Buttoned Up

Evan Button went 5-for-5 and Rebel pitching was effective again as Ole Miss beat Southern Miss 8-4 in Hattiesburg.

The Rebels jumped out to a 5-0 lead through four and a half innings until starter Brett Bukvich found the going rough and gave up two runs.

But Rory McKean came in and helped take care of a bit of a mess for the Rebels in that bottom of the fifth. With two on and no outs and those two runs in, McKean actually walked the first Golden Eagle batter he faced. But a third-to-catcher-to-first double play helped things immensely, followed by fly ball out to end the threat.

The Rebels (30-11) were able to breathe a sigh of relief at that point. Then in the top of the seventh still up three runs, the Rebels went about the business of adding to their lead. Zach Miller's double drove in Matt Smith who had singled. After an out and a single by Kyle Henson, Kevin Mort doubled to score Henson.

Button then tripled to score Mort. It was the second three-bagger of the game for the senior infielder.

Button credited a conversation with his parents for his stellar night.

"My mom called me today on the phone and she told me she knew I could do it," said Button, who had three singles to go along with his two triples, drove in two runs, scored a run, and had a stolen base. "I've been talking to my parents, and I've been struggling, but I just kept working, taking extra BP. It finally paid off tonight and it felt great. I went up there every time thinking I was going to get a hit."

Southern Miss (25-15) added a couple of runs in the bottom of the seventh, the first one chasing McKean as David Goforth came in to finish things off.

But USM could get no more, and in its last at-bat had two men on with no outs before Goforth got three straight strikeouts to end it.

"You have to come in and throw strikes," said Goforth, who was in the high 90s on the radar gun. "It's awesome getting to do this. This is what I came to Ole Miss to do."

The Rebels got their eight runs on 17 hits and stranded 10. They also committed three errors. The Golden Eagles got their four runs on seven hits with six left on base, playing an errorless game.

McKean got the win and is now 5-1 on the season, going two innings with four hits, two runs, one earned, a strikeout and a walk. Goforth got his second save, going two and a third with five strikeouts, one walk, no hits, and no runs.

USM starter Seth Hester (2-2), working two innings, got the loss.

The bottom three hitters for the Rebels led the way as Henson was 3-for-4, Mort was 2-for-3, and Button 5-for-5, reaching base 13 times collectively.

"They were terrific," Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. "Evan had a great game and nobody deserves it more than Evan. Mort's Mr. Consistency. Henson's been playing terrific. But the pitchers were terrific. Brett was tremendous on the mound and one inning got away from him a little bit. But Rory came in and got the double play and ended up getting out of it.

"And David was tremendous at the end," Bianco continued. "He hit 99 miles an hour several times tonight. There are not too many people in this world that throw it that hard."


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