"Not how you always draw it up, but it was a game I think we needed," said Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco after his team improved to 30-16. "We needed a game that we just won offensively."
Ole Miss needed some offense in a big way after the top of the first inning. Freshman right-hander Sam Smith had a tough start again, just like he did against Arkansas two Sundays ago. He could only go two/thirds of an inning before he departed the mound.
He gave up four runs, three earned, on four hits with a walk and no strikeouts.
(Murray State) really came out swinging the bats well," Bianco said. "Sam got ahead of guys. I'm sure he could have made some pitches with a little better location. But they were swinging really well. They are a team that scores a lot of runs. I think they've scored like 280-something runs. They walk a lot. They get hit a lot. And obviously they can swung it."
Fortunately for the Rebels there was Chris Ellis waiting in the wings and later a Rebel offense that finally woke up. Ellis, like Smith a freshman right-hander, pitched 4.1 innings and allowed no runs on three hits with no walks and five strikeouts.
"Today I thought he had real good command," Bianco said of Ellis. "He really lived ahead in the count. He made a lot of first and second pitch strikes. When you do that it makes it easier for you."
After Ole Miss finally broke through with one run in the third inning, that's when the Rebels scored nine runs in the fourth to all but put this one away.
The Thoroughbreds added a run in the seventh and Ole Miss tacked on one in the eighth.
"It was a game we needed, a game we fell behind early and were able to hit our way out of it," Bianco said. "We did much better against a soft-throwing left-hander. We got a lot better cuts."
Casey Mulholland went two innings of one-hit, one-run pitching, and Jon Andy Scott went two innings with two hits both nothing else.
Ellis got the win and is now 4-0. Kyle Cornett, the first of six pitchers used by MSU, got the loss to fall to 3-3. Murray State is now 21-25.
* Bianco said pitcher Blair Wright got an at-bat because the team had run out of position players on this night. Zach Kirksey twisted his ankle running the bases tonight. It isn't thought to be major, and he should be ready for the weekend.
* Blake Newalu continues to battle shin splints and is day to day for this weekend. "It's gotten a little worse, got a little worse at State," Bianco said. "Tonight he was dressed but was in tennis shoes and wasn't going to get into the game. We'll just have to see."
* Brett Huber said tenderness in his elbow is gone. "It feels good now, and Sunday out there on the mound it felt fine," Huber said. "I threw a bullpen last Thursday and felt good, and Sunday I felt really good. I'll be ready to go this weekend."
Rallying to Win
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