Ole Miss got ready for LSU by getting past SLU - again.
The Rebels, who host the Tigers this weekend, got excellent pitching, solid hitting, and nearly flawless defense to win Wednesday night's game against the Lions 11-4. Ole Miss had beaten Southeastern Louisiana 6-1 Tuesday night.
"Pitching-wise I thought we were strong," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco after his team improved to 23-15 on the season. "We had a lot of good at-bats, some clutch hits, and some guys really swung it well."
After the Rebels took a 1-0 lead on a Justin Brashear RBI double in the second, they picked up three more runs in the third to go up 4-0. Chris Coghlan's base hit past the first baseman drove in Justin Henry who had singled to right. A Zack Cozart ground out scored C.J. Ketchum who had singled. Coghlan came home from third on a wild pitch to end the scoring in the inning.
The Lions got to starter Jesse Simpson in the fourth with four runs to tie the game. But Bianco stuck with him throughout the frame and then made a pitching change to start the fifth as Jon-Jon Hancock came in.
"Jesse pitched well," Bianco said. "His pitch count went up. That was the most pitches he's thrown all year. We needed him to go that deep, into the fourth or fifth inning so the other guys wouldn't have to pitch as much. They put one good inning together and were able to bunch some hits. But we responded after that."
The game remained 4-4 through the seventh inning stretch, and then the Rebels unleashed more offense. A Zack Cozart bloop hit over the shortstop in shallow left got things started. Alex Presley reached on an error by the shortstop. After two outs, a Brashear walk loaded the bases. Evan Button then came through with a two RBI single to center, basically another bloop hit that fell short of the centerfielder. Justin Henry singled to score a run, followed by a Ketchum RBI base hit. Up 8-4, the Rebs were in control.
They added three more runs in the bottom of the eighth, the big shot a Presley two-run homer over the right field wall. Logan Power also added an RBI single later in the inning.
The Rebs outhit the Lions 15-10.
"I was 0-for-3 in the game so far, but I was trying to think positive and get another at-bat," said Button of his seventh inning hit that broke the tie and made it 6-4 UM. "I just went up there knowing I was going to get a hit. It was a little Texas Leaguer, but I'll take it. We needed something to happen."
"Mark Wright, Jon-Jon Hancock, and Justin Brashear had big two-out hits, and we had several hard-hit balls in the (third) inning that kinda got us untracked," Bianco said. "Evan Button had a big hit later. C.J. Ketchum got three hits. So it was a good night for us there. I thought we were aggressive tonight. Last night we just looked a little tentative early. We just didn't swing with a lot of confidence, and tonight we did."
Every Rebel starter got at least one hit in the contest.
Stoney Stone relieved Hancock for the seventh and eighth innings, while Garrett White closed things out.
The lines for all four Rebel pitchers in the game looked like this:
Simpson - four innings, seven hits, four runs, five strikeouts, two walks.
Hancock - two innings, three hits, one strikeout.
Stone - two innings, one strikeout, one walk.
White - one inning, one strikeout.
"Out of the bullpen Jon-Jon Hancock in just his second appearance (this season) hit 91 (mph) a couple of times and didn't walk a guy in two innings pitched," Bianco said. "He looked like he belonged out there, and that's neat for a guy who hasn't been out there in a while. Stoney the same thing. He hadn't been out there in a couple of weeks and he showed great command and pitched well. I thought it was the sharpest Garrett White had been in maybe two or three outings."
Stone got the win for the Rebs to move to 2-0 on the season. Reliever Chris Cappo (2-2) got the loss for SLU as the Lions fell to 15-22 on the season.
Rebs win game two vs. SLU 11-4
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