The No.9 ranked Ole Miss baseball team opened its 2018 season strong Friday evening with a decisive win over Winthrop of the Big South conference.
It has been a very long off-season for Ole Miss baseball fans. We have anticipated the beginning of Rebels baseball and a chance to see just what Mike Bianco is bringing this season. Well Rebels baseball fans got a good taste of it Friday night as Ole Miss baseball (1-0) won its season opener 7-3 over Winthrop (0-1). And Ole Miss fans were fired up last night as the Ole Miss Rebels finally began their season.
With a crowd of 8.797 in attendance the Rebels wasted no time getting on the board with 2 runs in the 2nd inning. The Rebels then added 3 runs in the 3rd inning and 1 run in the 4th to take a 6-0 lead into the 6th. The Eagles finally got on the board with 2 runs in the top of the 6th but Ole Miss added an insurance run in the 8th. Of course, the Eagles did score 1 run in the top of the 9th , however the Rebels got the 7-3 win.
This was not just a well-played game by Ole Miss baseball; it was not just a win. Sophomore left-hander Ryan Rolison put on a pitching clinic. Rolison set a career high 12 Ks which stymied the Winthrop hitters thru the first five innings. Of course, there was other action as well so lets look at the game by the numbers
On The Rubber
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On the evening the Rebels pitching staff was lights out. Ryan Rolison drew the start for the game against the Eagles and went five complete innings in the season opener. Of course, Rolison struck out 12 batters and allowed no runs.
Sophomore right-hander Houston Roth took the hill in the 6th and put in 3 complete innings of work. Roth retired 4 Eagles batters while allowing 2 runs on 2 hits.
Senior right-hander Will Stokes took over the rubber to close out the game in the 9th. The West Lauderdale standout allowed 1 earned run on 1 hit while striking out 1 Eagles batter.
Combined the Rebels pitching staff accounted for 17 Ks in the game while facing only 35 Eagles. This pitching staff is solid and will be a lot of fun to watch as the season progresses. This could easily be coach Mike Bianco’s most talented pitching staff since being in Oxford. Of course, that is saying a lot.
At The Plate
This is an area we wanted to see a dramatic improvement from last season. Friday night the Rebels looked good in the box. The entire batting order for Ole Miss combined to produce 7 runs on 13 hits. Yes, every Rebel in the order got at least one hit. Sophomore Thomas Dillard led all Rebels going 3 for 4 at the plate and scoring 3 runs. Sophomore Cooper Johnson had a 2 for 4 game and also scored a run. Freshman Tyler Keenan also had a 2 for 4 day at the plate and had 2 RBI.
Sophomore Grae Kessinger and senior Will Golsan both went 1 for 4 in the game. Golson also had a RBI. Junior Nick Fortes went 1 for 4 at the plate while also scoring a run. Junior Ryan Olenek went 1 for 3 while freshman Anthony Servideo had a 1 for 4 night in the box. However, the hitter of the night was Senior Tim Rowe who went 1 for 3 with the 3-run shot which signaled the first beer showers of the 2018 season. We can be sure there will be many more.
Last night the Rebels showed this Ole Miss baseball team can hit the ball. Of course, now we just want to see it on a consistent basis. Tonight, the Rebels can definitely feed off the energy from last night. We’ll have to wait and see just a little longer since first pitch was moved to 6pm CT tonight. The game can be viewed on SEC Network+. Good luck to coach Mike Bianco and the Ole Miss Rebels! Hotty Toddy!