DELAND, Fla. – For the second straight day the Rebels’ bats came alive early and the pitching staff turned in another dominant performance as Ole Miss (2-0) defeated Stetson (0-2) by a score of 11-1 to claim the weekend series and set up the chance for a sweep on Sunday.
Christian Trent (1-0) led another solid outing by Rebel pitchers, working 6.0 innings and allowing one run on three hits with six strikeouts. Trent did not walk a batter and worked a perfect 3.2 innings before Stetson would get its first base runner of the game with a hit batter.
Austin Perez (0-1) suffered the loss for the Hatters, allowing five runs on nine hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work. Four of the five runs were earned against Perez.
Austin Anderson led the Rebels at the plate, going 4-for-6 with three runs scored on the afternoon as the Ole Miss offense pounded out 11 runs on 18 hits. Fellow senior Will Allen went 2-for-3 with five RBI and a run scored while adding a walk.
“Christian Trent was really good for us today,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “All three of his pitches were working and he was throwing a lot of early strikes. He really kept them off balance. I’m proud of him for his first outing.
“We had a lot of guys on the field today making their first outings and that first time can be difficult whether you’re a junior college transfer or a freshman,” Bianco said. “Instead of playing differently, they just went out and made plays and were terrific. Our depth really showed tonight with so many guys able to come in and make plays and hits and pitches no matter the situation.”
The Rebels again got off to a quick start in game two of the series when Will Allen launched a three-run shot over the wall in left center to put Ole Miss on the board. Singles from Braxton Lee and Austin Anderson put two men on base with one out before Allen launched his shot over the wall to give the Rebels the 3-0 advantage out of the gates.
Stetson got on the board in the fourth inning with a two-out rally. Patrick Mazeika was hit by a pitch to put a man on base before Josh Powers delivered a double to the wall in left center that brought Mazeika home and cut the lead to 3-1. Trent then got a groundout from the next batter to end the inning and squash the rally.
Ole Miss answered in the top of the fifth, capitalizing on a Stetson miscue after applying pressure on the base path. With Auston Bousfield and Anderson on base following a walk and a single, the two runners executed a double steal to get into scoring position. The Hatters catcher threw to second, but the throw tailed wide of the bag allowing Bousfield to come home and score while Anderson moved to third.
A single to left from Preston Overbey two batters later brought Anderson home and gave the Rebels a 5-1 lead. Stetson then turned to the bullpen for right-hander Josh Thorne with two outs on the board. The junior struck out the next Rebel batter to end the inning, but Ole miss held the four-run lead.
Will Jamison extended the lead with a solo shot to right field to open the sixth inning. Errol Robinson was hit in the head with the next pitch, prompting Stetson’s Thorne to be removed from the game as Robinson took his base and went to first. Robinson was thrown out on a fielder’s choice from Braxton Lee, but Bousfield delivered a double through the right side on a perfectly executed hit-and-run to bring Lee home a batter later to take the lead to 7-1.
A single to left from Anderson put two men on before another double steal advanced both Bousfield and Anderson to scoring position. Allen then delivered a double to right to bring both runners home as the Rebels’ lead grew to 9-1.
Three consecutive singles from Austin Knight, Dalton Dulin and John Gatlin in the eighth brought another run home and the Rebels took the lead out to 10-1 on the Hatters.
Ole Miss continued to build on the lead in the ninth inning when Brantley Bell scored on a fielding error at first off a ground ball from Anderson. Bell opened the inning with a single before moving to second on a walk of Woodman. Anderson then hit the ball down the first base line that went through the legs of the fielder, allowing Bell to score from second and Woodman to move from first to third.
The two teams will play the series finale at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday at Melching Field.