Rebels offensive in win over Bruins

Ole Miss scores 18 runs on 18 hits as the Rebels move to 4-1 on the season. Southern Illinois is up next this weekend - in Oxford for 3 games at 3 p.m. Friday, 1:30 p.m. Saturday, and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Against Southwest Missouri State in Houston on Sunday, the No. 15 ranked Ole Miss Rebels won the game with 15 hits but only scored six runs in a 6-4 victory. Coach Mike Bianco wanted to see the same type offensive output but with more run production.

So how about 18 of each? The Rebels pounded out 18 hits and an equal amount of runs in blanking Belmont University (of Nashville) 18-0 Tuesday afternoon in Oxford.

"We have to be able to do this more, to have that big inning," Bianco said. "Getting 12 to 15 hits and only scoring six runs, that's not the mark of a good ballclub. Teams that get say seven runs on seven hits are getting the timely hit. We certainly got that type game today with 18 hits and 18 runs. We pushed guys across and moved guys over today, and that was nice to see."

Through two games now, the Rebels have not given up a run at home – beating Arkansas State 10-0 a week ago to open the season and Belmont 18-0 Tuesday.

Sophomore third baseman Chris Coghlan went 4-for-5 with four RBI and junior first baseman Stephen Head went 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI.

"We came out ready to play offensively today," said co-captain Head. "(Hitting) Coach (Stuart) Lake challenged us today, and with 18 hits not including the hit by pitches and the walks, I think we did that. Even the guys who came off the bench were fired up and ready to hit. Usually when you are beating a team this bad you kinda lay back. But those guys came in and it looked like it was close game in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. It was a really good day offensively for us."

Head said the Rebel bats were also alive two days earlier, but against Southwest Missouri State they didn't find as many holes as against Belmont.

"We hit the ball hard Sunday and it was similar hits-wise," he said. "But we hit a lot of balls right at guys. Today those hits fell. That was the difference."

Five different pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout for the Rebels, now 4-1 on the season. Ole Miss used a total of 24 players on the afternoon.

Junior 6-foot-4 left-hander Matt Maloney (1-0 this year) worked five scoreless innings to earn the win, allowing two hits and striking out five and seeing just 17 batters come to the plate.

"I had to get used to starting again a little bit," said Maloney, the second-year Rebel who had only made two relief appearances through the Rebels' first four games of 2005. "I just want to get out there and help the team any way I can – whether starting or relieving. I've been happy with the way I've been pitching. All my pitches have been working every time I've been out there. There's been good run support, and the team has been playing great defense behind me. Everything's clicking right now."

After Maloney left the game, 6-6 RHP junior Stoney Stone came in and pitched an inning with a strikeout and a walk, facing just four batters.

Then 6-5 redshirt freshman LHP Travis Bogue went an inning with a strikeout, facing only three batters.

Next was 6-3 sophomore RHP Michael Wakefield, who worked an inning facing four batters with a strikeout and a walk.

Finishing things up for Ole Miss was 6-2 RHP junior Chris Moffett who went a frame seeing four batters and giving up two hits with a strikeout.

Up 2-0 already, Ole Miss broke the game open with a six-run fourth inning. The first four batters of the inning reached on hits. Freshman DH Jon-Jon Hancock got a base hit and sophomore leftfielder Mark Wright followed with a double to start the inning.

Junior catcher Barry Gunther then singled to score Hancock and make it 3-0. Sophomore shortstop Ryne Porter followed with another RBI single to score Wright and make it 4-0, while Gunther made it 5-0 when he scored on a wild pitch by Bruin pitcher Cody Blackard.

Two batters later, Coghlan pushed the Rebels' lead out to 6-0 on a RBI single to score Porter, and Head followed with a two-run home run down the right field line to cap the inning and make it 8-0. The home run was the first of the year for Head

"It was a 2-0 slider," Head said of his shot which traveled some 350 feet. "I was looking for a fast ball, like every hitter does with a 2-0 count situation. It was up a little bit in the zone, and I just got it."

Blackard (1-1) suffered the loss for the Bruins, who fell to 3-1 on the year. He was charged with eight runs, seven earned, on 10 hits and no walks, while striking out two in 3 2/3 innings.

Ole Miss scored two more runs in the sixth to make it 10-0 and then scored four runs in both the seventh and eighth innings.

The coaches were basically able to clear the bench in this one. A total of 12 different Rebels recorded at least one hit on the afternoon.

Tuesday's contest was the first of an 18-game home stand for Ole Miss. The Rebels now open a three-game weekend series against Southern Illinois (4-2) Friday at 3 p.m. at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field. Game two of the series is set for Saturday at 1:30 p.m., and Sunday's finale is also scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

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