No. 9 Rebels Topple Winthrop, 8-1, to Clinch Series
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SIDEBAR: Clutch Hitting Drives Rebels in Game 2
OXFORD, Miss. - The Rebels found consistency behind the arm of Brady Feigl, and the offense didn't let up as it poured eight runs on Winthrop (0-2) to down the Eagles 8-1 and give Ole Miss (2-0) its seventh consecutive season with an opening series victory.
Head Coach Mike Bianco went with Feigl to draw the opening Saturday start, and he didn't disappoint, going six full innings without a run allowed as well as six strikeouts. Though shaky at times, Feigl earned the victory and held the Eagles without a score before turning the ball over in the seventh inning.
The Rebels also made significant changes across the diamond in comparing today's lineup with yesterday's. Chase Cockrell, Tim Elko, and Cole Zabowski earned their first starts of the year, at DH, third base, and first base, respectively, while Ryan Olenek moved in from the outfield to take over at second. Nick Fortes moved from first to behind the plate to give fellow catcher Cooper Johnson a rest, and Tim Rowe filled the gap in right field.
At the plate, it was Zabowski who got the Rebels started in his first appearance of the new year. Drawing the start at first base, Zabowski plated the team's first three runs of the game in the second inning with a moon shot over the right field wall. His three-run home run was his first since opening weekend of last year, and the second on the season for the Rebels.
Will Golsan kept things alive in the second with an RBI single that would keep the game at 4-0 until the sixth inning. His RBI single with two outs was one of six runs that the Rebels scored with two outs on the day, to go along with the four runs scored with two outs in yesterday's game.
It was Chase Cockrell, however, who led the Rebels in hits, going 3-for-3 on the day with a double and two singles. His two-out double in the sixth jumpstarted the Rebel bats after a four-inning hiatus of nothing doing, and Zabowski earned his fourth RBI on the day by scoring Cockrell from second.
The sixth wasn't over, however, as Tim Elko found his first hit in a Rebel uniform land in right field, resulting in a Winthrop error that scored another and moved Elko to third.
Michael Spears was another Rebel to hear his name called for the first time tonight. Spears, pinch hitting for Tim Rowe in the seventh, plated Fortes with two outs on a double down the right field line, meaning his first at bat resulted in both his first hit and RBI.
Elko also etched his name in the stat book with his first career RBI in the eighth, coming on a deep fly ball to left that nearly left the stadium, scoring Carl Gindl on a sacrifice fly.
On the mound, following Feigl's departure before the seventh, sophomore Greer Holston earned his first relief appearance of the year, working his way out of a jam en route to his 2.0 IP without an earned run allowed, to go along with two strikeouts.
For the final inning, Bianco turned to redshirt-junior Parker Caracci, making his first appearance in a Rebel uniform in his third year with the program. Caracci recorded two strikeouts as the two first outs of his career, and shut down the Eagles to secure the 8-1 victory.
Ole Miss improves to 2-0 on the year, and will be going for the sweep against Winthrop Sunday at 12:30 to ensure the Rebels' third consecutive year with a season-opening sweep.
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