Ole Miss welcomed Maine back to Oxford with an impressive offensive showing in a 9-2 victory Friday.
The Rebel bats were hot in this one from the outset with 10 hits through the first three innings and a 7-0 score after three complete.
Senior LHP Tommy Baumgardner moved to 2-0 on the season with another impressive performance, going six innings and one batter (pulled after a lead-off double by second baseman Danny Menendez and replaced with freshman RHP Lance Lynn), allowing two earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts and two walks.
"It was good to come out and get a win after we lost Wednesday," Baumgardner said, as the 19th-ranked Rebels moved to 4-1 on the season. "I just wanted to pitch well and give my team a chance to win. We swung the bats great, and the defense backed me up very well. This was a big win for the team. It gets us rolling again."
Baumgardner actually worked out of a little jam in the top of the first. Black Bears center fielder Joe Hough reached on a single. After a ground out by DH Matt McGraw, first baseman Joel Barrett walked. A ground out by left fielder Ryan Quintal moved runners to second and third with two outs. But Baumgardner got third baseman Curt Smith to strike out looking, and the threat was ended.
After the Rebels scored a couple of runs in the bottom of the first on a Mark Wright two-run home run, Baumgardner worked out of another situation in the top of the second. Right fielder Mark Ostrander walked and Menendez singled. After catcher Sean Parker flew out to left, Ostrander was caught trying to steal third on shortstop Moises Rivera's at-bat. Rivera struck out looking to end another Bear threat.
Baumgardner faced the minimum the next three innings as it was three-up, three-down for Maine over the third, fourth, and fifth. In the sixth it appeared Baumgardner was tiring and the Bears finally got on the scoreboard with two outs. After Barrett doubled to left center and advanced to third on a passed ball, Quintal got him home with a single to left. After Smith doubled to left to score Quintal, Baumgardner got pinch-hitter Frank Pesanello to strike out.
Then in the top of the seventh after Menendez's double, Baumgardner left to a nice ovation from Ole Miss fans.
"I thought Tommy pitched strongly today, but I didn't think it was his best game," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "I didn't think his slider was as strong today, but he really mixed his fast ball in and out. He had a lot of strikeouts getting his fastball in on hitters. He also threw a good changeup today and had great defense on the mound being able to field his postion, which made life a lot easier."
"The first inning is always my toughest," said Baumgardner, who from the last two batters in the top of the second through the first two batters in the top of the sixth sat down 13 in a row. "You have to figure out the strike zone and figure out what's working for you and work to your strength. Once you figure that out, it gets better. They (Bears) swung at some pitches and that helped a lot, and my defense played great."
Bianco says situations like Baumgardner being so effective along with the Rebel defense in those middle innings can be tough to take if you're the opposition.
"It seemed like we were scoring every inning and then after the second Tommy ran a couple of one-two-three innings together and got quick one-pitch outs," Bianco said. "I think that wears on the other team. (The other team is thinking) they keep scoring and we're in the dugout for like 30 seconds."
Not to be overlooked was the Rebel offense, which got its first 10 hits off senior RHP Troy Martin, who went three innings, and followed that up with four more off reliever John Tesseyman (sophomore, RHP). Rebel junior catcher Justin Brashear said the offense was in a groove most of the day.
"Today a lot of guys got after fast balls, and we hadn't been doing that so far this season," said Brashear who was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI. "We've just stressed being more aggressive at the plate."
Lynn got the save for the Rebels, allowing only one hit with no runs, walks, or strikeouts in three innings of work.
The Rebels and the Black Bears (0-1) are scheduled to meet again at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
On Saturday, Ole Miss will send junior RHP Nick Hetland (1-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound and Maine will counter with sophomore LHP Nolen Boike, who last season pitched 12.2 innings with an 8.53 ERA and an 0-1 record.
Rebs take game one against Maine
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