Ole Miss followed up an impressive shutout win Saturday with another one Sunday as the Rebels defeated Illinois-Chicago 5-0 to take the series.
The Rebels, who only allowed two hits Sunday, had beaten the Flames 10-0 Saturday and haven't give up a run in the last 21 innings of play. UIC, an NCAA Regional tourney team last season in the Lincoln (Neb.) Regional, had won the opener 4-1 Friday night.
Lance Lynn took the mound for the Rebs Sunday. The big, 6-foot-5, 270-pound, right-handed true freshman pitcher looked awfully comfortable in his first collegiate start.
The Indiana native went five and two-thirds innings allowing just one hit and no runs with a walk and three strikeouts.
"It felt good to get my first win as a college starter," said Lynn, who this weekend replaced junior RHP Nick Hetland in the weekend role against UIC, joining true freshman RHP Cody Satterwhite and senior RHP Tommy Baumgardner who have both started for three weekends. "It was exciting out there today. Hopefully there are a lot more of them down the line."
Lynn, drafted in the sixth round by the Mariners last June, was an all-star in high school and a pitcher that Rebel fans and coaches had monitored as to whether he would indeed attend college at Ole Miss last fall. When he made his decision and showed up for school, he had a lot of conditioning work to do, and he went about the task of getting into shape.
"My goal was to be in the weekend rotation as a freshman," said Lynn, who had made three appearances in relief this season with a save in a 9-2 series-opening win against Maine a weekend earlier. "This fall I came a long way. I arrived here a little out of shape. I wasn't really ready to play. I worked on that and came back for the spring semester in a lot better shape, and I think it's showed up in the way I've pitched."
It was actually the second impressive performance for Lynn. In the Rebels' 14-9 loss last Tuesday against Arkansas State, Lynn relieved freshman LHP starter Brett Bukvich, striking out nine Indian batters in three and a third innings.
Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco, whose 18th-ranked Rebels improved to 8-3 on the season, said Lynn looked solid out there Sunday.
"For his first collegiate start and to pitch on four days' rest, I thought he did a great job," Bianco said. "He threw about 75 pitches and we knew he couldn't finish the game today. But I wanted him to get a start under his belt so hopefully he could have two starts under his belt (including next weekend at UCLA) going into conference play. He was pretty impressive today. Good composure and did a great job."
Justin Brashear's fifth-inning sacrifice fly to center field scored Justin Henry from third to erase a scoreless game. In the sixth Zack Cozart launched a rocket over the left field wall to give the Rebs a 3-0 lead. The Rebels added two more in the eighth for insurance that they ultimately didn't need as well as their pitchers were performing.
Two freshmen - Satterwhite and RHP Jesse Simpson - combined their efforts for the Rebel victory on Saturday. After Lynn left the game, junior left-hander Garrett White replaced him and finished the game's final three and a third, allowing only one hit with a walk and five strikeouts, and getting his first save as a Rebel.
UIC, which fell to 3-7, threw three pitchers Sunday allowing eight Ole Miss hits with starter Don Phillis picking up the loss.
"It's not often that you play two games, 18 innings, and don't give up a run," Bianco said. "Our pitchers the last two games have done a really good job."
Ole Miss hosts Murray State twice this week with Bukvich starting Tuesday's 6:30 p.m. game and Hetland Wednesday's 3 p.m. contest.
Rebs shut out Flames for second straight day
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