Clean Sweep

After dropping 35 combined runs on Vermont over the first two games in the series, Ole Miss used strong pitching and timely hitting to top the Catamounts 3-2 Sunday. Read about it inside.

Junior Phillip Irwin pitched 6.2 innings of six-hit baseball, while Jordan Henry had a run scored on two hits and a steal, as Ole Miss topped Vermont 3-2 Sunday afternoon.

Despite 35 combined runs in the first two meetings, Ole Miss was forced to manufacture scores on this day, with Vermont's Justin Albert scattering five hits in six innings pitched.

With the win, the Rebels claimed a three-game sweep over the visiting Catamounts and now hold a 7-3 record overall on the young season.

"Today was a different ballgame, obviously, but one we probably needed," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "It's hard to blame the offense after they've been so great for nine games in a row, but it was tough. You have to give (Justin) Albert credit for shutting us down. Besides (Logan) Power and (Jordan) Henry, the offense was non-existent today. That put a little heat on Phillip (Irwin), but he answered. We needed a game like that. "

Irwin, who lowered his ERA to 1.61 on the year, was strong yet again. He allowed two runs, one earned, with two walks and four strikeouts for the victory.

"I located well today," Irwin said. "I went to my curveball a lot. I was throwing it pretty much at will, I thought. When my fastball was wild, I walked a couple of guys. So I went back to my curveball to get out of innings."

The junior rolled in the first, striking out two-of-three batters faced. However, by the fifth inning, Irwin had piled up 86 pitches. The sixth and seventh were stronger, as he retired the next five Catamount hitters on 11 pitches.

Mark Micowski shot a single up the middle to end Irwin's day, with the pitcher exiting to a standing ovation after a 100-pitch outing.

"I knew I was going to have to dig a little deeper," said Irwin after upping his pitch count over the first five innings. "I didn't see anybody in the pen, but I knew I could get them out. I felt real comfortable out there. I just challenged them and they started rolling ground balls."

In the home-half of the first inning, both Jordan Henry and Tim Ferguson were issued walks. After a double-steal moved the runners to second and third, Matt Smith sailed a sacrifice fly to right field to score Henry. A single down the third base line by Logan Power plated Ferguson, with the Rebels holding a 2-0 lead early.

Vermont answered in the second, with Jeff Nolet scoring on a throwing error by third baseman Zach Miller. Miller made up for the miscue, however, with a nice play on a roller down the third base line to end the threat.

The Rebels picked up another run in the bottom of the second, as a Jeremy Travis walk would prove costly for the Catamounts. The senior advanced to second after Miller took a hit-by-pitch, and was brought home by Kevin Mort who singled to left field for a 3-1 Rebel lead.

Neither team would score again until the fifth, with Brad Currier leading-off the inning with a stand-up double. After moving to third on a SAC fly to deep center from Micowski, the Vermont second baseman came home on a single by Ethan Paquette for the final run of the day.

Jake Morgan pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief, with senior Scott Bittle credited with his second save after posting three-straight strikeouts to end the game.

Both Power and Mort added RBIs in the effort, with Power the only other Rebel besides Henry to garner two hits on the afternoon.

Ole Miss returns to action Tuesday for the first in a two-game set with Austin Peay at 6:30 p.m.

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