Rawl, Holliman battle in 2-0 USC win

Ole Miss and South Carolina play at 5 p.m. Saturday. Rebel seniors Barry Gunther, Cooper Osteen, and Miles Franklin will be honored before the contest.

Mark Holliman was awesome. But so was Aaron Rawl.

The Rebel junior righthanded ace pitched a 2-run, 5-hit complete game. Problem was Rawl, a Gamecock senior right-hander, pitched a no-run, 3-hit game himself as the visitors won 2-0 Friday night before 4,135.

"It's tough to lose a game when you pitch good," said Holliman, 5-3 on the season and who tied his career high with 13 strikeouts (and had three walks). "But you always have to credit the other team when they come out and beat you in a game like this. All you can do is go out and give it your all."

Rawl, a gritty, seasoned veteran who pitched in the national championship game as a freshman when South Carolina lost to Texas, was up to the task on the road as he struck out six and faced only 31 Rebels.

"I felt good out there tonight and made some good pitches," Rawl, now 8-5 on the season, said. "I threw a lot of splitters (split-finger fast balls) and got a lot of ground balls. My defense played great."

Rebel junior Brian Pettway said Rawl was basically unhittable as the Rebel offense proved inning after inning.

"It just seemed like he (Rawl) was rolling the whole game," said Pettway, whose long fly ball to the warning track caught by the USC centerfielder with Rebel Chris Coghlan who had singled on first, ended the game. ""He was just throwing three pitches in the zone. He threw his fastball, curve, and changeup and kept us off balance. It's tough to hit when you have three pitches coming at you every at-bat. He was real dominant tonight."

Pettway said he may never have seen Holliman any better than he was Friday night.

"Mark Holliman threw his guts out out there," Pettway said. "That's one of the best outings I've ever seen him have here in three years. He should have gotten the win, and it was our fault as hitters not to get enough hits and score runs for him."

USC Coach Ray Tanner said Holliman was impressive.

"Holliman was just as good as Rawl," he said. "He punched out a lot of guys and didn't give up many runs. That's why he's a Friday night pitcher."

The Gamecocks got both runs in the second. Holliman walked Brendan Winn who stole second and scored on a double by Chris Brown. Neil Giesler then singled to score Brown, and the scoring for the evening was done - only half an hour into the game.

Justin Henry got the Rebels' only two other hits besides the ninth-inning hit by Coghlan.

"He (Rawl) was hitting all his spots," said Henry, who singled in the second and fifth. "I just tried to go up there and shorten my swing and put the barrel on the ball. We were being real aggressive early and he was getting us with off-speed. I just tried to shorten up and get it in play somewhere."

The Rebels fell to 35-16 overall and 13-12 in SEC play. South Carolina is now 34-17 and 13-12.

"We have to keep our heads up and get ready for tomorrow," said Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco.

The Rebels and Gamecocks play at 5 p.m. instead of the originally scheduled start time of 4 p.m. The game was moved an hour to allow fans the opportunity to watch Ole Miss in the NCAA Men's Tennis Regional at 2 p.m. and then head to baseball.

The Rebel seniors - Barry Gunther, Cooper Osteen, and Miles Franklin - will be honored prior to the Saturday contest.

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