"This was a really good all-around game for us," said sixth-year head coach Mike Bianco. "We hit the ball well, didn't have any errors, and we pitched well. That's exactly what we wanted to do."
Brett Bukvich, who didn't make it past the second inning last week in the Rebels' 14-9 loss to Arkansas State, went six shutout innings while allowing only four hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.
"After last week, you just want to get back out there as fast as you can," said Bukvich, who garnered his first win as a Rebel. "I got ahead of the hitters tonight and let my defense do the work."
The Rebels' pitching staff, who responded after giving up 14 runs to Arkansas State last Tuesday, went eight shutout innings to extend its streak of consecutive-shutout innings to 29 and one-third. Murray State's three runs in the top of the ninth inning ended Ole Miss's quest for a third-straight shutout.
The Rebels got on the scoreboard early on Justin Brashear's second homerun of the season. With nobody on and two down in the bottom of the second inning, Rebel right fielder Mark Wright drew a walk, and Brashear powered a 2-0 fastball over the right field wall to give the Rebels a 2-0 lead.
"I felt good out there," Brashear said after the game. "I got a few pitches I could hit and was aggressive. I was looking for a fastball, got one over the plate, and I got off a good swing."
Ole Miss added to its lead in the bottom of the fifth. Mark Wright led off the inning with a solo blast over the left-center field wall to give the Rebels a 3-0 lead. After Justin Brashear grounded out to first base, Rebel left fielder Jon-Jon Hancock singled up the middle and later stole second. The Rebels then got four straight men on base – on Alex Presley's RBI single, C.J. Ketchum's walk, Chris Coghlan's RBI single, and Zack Cozart's RBI single – to increase the Rebel lead to 6-0.
Rebel second baseman Justin Henry led off the sixth inning with a single to right field, then stole second and third bases. Wright got his second RBI of the night with a double off the left field wall, and Hancock's single two batters later scored Wright and gave Ole Miss an 8-0 lead.
Brashear added his second homerun of the night – this one a 390-foot shot over the left-center field wall - in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 9-0 Rebel lead.
Murray State answered with three runs in the top of the ninth to complete the scoring 9-3.
Rebel freshman Nick Hetland is set to take the mound for the Rebels tomorrow against the Thoroughbreds. Gametime is set for 3 p.m. at Swayze Field.
Rebels power past Murray State
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