Ole Miss was up 6-1 when the Green Wave closed the gap two two runs. But Rebel relievers and some stellar defensive play combined to hold things right there for victory.
"Felt like a typical Friday night in the SEC," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "Their ace, Conrad Flynn, pitched really well. And we had some bad at-bats. But I'm proud because we also put some good at-bats and good innings together."
Alex Yarbrough was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI, while Miles Hamblin broke out, going 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. Zach Miller was 2-for-3. The Rebs outhit Tulane 10-9.
"Yarbrough got a couple of big hits, and Hamblin came up big," Bianco said. "That was good to see."
The Rebels got on the scoreboard in the top of the second inning. Yarbrough continued his impressive rookie season with a two-RBI single to score Miller and Taylor Hightower, who reached on a single and a walk respectively.
Ole Miss added a run in the fourth when Tim Ferguson singled to score Yarbrough who had reached on a double.
The Green Wave got on the scoreboard with a leadoff home run over the left field wall in the sixth by Jeremy Schaffer to cut the UM lead to 3-1.
Ole Miss added some insurance runs in the top of the seventh and needed them. Tulane pulled starter Flynn to start the inning, and the Rebels took advantage of reliever David Napoli.
The third batter of the seventh, Hamblin, with only four hits the whole season, hit his second homer of the year, a three-run shot that nailed the scoreboard in left field. Taylor Hashman had safely bunted and Matt Smith had walked prior to Hamblin's blast.
Hamblin had started the game on the bench but was thrown into the mix when first baseman Matt Snyder left the contest with a dislocated left shoulder after he dove for the bag in the bottom of the second to get Nick Boullosa out unassisted. Snyder is out of action for the weekend, and it isn't known when he will return to action.
Hamblin said he was glad to step in and step up after not being penciled in to play.
"We all didn't want Matt to get hurt, but it could have been anybody to go in there," said Hamblin, who mentioned several guys were stretching in the dugout, and nobody was sure who Bianco would put in to replace Snyder. "When Coach said my name, I knew I had a job to do for the team."
He did that, both at first base and at the plate. His first hit of the night was a single to right. Hamblin admitted it was a confidence lifter.
"Every hit gives you confidence," he said. "I have to go up there with confidence every at bat and not doubt myself. So it builds on it (when you start hitting)."
But the Greenies (5-4) got three runs of their own when Brett Huber came in for starter Drew Pomeranz to start the bottom of the seventh.
Brennan Middleton walked, then Boullosa doubled. Blake Crohan walked to load them up, and the Wave got a run on a fielder's choice as Rob Segedin reached and Middleton came home.
Shaffer got aboard to load the bases again when a ball hit almost straight up into the air wasn't caught by a Rebel infielder. Garrett Cannizaro singled to score Crohan.
Then came the play of the game as Ferguson raced back to the center field wall to catch a deep fly ball at the wall hit by Cody Robinson for the second out. Runners were on the move, and a relay from Ferguson to Yarbrough to Hamblin got Cannizaro out and maybe saved the game.
"Earlier in the game there was a ball that fell in I thought I should have caught," Ferguson said. "I didn't get a good jump. From then on, I was on my toes. The guy hit it good, and I knew we needed a good play."
Indeed they did. And it was a huge play in this one.
In the ninth, David Goforth came in and took care of business – after a walk to Boullosa. Crohan hit into a double play, and Segedin grounded back to Goforth, who got his second save of the season, to end it. Flynn (1-2) got the loss, pitching six innings with three runs on eight hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
But it was Pomeranz who Bianco said set the table and allowed the relievers to have a chance to end things with a win. The Rebel junior left-hander got the win to move to 2-0 and went six innings, allowing one run on six hits with six strikeouts and a walk.
"When you run an ace out there like Pomeranz, he just keeps you in the game," Bianco said. "He tweaked a little crick in his neck in the fifth and couldn't really move his head after that. Their three-hole guy, Segedin, hit a missle off (Pomeranz's) foot. And he just kept going back out there. He's just a warrior. He got us to the seventh, which is about all you can ask. Tonight he just gutted it out."
Much like the rest of his teammates in a big win to open this road series.
Game two between Ole Miss and Tulane is at 2 p.m. Saturday.
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