After Drew Pomeranz allowed no damage in the top of the first, Ole Miss scored three runs in the bottom of the inning and rolled to an 8-1 win over Monmouth on day one of the Oxford Regional.
"I thought we got off to a great start, especially offensively," said Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco, his team now 41-17 and facing Western Kentucky (40-18) at 5 p.m. Saturday. The Hilltoppers beat Missouri by an 11-5 margin in game one on the day.
"From then on Drew just took control of the game," Bianco added, "and was really dominant with a good mixture of fast balls, curve balls, and even a handful of changeups. He was as sharp as I've seen him all year."
The Rebel sophomore lefty went eight innings plus a batter that he walked in the top of the ninth, and allowed just one earned run when the walk came back to score with Rory McKean on the mound. The Hawks got just five hits off Pomeranz as he struck out 10 and walked two.
Pomeranz said a key to his game on this night was actually staying in the game.
"In some other starts about the fifth or sixth innings I'd start to lose focus," he said after moving to 7-4 on the season. "Tonight I just kept telling myself to keep focused and keep pounding the zone, and that helped me last a little bit longer in the game."
Monmouth Coach Dean Ehehalt, whose 32-24 team faces Missouri (34-26) in a 1 p.m. elimination game Saturday, said Pomeranz's performance was definitely key in the contest.
"We ran into a buzzsaw with Pomeranz," he said. "We got a little bit unlucky in the first inning and it put us behind. I thought the game settled in some, but we just couldn't string together some at-bats to get back in it."
Ole Miss, with 10 hits on the night, came out swinging and got what would prove to be enough runs in its first at-bat.
Jordan Henry, on base five times in the game with three hits and two walks, singled to get things started. Logan Power doubled to score Henry. Later Kyle Henson flew out to left to get Power home from third. Zach Miller tripled to right center to score Matt Smith who had reached on a fielder's choice.
In the second inning, Ole Miss added a run as Henry singled again, this time scoring Evan Button who had doubled.
But that would be all the Rebels would get until the seventh as Monmouth starter Brett Brach kept Ole Miss hitters at bay with quite an exhibition of pitching himself.
"I tried to mix up speeds more and keep them off balance," said Brach, who got the loss and is now 7-3. "That's really all I tried to do. I kept throwing strikes and challenging them."
The Rebels added a run in the seventh and three more in the eighth to seal it.
McKean allowed two hits in the ninth as the Hawks had seven collectively in the contest.
"I thought our kids played particularly hard," Ehehalt said. "I thought our kids fought and fought all game. But the story of the game was the pitcher for Ole Miss. He did a great job."
Ole Miss will send junior RHP Phillip Irwin (7-3, 3.82) to the mound against the Hilltoppers. WKU will start junior RHP Shane Cameron (5-1, 4.61).
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