By: Jeff Roberson
Although he didn’t sing with them on this night, his fellow glee club members wore No. 21 on the backs of their shirts. And Bramlett pitched Ole Miss impressively to a 7-3 victory.
The junior righty tied his college career high for strikeouts with 12, going seven innings and allowing only three hits and a walk.
“I felt great tonight. I was really proud of my outing,” said Bramlett, now 5-2 on the year. “We hadn’t won on a Friday yet (in SEC play). I kind of took it personally. Coach (Mike Bianco) actually challenged me this week in the bullpen. He asked me, ‘Where are your seven shutout innings?’ So I gave it to him.”
“We talked about improving, and he’s pitched well but hasn’t won on Friday night (in the SEC),” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco, his team now 23-7 on the season and 4-6 in Southeastern Conference. “(Bramlett) reminded me that I said seven-inning shutout, and I’m not sure I remember that. But I probably did. He really believes in himself and in a good way. Especially on the mound you have to believe in yourself. He was really, really good tonight.
“For sure his best of the year and against a really good offense,” Bianco continued. “He was just able to use all four pitches. His pitch count was a little bit over 100 after seven (innings). That was good. He was terrific tonight.”
With the loss Arkansas fell to 20-10 and also 4-6.
The Rebels got on the board in the second inning. Michael Fitzsimmons, the freshman designated hitter, doubled in Colby Bortles who had also doubled. Will Golsan flew out to get Henri Lartigue home after he reached on a single. Errol Robinson got a base hit to send Fitzsimmons home, and the Rebels were up 3-0 after two.
The bottom of the third proved to be just as productive. J.B. Woodman walked and Ryan Olenek singled to set things up in the frame. Blackman flew out to get Woodman home. Bortles doubled to get Olenek home, and Lartigue singled to score Bortles.
Up 6-0, the Rebels played well the rest of the way and only ran into trouble late after Bramlett departed.
A Blackman RBI single, scoring Robinson, was the seventh run of the game for Ole Miss, and that was in the fourth inning.
Ole Miss had 11 hits in the game; Arkansas 7.
“It makes it a whole lot easier when your offense puts up seven runs,” Bramlett said.
Lartigue went 3-for-4 with a RBI, including his fifth double of the season.
Bortles was 2-for-4 and an RBI with both his hits being doubles – he has 13 of them on the year.
Robinson was 2-for-4 with a RBI, and he said things are going well for the Rebels offensively lately.
“We’re on fire and getting a lot of two-out hits,” Robinson said. “We focus on somebody being an ice-breaker, and the rest of the guys tag along and get on the train.”
Bramlett said he was at his best so far this season against the Hogs.
“My arm felt great tonight,” he said. “My secondary command was the best it’s been all year so far. That proved to be extremely effective against their batters. I got into a rhythm where I was cruising and filling up the zone.”
Bramlett, who retired 16 Razorback hitters in a row at one point in the contest, said performing better each week is important to pitching effectively in the SEC.
“To be successful in this league you have to improve every weekend,” he said. “To win in this league you can’t stay still.”
After Connor Green replaced Bramlett, the Razorbacks got three runs in the eighth and threatened for more before Green was pulled with two outs. Dallas Woolfolk came in to end things there and with the Rebels up four runs. Will Stokes pitched the ninth.
Arkansas starter, right-hander James Teague, made it only through two batters in the fourth, with Ole Miss already up 6-0. The junior Razorback got the loss to fall to 2-3.
Ole Miss and Arkansas play at 7 p.m. Saturday. Sophomore LHP David Parkinson (0-0, 1.40 ERA) gets the nod for UM, his first SEC start. Arkansas sends junior RHP Zach Jackson (2-2, 3.68 ERA) to the hill.