Early And Often

Ole Miss came into Saturday's game against Arkansas-Little Rock having trouble scoring runs recently. That changed in a hurry against the Trojans in game two of the series.

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The night before the Rebels had won 2-1 in 10 innings, and offensively they struggled to get much done. By the end of the first inning Saturday, they led 5-0 on their way to a 11-5 victory.

"We sensed that could be the case when we walked out (in early afternoon) for BP," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco, his team now 13-2 this season. "It was probably the warmest day of the year. The wind was blowing out. Great crowd. Just one of those days you had a feeling was going to be offensive. It was amazing in the first inning it all happened with two outs."

But indeed it had. After Christian Trent didn't allow anything for the Trojans in the top of the first, the Rebels quickly had two outs themselves in the bottom of the frame. Then the floodgates opened.

After Austin Anderson singled, Will Allen doubled to put Rebels at second and third. Sikes Orvis walked. Preston Overbey doubled to score Anderson and Allen. Brantley Bell, playing second base in this game, singled to score Overbey and Orvis.

But Ole Miss wasn't done as fans were still settling into their seats. After Will Jamison walked, Errol Robinson singled to score Bell. That was all the Rebels would get at that time.

They would build the lead to 6-0 in the second on a Overbey RBI base hit after an Anderson single and an Orvis single. Anderson scored on Overbey's hit.

"We talked as a team that somebody was going to break the ice and hitting is contagious," Bianco said.

That turned out to be Overbey.

"He had a tremendous day with three two-out RBI, and that's huge," Bianco said of the senior veteran who was 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. "He kind of broke the ice, and hitting is contagious. It certainly was today."

It appeared the Rebels' lead was insurmountable. But Trent ran into some trouble in the fourth, and UALR closed the gap with four runs.

"He's got to learn to get out of the inning, learn to make some pitches. The great ones do," Bianco said. "He was cruising. We had a six-run lead. At those critical times in the game, he has to make some better pitches. But we kind of sensed it was going to be a tough day to pitch today for anybody."

Will Allen
Bruce Newman

After Trent was relieved in the fifth, Aaron Greenwood came in and would wind up being the winner. Preston Tarkington, Hawtin Buchanan, and Austin Blunt would all pitch before this one was over.

"I was proud of the all of those guys in the bullpen today," Bianco said.

Ole Miss led only 7-5 after the top of the fifth but would add a run in the bottom of the fifth – Will Jamison's second home run of the season – and three more runs in the seventh to seal it. They actually left the bases loaded in the seventh or the outcome would have been even more one-sided.

The Rebels outhit UALR, which fell to 8-4, by a margin of 15 to 10 in the contest. Trojan starter Ethan Schlechte got the loss.

"Friday night we had a lot of guys in scoring position with less than two outs, and we seemed to not be able to get the job done," said Anderson, 3-for-4 with three runs scored on the day. "Today in the first, Preston Overbey came through. We scored five and kept it up the rest of the game."

Adding to that lead as the game went on was another important key.

"Coach (Mike) Bianco and Coach (Cliff) Godwin were stressing that before the game, to score early and keep scoring," Anderson said. "We just needed to make sure they didn't come back on us."

Sunday's finale is at 1:30 p.m.

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