Ole Miss Baseball: Rebels Notch Huge Road Win Against UK

Jun 18, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; General image before the games in the 2016 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 18, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; General image before the games in the 2016 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports /

Ole Miss baseball headed to Lexington Thursday night for a weekend series, which would highlight the best pitching staff in the SEC. Of course, Kentucky has the best hitters in the SEC, so it would prove to be a battle.

Ole Miss baseball (15-7, 3-1) coming off a mid-week loss to rival Memphis, took the field Thursday night against Kentucky (16-7, 3-1). Kentucky came into the match-up with an 8 game winning streak and the best offense in the SEC. However, the Rebels were hoping to find some offense of their own, which they did.

Ole Miss would find an early lead, scoring 2 runs in the top of the 3rd inning. Kentucky would pull close with a run in the 4th inning, but that’s the only time the game was really close. In the top of the 6th with 2 away, Ole Miss hitters would bust open. Batting through the order, the Rebels would score 6 runs to make the score 8-1.

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After a scoreless 7th inning, Ole Miss would add insurance in the 8th with a single run. UK would rally to score 5 runs in the bottom of the 8th but would fall short. #11 Ole Miss would defeat the high-powered #19 Kentucky in a final of 9-6.

McArthur Solid In Return

James McArthur (1-1, 1.76), who had been held out of the line-up because of a strained forearm, would look solid in his return. McArthur would go 5 innings on the rubber, while allowing only 1 earned run on 5 hits. He recorded 4 strikeouts while only walking one Wildcat batter. His effort on the mound would give him the win.

In total, 5 Rebel pitchers would see time on the hill, and would combine to allow 6 runs on 9 hits while striking out 8 and giving up three freebies. After a 8th inning rally attempt by Kentucky, in which TJ Collett would pinch hit a grand-slam, Bianco went to the bullpen. Dallas Woolfolk finished out the game on the mound. Woolfolk recorded his 6th save of the season, which is another SEC best.

Ole Miss Hitters Erupt

Rebel hitting has struggled with consistency all season. However, they would find their groove against Kentucky. The Rebels took the lead early in the third on a 2-run shot by Grae Kessinger  and never looked back. Kessinger would lead all Rebel batters going 3 for 4 at the plate while knocking in 3 runs.

Of course, the story of the night was the huge 6th inning slugging show. With 2 away in the top of the inning, Rebel hitters would turn the plate into a launching pad. While batting thru the order, the Rebels would record 7 consecutive hits to score 6 runs in the inning.

Rebel batters combined to record 14 hits in the contest. Six Rebel batters would see multiple hits in the game, while the combo of Tate Blackman and Colby Bortles would go hit-less. Ole Miss baseball needs to have them hitting consistently while battling the meat of the SEC schedule.

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The Rebels will try to secure the series with Kentucky, while they take on the Wildcats in game 2 today in Lexington. Rebel ace David Parkinson (4-1, 2.03) draws the start on the mound for Ole Miss. According to OleMissSports.com, first pitch is scheduled for 5:30pm CT and will be televised on SECN+ and the Ole Miss IMG Sports Network.