The first thought judging by the sounds would be that the Golden Gophers did something spectacular. And in fact they did. Minnesota put the ball in play.
Lynn struckout the first eight hitters of the day, and the No. 4 Rebels (1-0) sat down 21 total, all while dominating their Big Ten opponent for an 8-1 victory on the Opening Day of the 2008 season in front of 4,745 fans.
The combined effort tied a team record that was set in 2001. Ole Miss pitchers struckout 21 Arizona Wildcats that day during a 17-inning win.
Minnesota (0-1) finally connected in that third frame, but it was only a meager ground ball that was easily eaten up to end the inning. It was that kind of day for Ole Miss. Lynn was upset over a groundout.
"I didn't really notice it until we got to the third inning and the whole stadium was on their feet," the preseason All-American said. "And then I kind of started figuring it out, and the next guy put the bat on the ball. I wanted the ninth for the fans because there was a great turnout with the weather like it was."
The right-hander picked up the win after working five scoreless innings on two hits and tying his career-high with 12 strikeouts. Lynn (1-0) was on a pitch count and ended with slightly more than 100 pitches.
It was a hard act to follow, but fellow junior Scott Bittle was up to the task. Bittle fired the next three frames, fanning seven more Minnesota hitters and giving up a lone double that was stranded.
"I thought Scott was terrific," Coach Mike Bianco said. "We struckout 21 and only had six balls in play. You can't argue with that."
Ole Miss' lone bit of adversity came in the ninth when Matt Smith entered to close but left injured instead. Smith hit back-to-back batters and walked off the mound clutching his right elbow after pegging his second hitter faced.
Bianco said tests will be performed on Monday, and Cody Overbeck is the expected starter at first base during the remainder of the weekend. Sean Stuyverson will likely fill in at third base.
Projected closer Justin Cryer allowed a double, and one of his inherited runners scored. But he K'ed two more in the ninth to close the contest.
"That was the most fun I have ever had catching a game," Brett Basham said. "Lance cruised the whole way, and Bittle was unhittable. You get into a groove. During that first stretch, I thought ‘wow, they have got to touch the ball eventually.'"
While the pitching was the story, the Ole Miss bats came alive late and turned the close contest into an opening game rout with 12 total hits. The Rebels stranded 11 runners, but Logan Power led four players with multiple hits and drove in four RBI. Overbeck, Jordan Henry and Michael Guerrero also hammered out two hits apiece.
Ole Miss broke the scoreless tie in the third inning on a two-out, two-RBI single by Power, scoring Michael Hubbard and Henry.
The Rebels doubled their lead in the sixth on a Minnesota miscue. Golden Gopher shortstop Derek McCallum made an errant throw that allowed two Ole Miss runs to score. McCallum attempted to double up Overbeck, but Henry and Evan Button crossed the plate instead.
The final dagger came two innings later, as Ole Miss put up four more runs on a two-RBI double by Power, and Guerrero provided the exclamation point with a two-run home run over the left field wall.
Gopher starter Tom Buske (0-1) suffered the loss after allowing two runs on four hits in 3.2 innings of work. Buske struckout four and walked a couple. Scott Matyas and Allen Bechstein allowed two and four runs respectively in relief.
"We left some runners early, but Logan came up big, and then Guerrero got the ball out of here," Bianco said. "To do that in this weather is pretty incredible."
Ole Miss and Minnesota continue the series Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The Rebels' Cody Satterwhite will oppose LHP Kyle Carr.
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