"We played well tonight," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "Certainly it starts on the mound, and I thought Matt Crouse did a terrific job. Just really good command. It looked like his fast ball had a lot of late life. He really dominated the outer portion of the plate tonight. A lot of first-pitch strikes or first-pitch outs. He worked ahead the whole night."
Crouse said he felt like he was on cruise control all six innings, but got stronger as the game progressed.
"I started feeling more comfortable as the game went on, and I had a good day today," said the Haymarket, Va., native who came to Ole Miss after pitching a season at Young Harris Community College in Georgia. "I felt pretty good out there, so it was probably one of my best (performances) of the year. It turned out to be a good outing."
Crouse actually had a no-hitter going until a tough-to-get single in shallow left by Golden Eagle catcher Travis Graves couldn't be corralled by Rebel defenders.
The Rebels got two runs in the bottom of the first inning. A two-out single from Matt Smith was followed by a Matt Snyder two-run home run over the right field wall.
Ole Miss scored three runs in the fifth, thanks to another long ball, this time by Smith. Taylor Hashman doubled and Miles Hamblin walked. That's when Smith sent one over the left center wall for a 5-0 UM lead.
In the sixth the Rebs added two more runs for a 7-0 lead. A double to left field by Hashman scored Kevin Mort who had singled and Taylor Hightower who had walked.
USM got a couple of runs in the ninth off Callender who has experienced some soreness in his forearm lately.
The Rebels were efficient again, this time with seven runs on 11 hits. USM had five hits.
"Our focus was good," said Smith, 4-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. "The biggest thing, and it's something we can control, is our focus. If we go up there and give it our best, that's all we can ask for out of our teammates and out of each other."
Ole Miss hosts LSU Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m., and Sunday at 1:30 p.m.