On to Columbia

HAMMOND, La. – Ole Miss finally broke open a close game in the ninth inning with four runs for an 8-3 win against Southeastern Louisiana Wednesday.

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The Rebels and Lions had battled to a 3-3 tie until the seventh when the Rebels finally took a one-run lead. Auston Bousfield was hit by the first pitch of the seventh. Will Allen later drove him in from third on a groundout to second to give the Rebels the 4-3 lead.

It was in the ninth that the Rebels solidified it and left Louisiana with two victories and a 16-2 record on the season.

Evan Anderson drew his first start as an Ole Miss Rebel. He went three innings facing nine with three strikeouts.

"I thought Evan was special today," Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. "He looked good, the best he's looked all year."

"I just wanted to come in and throw a lot of strikes and hit my spots," Anderson said. "The wind was blowing real hard, so I knew if I got it up in the air, our outfielders would make plays. And the infield played great today."

After three innings of Anderson, Ole Miss used Austin Blunt, Jacob Waguespack, Cheyne Bickel, Hawtin Buchanan, and Scott Weathersby to close this one out.

"We had plenty of guys and plenty of arms," Bianco said. "But we were starting a freshman who didn't have many innings. After that, I thought we were just trying to put it together. I thought they all did a good job. At the end of the day we pitched a ton of guys and only gave up three runs."

The Rebels got two runs in the third and another in the fourth. Braxton Lee with a single in the second got Errol Robinson home actually on a fielder's choice and an error on SLU. Robinson had singled to reach and moved to third on an Auston Bousfield single. Austin Anderson eventually sac bunted Bousfield in.

In the third, the Rebels loaded the bases on two-out singles by Bell, Jamison, and Robinson. Bousfield was hit by a pitch to make it 3-0 but that was all the Rebels could muster in the inning.

The Lions got two runs in the fourth and another in the fifth but that would be it.

Bousfield was hit by the first pitch of the seventh inning. Allen later drove him in from third on a groundout to second to give the Rebels a 4-3 lead.

Bousfield was in the leadoff spot Wednesday after being second behind usual leadoff batter Braxton Lee.

"We wanted to change it up a little bit," Bianco said. "Take a little pressure off Braxton. And of course Bousfield runs so well he can do anything. He's having a tremendous year."

Bousfield basically said whatever works.

"I don't mind the leadoff spot," he said after his 2-for-3 day with a RBI and two runs scored. "You just have to execute whether you're hitting first or second or wherever."

Brantley Bell went 4-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored. In the last week the freshman second baseman has had a real impact on his team.

"He's just a ball player," Bianco said. "Gets a lot of good swings and gets a lot of good results."

The Rebels have six one-run wins so far this season. Bell said it was good to get those late runs to end this game with a bit more separation in the final score.

"I'm so proud of my teammates for coming out and putting up big numbers again," Bell said after the Rebels had 16 hits on the day. "We certainly loved to win it before the ninth so we don't have to walk it off anymore."

Now the attention goes to Southeastern Conference play this weekend at South Carolina. The Gamecocks are a perfect 16-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country.

Bianco said Southeastern Louisiana (9-7) was the focus these past two games, and the message was not to look ahead to SEC play at USC.

"That was the challenge the last two days, to not get caught up in the fact that it's SEC time," he said. "We were coming to Hammond for two important games and playing a very good baseball team. I'm proud of the guys for staying locked in."

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