Rebs spoil Boilers first game in Oxford

Mark Holliman was on and the Rebel bats on fire as 16th-ranked Ole Miss blasted the Boilermakers 14-3.

Ole Miss spotted visiting Purdue two runs in the top of the first Friday night and then turned on its guests from West Lafayette, Indiana. At game's end the 16th-ranked Rebels, had a 14-3 victory to their credit.

Ole Miss answered the Boilermaker's opening frame with two runs in the bottom of the first - thanks to a Chris Coghlan infield shot that actually bounced off and away from the pitcher for a single followed by a two-run shot by Stephen Head that hit the top of the left field wall and bolted over. It was 2-2 after an inning, but the fireworks for Ole Miss had only begun.

"It was a very good offensive day for us," said Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco. "We were getting the big hits, the big two-out hits, the clutch hits. That was good to see."

Bianco said coming back immediately after being down 2-0 was also nice to see.

"After we're down two runs, it was important to see us come back strong," he said. "And Mark (Holliman) was so dominant out there from then on. We needed to even the score up at that point and get things headed the other direction."

Mark Holliman was a huge story in this game. The junior righthander, after a shaky top of the first, was as good as he's been at Ole Miss, according to Bianco.

"That's saying a lot, because I've seen him pitch a lot of great games here," Bianco said. "But he was 94-97 (mph) in the first inning and was 96 a couple of times. His fast ball was so explosive. I don't think too many people could have handled him tonight offensively. Ten strikeouts, no walks. He was super tonight."

Holliman's final numbers were seven innings, six hits, two earned runs, in addition to no walks and 10 strikeouts.

"After I got through the top of the first inning and we scored two runs in the bottom of the first, that pumped me up and I knew we were ready to go," said Holliman, now 2-0 on the season. "This was definitely my best outing of the year. My slider and curve ball were working. I was able to throw my fast ball whenever I needed to, and it was hard tonight. I threw like one changeup and so that wasn't really much of a pitch for me tonight. Being able to mix three pitches really helped me out."

The Rebels took the lead in the third with three runs. Mark Wright singled in two runs, and an error on the rightfielder going after the ball couldn't get a handle on it allowing another run to score.

The Boilermakers added a run in the top of the fourth on a couple of hits, a wild pitch, and a passed ball. A fly ball got a run home.

That would be it for the visitors on the scoreboard. Ole Miss, meanwhile, kept on rolling, scoring a run each in the fourth and the fifth, and two in the sixth on a two-run homer over the right field wall at the foul pole by Chris Coghlan for a 9-3 lead.

That score remained until the eighth when the Rebels added five more runs.

Junior left-handed pitcher Tommy Baumgardner came in for Holliman and went the final two frames, keeping the Boilers shut down with a walk and a strikeout.

Brian Pettway was 3-for-5 with an RBI. Coghlan ended the game 3-for-4 with 2 RBI.

"I just saw the ball well and had a good night," said Coghlan. "There aren't many home runs I hit that I know are gone. But I knew that one was."

Purdue was led by Mitch Hilligoss and Neal Gorka with two hits apiece. Losing pitcher for the Boilermakers was starter Scott Byrnes, now 0-1 on the year.

The Rebels outhit Purdue 14 to 6.

Tomorrow the two teams meet again at 1:30 p.m.

OM Spirit Top Stories