No.6 Ole Miss baseball was on the road coming off a game-one series win over Georgia State and went for the sweep Wednesday in game-two.
Things have been rolling for Ole Miss baseball (17-1, 0-0) so far in the 2017 season. The Rebels are returning home from Atlanta in a two-game midweek series sweep against Georgia State. With the SEC portion of the Rebels season beginning this weekend this series was huge. Some will say Georgia State was a cupcake but winning two consecutive games on another teams field in baseball is still good. The fashion in which they did it also was huge.
The Rebels didn’t waste much time getting started against the Panthers. Of course, Ole Miss got on the board first with 4 runs in the top of the 1st and never looked back. The Rebels struck again in the 3rd for 3 runs and 1 run in the 4th to take a 8-0 lead into the top of the 6th. The Rebels added 2 runs in the 6th, 4 runs in the 7th and 2 runs in the top of the 8th to take a 16-0 lead into the bottom of the frame. The Panthers did manage 2 runs in the bottom of the frame and the Rebels closed out game-two with a 16-2 win.
Of course, the series sweep also gave the Rebels their fourth series sweep of the season and secured a ‘near perfect’ first third of the Rebels schedule. OHT took a look at the schedule prior to the season and the Rebels exceeded our expectations. Right now Ole Miss baseball has plenty of momentum heading into the upcoming weekend series against Tennessee. However, before we look at the Vols let’s look at the Rebels against Georgia State by the numbers.
By The Numbers
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On the mound the Rebels pitching staff allowed 2 earned runs on only 2 hits. Freshman left-hander Jordan Fowler (3-0) drew the start on the hill for the Rebels. Fowler went for 5 complete scoreless innings allowing only 1 hit. Fowler had 3 Ks while giving up 1 BB.
Junior right-hander Connor Green entered in relief in the 6th went 2 complete innings allowing 0 hits. Green had 1 K and 1 BB while facing 4 Panthers batters. Junior left-hander Pierce Smith entered in the 8th and allowed 2 earned runs while issuing 3 HBP.
Sophomore right-hander Austin Miller then took the mound to finish out the frame. Miller had 2 Ks while allowing 1 K. Junior right-hander Colin Coates took the mound in the 9th to close out the game for the Ole Miss baseball pitching staff. Coates had 1 K. Fowler picked up win 3 on the season.
At The Plate
Of course, the Rebels exploded offensively against Panther pitching Wednesday afternoon. In the game 9 Rebels combined for 14 hits which led to 16 runs. Junior Ryan Olenek and sophomore Cole Zabowski both went 3 for 4 at the plate. Zabowski had 4 RBI. Freshman Tim Elko went 2 for 5 and had 2 RBI. Elko got his first collegiate HR at the plate. Junior Nick Fortes went 1 for 2 and added 3 RBI.
Senior Will Golsan went 1 for 3 at the plate. Sophomores Grae Kessinger and Thomas Dillard both went 1 for 4 at the plate while Dillard had 2 RBI in the game. Junior Chase Cockrell also went 1 for 4 while knocking in 3 RBI. Red-shirt junior Michael Fitzsimmons went 1 for 2 in pinch hit role. This game could have been much uglier considering Ole Miss baseball stranded 11 runners in the game.
First Third Of Season Down
The first third of the season is behind us and after the first 18 games Ole Miss baseball has a 17-1 record. I took a look the schedule prior to the season and made a few predictions. Of course, I’ll be the first to admit they have exceeded my expectations. I had them picked to be 15-3 at this point in the season.
This group of sophomores who were thrown into the fire last season have stepped up and made a difference. Lead-off hitter Grae Kessinger has surged ahead in the spot and handled the duty very well. Of course, we’ve seen the power of Thomas Dillard come on this season as well. Now that we’ve seen the resurgence of Ryan Olenek and Will Golsan we can expect the second section of the season to be really good.
Of course, the second third of the schedule gets much tougher for Ole Miss baseball this season. The Rebels will kickoff the SEC portion of the season with a weekend series at home against Tennessee this weekend. First pitch for game-one is set for Friday at 7pm CT and the game will be televised on SEC Network+. Good luck to coach Mike Bianco and the Rebels. Hotty Toddy!