By: Jeff Roberson
The fourth-year junior, who has had some injury issues during his time at Ole Miss and did not pitch in games during fall ball this year, was as good as he’s ever been in a Rebel uniform for five innings Friday.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better night,” the right-hander said. “I felt great out there, and I had that offense behind me. That makes it a lot easier.”
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said Bramlett was special.
“I thought his location was good, especially early. There were some long innings when we were scoring runs, and I think that took a little bit out of him. He was able to get back into it. He was able to really locate on both sides of the plate with his fast ball. I thought his velocity was good early. He threw a bunch of balls in the 90s, and he mixed in some breaking balls.”
Bramlett was done after five innings, having allowed no runs on one hit with six strikeouts and one walk. Thanks also to a productive Rebel offense, when he departed his team was up 9-0.
Bramlett said he still felt OK at that point.
“My pitch count got up but physically my arm felt great and my body felt great,” he said. “But my pitch count was up and Coach (Bianco) went ahead and pulled me.”
The Rebels got a run in the first when a Colby Bortles groundout scored Errol Robinson who had doubled and moved to third on a J.B. Woodman single.
In the second the Rebels scored four runs, with a Tate Blackman solo homer starting things off that inning.
After a run in the fourth, Ole Miss added three more in the fifth for the 9-0 lead.
Freshman righty Andrew Lowe came in but struggled, allowing two runs on two hits with three walks. He left with the bases loaded and a seven-run Ole Miss lead in the sixth. That’s when sophomore junior college transfer left-hander David Parkinson came in to get a double play and end the inning. He threw one pitch.
Parkinson pitched through the eight, allowing no runs and no hits with one walk and a strikeout. To close it out Bianco turned to freshman right-hander Dallas Woolfolk, who had a strikeout and faced three batters.
“A huge pitch (by Parkinson),” said Bianco of him getting the double play to end the threat in the sixth. “David also looked really sharp the next inning. And for Dallas it was maybe the best he’s thrown since the fall. He’s a pitcher we feel can be a dominant pitcher for us.”
Blackman was 2-for-4 with two RBI, including the home run to lead the Rebels. Robinson and Woodman had two hits each.
“It definitely felt good. It’s been a long time, I would say,” Blackman said of his productive outing. “I believed in the process and believed in my team. I just came out here and had a really fun day.”
And the home run?
“I wasn’t expecting that,” Blackman said, smiling. “I was just expecting a good at-bat. First at-bat this year was a home run.”
“You’re hopeful for him,” Bianco said of seeing the success Blackman had in game one. “So much was put on him last year. It’s a very humbling game and a very humbling league we play in. I’m so proud of the way he’s handled it. He’s never changed his personality. His work ethic has never changed. Great to see him get off to a good start.”
Bianco liked what he saw from his offense.
“The message the last few days was to be aggressive,” he said. “A lot of good at-bats, a lot of aggressive at-bats, especially for a first day.”
The second game of the series is at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.