OXFORD, Miss. – The Rebels used a big first inning that featured a five-run, two-out rally to jump out of the gates and never looked back as No. 15 Ole Miss (13-2) defeated UALR (8-4) by a score of 11-5 on Saturday to claim the weekend series.
The Rebels and Trojans will close out the series at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Swayze Field.
The bottom of the lineup provided the pop for Ole Miss, going a combined 7-for-13 among starters with nine RBI. Preston Overbey led the way, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI.
Aaron Greenwood (1-0) picked up the win in relief, entering the game in the fifth inning to replace starter Christian Trent. Greenwood worked 1.1 innings, allowing only two hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Trent worked 4.2 innings, allowing five runs on six hits with a walk and six strikeouts. It’s the first walk for Trent in 24.0 innings of work this season.
Ethan Schlechte (1-1) took the loss for UALR, allowing six runs on eight hits with two walks through 1.2 innings of work in the start.
“It was one of those days that you just had a feeling that there was going to be offense,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We were amazing in the first inning. It all happened with two outs. They get the first two guys and then (Austin) Anderson gets a base hit. Last night we talked with the team about how someone has to break the ice. (Preston) Overbey had a tremendous day. He had had three two-out RBIs. That’s huge. After he got that, it kind of broke the ice. Hitting is contagious and it certainly was today.”
Ole Miss broke things open in the first inning with a two-out rally that started with a single and a double from Austin Anderson and Will Allen, respectively. Sikes Orvis walked to load the bases before Overbey then delivered a two-RBI double to left center. Brantley Bell followed it up with a two-RBI single before Errol Robinson would notch an RBI single to right to cap the scoring and give the Rebels a 5-0 lead after the first inning of play.
A sixth run came home in the second inning when Overbey delivered an RBI single with two outs, bringing home Anderson and giving Ole Miss the 6-0 lead.
UALR responded with a four-run fourth inning, using an RBI-single from Justin Steelmon and a three-run home run from Bryson Thionnet to cut the lead to 6-4.
Ole Miss pushed it back out to 7-4 in the home half of the inning with an RBI-double to right center from Will Allen that pushed Anderson across the plate for the third time on the afternoon.
Again, UALR had an answer when Ben Crumpton scored on a double from Tanner Rockwell. Crumpton was hit by a pitch before a sac bunt moved him into scoring position for the Rockwell it. The lead stood at 7-5 for the Rebels at the middle of the fifth.
Will Jamison then hit a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead back out to 8-5.
Ole Miss extended its lead in the seventh with a three-run inning thanks to RBI from Jamison, Robinson and Braxton Lee. With two men on, Jamison delivered a single through the right side to bring home the first run in Overbey while Bell moved to third. Robinson then lay down a bunt down the first base line, bringing home Bell on the sacrifice play. Lee then hit a ball deep to short, bringing home Jamison from second while Lee beat out the throw to first for the third run in the inning.
The lead stood at 11-5 at the end of the seventh and would hold as Hawtin Buchanan and Austin Blunt kept the Trojans off the bases through the final two innings.