OXFORD, Miss. – The Rebels made the most of opportunities on Friday night, using 14 hits and three Bulldog errors to race to victory as No. 11 Ole Miss (36-14, 16-9 SEC) defeated Georgia (24-24-1, 9-15-1 SEC) by a score of 12-2 in the series opener at Swayze Field.
Chris Ellis (8-0) picked up the win, allowing two runs on 10 hits with two walks and a pair of strikeouts. The junior right-hander allowed a run in the first inning, but put zeroes on the board in five consecutive innings from there to allow his team the chance to rally for the win. Ellis worked 6.2 innings in the start for his ninth quality start of the season.
Ryan Lawlor (4-5) suffered the loss, allowing eight runs – seven of them earned – on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts across 4.0 innings of work in the start.
Junior outfielder Auston Bousfield continued to pace the Ole Miss offense, going 2-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI. He was one of 11 different Rebels to notch a hit in the game and one of three players with multiple-RBI.
“There were some innings when Chris (Ellis) needed to pitch out of some jams,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “He relied on his changeup today because the curveball wasn’t there. They got some good swings off, but he was able to keep them off balance in the middle innings.”
“It was a good night,” Bianco said. “Not many nights where you score double digit runs on a Friday. I’m proud of the offense. I thought we were more like ourselves tonight. It wasn’t just an inning; it was constant pressure.”
Georgia scored first, scratching out a run in the first inning when a bases-loaded fielder’s choice from Sean McLaughlin brought Connor Welton home from third. Welton reached on a one-out double and moved to third on a single from Nelson Ward before a walk of Daniel Nichols would load the bases for McLaughlin. Ellis got a groundout from Jess Posey in the next at bat to limit the damage to one run and get the Rebels out of the inning.
Ole Miss went to work in the third, taking the lead with a three-run inning. It was the first of four consecutive innings in which the Rebels would put a crooked number on the scoreboard on the way to the win.
Back-to-back singles from J.B. Woodman and Braxton Lee started the rally before Bousfield would bring home the first run of the game with an RBI single back up the middle. A groundout to second from Austin Anderson put Ole Miss on top before an RBI single from Will Allen would push the Rebels to the 3-1 lead.
Two more runs came home in the fourth with an RBI groundout from Preston Overbey and a sac fly from Woodman.
The Rebels put three more runs on the board in the fifth after loading the bases with a pair of walks and a bunt single to start the frame. An RBI single through the left side from Brantley Bell brought the first run home. Sikes Orvis then hit into a double play for the second run before Overbey would cap the inning with his two-out single that put Ole Miss on top 8-1 after five innings of play.
Georgia got a run back in the sixth with an RBI single from Skyler Weber. It would be the only other run of the night from the Bulldogs as left-hander Matt Denny kept Georgia in check down the stretch.
Ole Miss brought three more runs home in the sixth inning as an answer to the Georgia rally before pushing home the final run of the night in the eighth on an infield single from Dalton Dulin with the bases loaded. Austin Knight scored on the play to give the Rebels the 12-2 margin of victory.
The two teams will take the field for game two of the series at 4 p.m. on Saturday as the Rebels honor seven seniors prior to the first pitch at Swayze Field.