Thomas Granning.

Ole Miss put up Eight Early Runs and Beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff

It wasn't Greer Holston's cleanest outing, but Ole Miss put eight runs on the board early, and coasted to a 14-6 win over the Arkansas-Pine Bluff

The Rebels blew the game open with the help of a six-run second inning that began with D.J. Miller launching a solo shot over the left field bullpen to give Ole Miss 3-1 lead. It was Miller's first career home run and it began an ambush of Golden Lion ace Nathan Lawrie in the second inning.

After another run crossed when Ryan Olenek reached on a fielding error, Tim Rowe cleared the bases by yanking and three-RBI double down the right field line to quickly give Ole Miss a 7-1 lead and put it in full control. Nick Fortes capped off the scoring with a towering double off the wall in right field that scored Rowe. 

Pine Bluff had a lead briefly in this game when Holston made a mistake by leaving a fastball up to Aderly Perez who crushed it over the left field fence to draw the game's first blood just two batters in, but Ole Miss quickly manufactured two runs of its own in its first at bat by way of a Colby Bortles double and Olenek sac fly. Ole Miss swung the bat well early, but were also the benefactor of an error and three Lawrie walks. Rowe hit the ball hard a couple of times on the night. Bortles had three hits and 3 RBIs.

Olenek and Rowe each had three RBIs as well, and11 different Rebels got hits. Seven of the nine starters recorded a hit with Johnson and Grae Kessinger being the two that did not. Kessinger walked twice in three plate appearances.

Holston did not look as sharp as he did last week in Hattiesburg. He allowed six runs on four hits in five innings. Pine Bluff saw him better the second time through the order and made some hard contact in its three-run third inning. But Holston's last two frames were undoubtedly his cleanest. He worked around a leadoff infield single in the fourth, and recorded his first one-two-three inning in his fifth and final frame. Holston can miss barrels, and seven strikeouts is a career high for the freshman.

Houston Roth relieve Holston and did not allow a hit in two innings of relief. He struck out four of the seven hitters he faced and looked as sharp as he has all season.

To sum it all up, Ole Miss did exactly what it needed to do to avoid an RPI pitfall. It poured on eight runs in the first two frames to remove any doubt and clung to it from there. It harvested its bullpen and was able to get looks at guys at a couple of different positions.

Mike Bianco ran out an interesting lineup. He gave Nick Fortes a start at first base and gave Johnson another look behind the plate. Fortes made a nice catch-and-tag on a throw that drug him off of the bag, and looked pretty comfortable defensively and recorded six put outs.

D.J. Miller made good on his opportunity in left field and cracked his first career home run. A much more daunting task awaits the Rebels on Friday in Tanner Houck and Missouri as this team begins the back half of its SEC schedule.

Quotable

Mike Bianco

On the early offense: "That's what we talked about in pre-game was make the most of your opportunities. It was certainly nice to get off to a good start and see D.J. get a big homer and really give us the lead. Again, we haven't done that great this year, and we had guys like Seamster, Fitz, Blaum come off the bench and get hits. We are going to need that."

On Houston Roth: "Roth was super dominant and just terrific. He's looked like that a lot of times out."

On adjustment Holston made: "I think he was overthrowing a little bit and a little emotional. Sometimes you get that lead and they're swinging so freely and you're not hitting spots, he was able to get his breaking ball into the strike zone more in the later parts of the game and pitch in better counts. I think those two things make a big difference.

On Nick Fortes at first base: "Terrific. He had only practiced one day on Monday, and we talked about it. It sounds funny, but most catchers can handle it. When we asked him to do it, he kind of laughed. The thing I was a little more concerned with, if it were a close game, bunt defenses and some different things."


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