Not As Close

The first two games had been close, but there was nothing close about game three.

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Ole Miss (11-1) rolled past Central Florida 9-2 Sunday to sweep the Golden Knights (6-5).

Sam Smith got out of a bases-loaded first inning. There was one out, and the Rebel junior righty got two strikeouts, both of the looking variety.

"They got some runners on and Coach (Mike Bianco) came out there and I locked in," said Smith, with the win now 2-0 on the season. "I made pitches after that."

What did Bianco say?

"He came out there and told me to breathe, make these pitches. Hit my spot and the defense will work and get a groundout or a double play, whatever it is."

Is that sometimes all it takes?

"A little kick in the rear in the first?" Smith said, smiling. "Yeah, he comes out there and settles you down. Emotions are high, especially in the first inning. So it does help."

Bianco said Smith coming back in the top of the first to get the outs was critical, even though early.

"Maybe the game changer was the top of the first," he said. "That was kind of deflating for them. Then we come back and score four runs in the first."

Bianco was especially pleased with the Rebels in this one.

"Much better game by us," he said. "We played better. Maybe as good as we've played all year. I say that in all three phases. Offensively we looked more like ourselves. The score reflected that."

In the bottom of the first, the Rebels quickly got the bases loaded themselves with two singles by Braxton Lee and Auston Bousfield, and a hit by pitch for Austin Anderson.

Austin Anderson scores
Bruce Newman

Lee came home on a fly ball to right field by Will Allen, the hero of Saturday's dramatic Ole Miss win when he launched one over the center field wall in the deepest part of the park for a walkoff victory.

Sikes Orvis then walked to get Bousfield home. Preston Overbey singled to left to get Anderson home. Bortles grounded out to first to get Orvis home. Ole Miss led 4-0.

Smith said going out there for the second inning was much easier with a four-run lead.

"Putting up a four spot in the (bottom of the) first, it's huge. You feel a lot more comfortable," he said. "They had to really do some work to get back in the game. So it felt good to have that lead."

Colby Bortles got on base in the fourth with a hit by pitch. A J.B. Woodman single to left put runners at the corners. After Errol Robinson struck out, Lee singled past first to score Bortles and get Woodman to third. A bloop single into shallow right got Woodman home for a 6-0 UM lead.

UCF pulled its starter, RHP Robby Howell, and replaced him with left-hander Drew Faintich. With runners at the corners and one out, Austin Anderson flew out to center field to get Lee home for a 7-0 lead. Allen struck out but major damage had been done to the UCF cause.

The Rebels added a run in the fifth and another in the sixth before UCF collected its two lone runs in the ninth.

Howell, one of four pitchers called on by the Knights, got the loss.

Ole Miss had 10 hits in the game to seven for Central Florida. Both teams were errorless.

Austin Blunt, Hawtin Buchanan, and Scott Weathersby each pitched an inning for the Rebels.

Ole Miss hosts Memphis at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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