Rebels take opener from Samford 11-4

No. 19 Ole Miss got 3-RBI performances from sophomores Justin Henry and Jon-Jon Hancock, and freshman pitcher Cody Satterwhite picked up his first career win in an 11-4 Rebel victory over the Samford Bulldogs at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field. With the win, Ole Miss improved to 3-0 for the third straight year after sweeping a doubleheader over Saint Louis 9-1 and 11-2 last weekend. Samford dropped to 2-2.

"We're a very talented club," said head coach Mike Bianco, who is in his sixth season at the Rebel helm. "Cody Overbeck continues to swing the bat well, and Evan Button too. We have to continue to get better, but it's hard to expect more from the young guys offensively.

The Rebel offense continued to roll, pounding out 11 runs on 18 hits. Preseason All-SEC shortstop Zack Cozart was 3 for 4 with three runs scored, and Preseason All-America third baseman Chris Coghlan went 4 for 5 with three runs scored and two runs batted in. Freshman designated hitter Evan Button also swung the bat wall, going 3 for 3 in his first start of the year.

Ole Miss got on the scoreboard first with a run in the bottom of the first. Alex Presley singled to start the inning, Zack Cozart advanced him to second with a single of his own, and Henry lined one through the left side of the infield to give the Rebels a 1-0 lead.

Redshirt freshman Cody Overbeck put Ole Miss up 2-0 in the second inning with a homerun – his first of the season – over the left-center field wall.

Samford got one back in the top of the third after Parker Gargis doubled to start the inning and advanced to third on a throwing error. A grounder to shortstop by Michael Marseco put Samford on the board 2-1.

Ole Miss answered with a run in the bottom of third to go back up 3-1. Cozart doubled to start the inning, and Coghlan drove him in with a single through the left side to give Ole Miss a two-run lead.

The Rebels broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth with a three-run outburst to go up 6-1. With two outs and the bases loaded, Hancock cleared the bases with a double to left center to score Justin Brashear, Coghlan, and Cozart.

Samford had a chance to do some serious damage in the sixth after knocking Satterwhite out of the game. The Bulldogs opened the frame with a walk and two singles to load the bases with nobody out, and Satterwhite walked in a run to pull within 6-2. Garrett White then came in for Satterwhite, and the JUCO transfer got a strikeout, sacrifice flyout, and strikeout to end the Bulldogs' threat with a 6-3 Rebel lead.

The Rebel offense answered with two runs in the bottom of the sixth and three runs in the eighth to put the Bulldogs away by the final 11-4.

The Rebels, who finished last season as the SEC's top defensive team and the tenth-best in the nation, overcame two uncharacteristic errors.

"The two errors do not mean we're not playing well," Bianco said. "We made some great plays out there."

Satterwhite (1-0) got his first career win and finished the game with five innings pitched, giving up five hits, three runs – only two of which were earned, and five strikeouts.

"Cody was terrific today and, at times, really dominant," Bianco said. "Garrett White was also really sharp. He got ahead of every hitter and put guys away. There were a lot of two- and three-pitch at bats."

Ole Miss, in the midst of a 14-game homestand to open the season, hosts Samford tomorrow at 3 p.m. Brett Bukvich, a redshirt freshman southpawer, will take the mound for the Rebels for the first time in his career tomorrow.

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