Bombs Away

Two home runs on Friday night highlighted Ole Miss' 4-3 win over Missouri. On Saturday the Rebels went one better in their 7-1 victory with three. Friday night Ole Miss led 3-0 after one inning. Same thing again on Saturday.

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Christian Trent from Ben Garrett on Vimeo.

But on Friday night the Rebels were not able to continue to build on the first inning success, save a run in the third, as they hung on for the win.

Saturday, after the Tigers had gotten one run back in the second inning, the Rebels put a three spot on the scoreboard in the third to stay well out in front.

With five home runs the past two days, Ole Miss has 19 for the season. Last season the Rebels had 23 all year. It's still March. Last season they played, as is usually the case, into June.

"We swung it well," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco Saturday, specifically mentioning the home runs this season.

So why the productivity with the long ball this season?

"One of the things is we have some older guys, some older physical guys who have had success," Bianco said. "Certainly when you look at college sports in general – football, basketball, baseball – those older guys seem to take it to another level."

Youth has already played a major part of this year's season, Ole Miss now at 20-4 overall and 3-2 in Southeastern Conference play. But it is a seasoned team as well, and the older players are stepping up to help out.

"We have 19 juniors and seniors," Bianco said. "(Preston) Overbey, (Auston) Bousfield, (Will) Allen, (Sikes) Orvis. Those guys are having a great year."

Overbey had a two-home run game the first weekend against Stetson. Saturday against Missouri, it was Orvis who did.

"It's been a while," Orvis said of his own multi-homer performance. He has six round-trippers for the season.

The junior slugger, who had one of the homers Friday night, said he was confident both were headed out of the park to right field.

"The first one I knew for sure," Orvis said. "The second, I had a good idea. I got yelled at by the umpire after my first one (for watching it at home plate too long). So on the second one, I got going."

Senior catcher Will Allen hit his fourth home run of the season Saturday.

Orvis' six home runs are more right now than any one player had on the team last season.

Christian Trent
Bruce Newman

Bianco said extending the lead, as Ole Miss did Saturday, is what he wanted to see.

"Certainly that helps out," he said. "Last night we hit some balls at people. I thought even after the first (inning), we hit some line drives (that were caught). We've hit it pretty well for two days."

Extending and maintaining the lead meant, according to Bianco, the Rebels could go with starter Christian Trent for six-plus innings and then bring in Aaron Greenwood to go the rest of the way. And that was it as far as the pitchers used Saturday for the Rebels.

"That was big," Bianco said. "Anytime you can extend the lead, that's big. It meant we could just stay with Greenwood and didn't have to bring anybody else up (in the bullpen) just in case. It was neat that he could finish the game."

Greenwood was awarded his first save of the year. Trent moved to 3-0 on the season with the win.

"He walks out there and his stuff is even better than it looks," Bianco said of Trent. "Great mix of a 90 miles per hour fast ball on both sides of the plate. Today I thought his slider was the best it's been in a few weeks. And his changeup. When you mix three pitches like that and they're all plus pitches, he can roll a little bit."

Missouri fell to 11-11 and 1-4. Tiger starter Peter Fairbanks (2-2) got the loss.

The teams finish up the series Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

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