Wright State heads home with series victory

Fans left the stadium Saturday worried about the stagnant Rebel offense, and by Sunday afternoon, those same concerns were undoubtedly magnified.

Ole Miss wasted numerous offensive opportunities for the second day in a row as Wright State used a middle innings surge to beat the Rebels 5-2 and take the series in Oxford. The Raiders are 2-1 heading back to Ohio, and the Red and Blue is 6-3 for the second straight season. This is the earliest Ole Miss has lost a three-game series since 1999.

"It's just disappointing," junior shortstop Zack Cozart said. "We know we're a good hitting team, and we're not showing it. We have to get some run support for the pitchers. They are throwing great and that's exciting, but the hitters have to step it up."

Starting pitcher Brett Bukvich suffered from the lack of run support as he took the loss after allowing eight hits and four runs in 5.2 innings. He struck out six but had two walks that were the difference.

Bukvich picked up back-to-back outs in the fifth inning before walking two consecutive batters. Then, three-hole hitter Jeremy Hamilton promptly cleared the bases with a shot over the right-field wall. A Justin Parker home run to lead off the sixth and another insurance run by Hamilton in the ninth sealed the deal for the Raiders.

"This is one of the few outings that I have gotten weaker as the game went on," Bukvich said. "I don't know what happened in the fifth, it's not like I lost concentration. Just lost the zone for those two batters. The three-hole guy did a good job on a 2-2 slider away. He got it up in the wind."

Ole Miss took the early lead in the bottom of the first after Cozart connected for a sacrifice fly to score Justin Henry who reached on an error to open the game. A Logan Power single moved Henry to third. A golden opportunity to break the game open was lost, however, when Peyton Farr struck out, leaving the bases loaded.

Cozart led off the sixth inning with a double for the Rebels and later scored on a ball in the gap by C.J. Ketchum for the Rebels' final run.

"It was a frustrating day all around, "head coach Mike Bianco said. "We just have not done it offensively. Lots of unconfident bats, and we challenge the team to win all types of games. Besides the Memphis game and first part of New Orleans, we just haven't come through yet.

"No offense to Wright State, but we could have very well dominated them on the mound and offensively. They deserve credit for winning two, but we are better than that."

Cozart and Henry were the only two Ole Miss hitters to produce multiple hits in the game as one RBI came from it.

Kyle Kearcher (1-0) was the beneficiary of the Rebels' lackluster showing by taking the win in his debut after allowing five hits and one run in six full innings. Jason Bennion earned the save with three innings pitched and one run on two hits.

A bright side for Ole Miss is the appearance of Cody Satterwhite coming off injury. The sophomore made his first appearance of the season a successful one with 1.1 innings pitched and no hits or runs allowed.

"My arm feels good, and it was good to get some reps and more time on the mound," Satterwhite said. "Fastball is up, but that is to be expected. I had all pitches working and since I haven't pitched in a year, it was very exciting."

Bianco was also pleased with the powerful right-hander's debut.

"He hasn't thrown to live hitters since late June, and I am proud of him. He needs to get out there again, and if he feels ok, it might be Tuesday."

Ole Miss failed to reach double-digit hits in any game on the weekend and only scored five runs during the three-game set.

"We really need some confidence," Cozart said. "We had a couple games like this last year and snapped out of it. We need four or five runs an inning instead of one run every four or five innings."

The Rebels will get their next shot at scoring on Tuesday with a visit from Belmont at 3 p.m.

Nathan Baker, who picked up his first collegiate victory over Memphis last week, will start for Ole Miss.

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