started before both runners came home on back-to-back singles from Mathis and Austin Anderson.

The lead grew for the Rebels from there with two more runs in the sixth inning before Ole Miss would cap the scoring with a three-run eighth inning on an RBI single from John Gatlin and a two-RBI single from Overbey.

The Rebels return to action this weekend, hosting the nation's top-ranked team in the Florida Gators. Ole Miss and Florida begin the three-game set at 6:30 p.m. Friday in a game televised by SunSports. The two teams play again at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and conclude the series at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

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