No. 8 Ole Miss Clinches Series with No. 6 Pirates
Feb. 18, 2017

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OXFORD, Miss.
- The No. 8 Ole Miss baseball team used two clutch late-inning hits as well as masterful relief pitching to claim a 3-2 victory No. 6 over East Carolina at Swayze Field on Saturday afternoon. After trailing 2-0, the Rebels (2-0) scored one run in the sixth and two in the seventh to take the lead for good and clinch the series versus the top-10 program.

The Rebel bullpen turned in a solid performance, allowing just two baserunners over 4.2 scoreless innings. Andy Pagnozzi (1-0), a 2016 Freshman All-American, made his 2017 debut and earned the win with 2.2 scoreless frames. The sophomore recorded eight outs over seven batters, which included forcing a pair of double plays. Another sophomore, Dallas Woolfolk, appeared for the first time this season and struck out two of the three batters he faced for a perfect inning of work. For the second-straight game, Will Stokes (2) earned the save by tossing a scoreless ninth inning.

Ryan Olenek and Will Golsan continued their hot starts to the season, recording two hits apiece at the top of the Ole Miss lineup. Golsan delivered the game-tying double in the seventh before scoring the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Colby Bortles. The senior third baseman, Bortles, drove in two of the team's three runs, including a solo blast in the sixth for the 18th home run of his career.

For ECU (0-2), starting pitcher Jacob Wolfe pitched 5.0 scoreless frames. The Pirates mustered just five hits on the offensive side, with Luke Bolka's homer the only one that went for extra bases.

The Ole Miss bats were quiet for the first five innings of the afternoon contest, leaving the task of keeping the game within reach on the shoulders of the Rebel pitchers. Sophomore right hander James McArthur got the nod after a freshman campaign that saw him earning Freshman All-America honors and being the number three starter towards the end of the season.

McArthur's day started off smoothly through the first 1.2 innings as he struck out two while only giving up one hit. However, East Carolina snatched a run off the tall righty when Bolka blasted a solo home run to left field, making it a 1-0 ballgame.

McArthur went on to retire six of the next seven Pirate batters he faced. However, the fifth inning proved to be the end of the road for the Rebel starter when a walk, single and two hit batters brought a run across the plate.

With the bases loaded and one out, Pagnozzi entered the contest to try and get the Rebels out of the jam. The Fayetteville, Arkansas, native did just that, inducing an inning-ending groundball double play to keep the game within reach, 2-0.

Pagnozzi continued his dominance, adding an impressive double play in the sixth inning. The sophomore caught a line drive hit right back at him before tossing over to first to complete the turn. He followed the web gem with his first strikeout of 2017 to end the frame.

The Rebels finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth after Wolfe was relieved by sophomore Sam Lanier (0-1) to start the frame. Bortles led off the inning by blasting a solo home run to left field on a ball that looked like it was going left of the foul poll. However, the ball worked its way back into fair territory to put Ole Miss on the board, cutting the ECU lead to just one.

Pagnozzi made quick work of ECU in the seventh, sending the Pirates down in order while recording two strikeouts. As the momentum shifted, the Rebel bats found life again against Lanier. A leadoff single by Olenek followed by a Golsan double down the left field line tied the game at 2-2. On the next at-bat, Golsan moved over to third on a wild pitch, putting the go-ahead run 90 feet away with one out for Bortles. The team captain displayed his leadership with a sacrifice fly to center field that gave Ole Miss its first lead of the game, 3-2.

The Ole Miss lead was preserved by two hard-throwing right handers. Woolfolk retired the side in order in the eighth, while striking out two ECU batters in his season debut. As the closer, Stokes followed his second save of 2017 in as many tries to secure a series win for the Rebels.

The weekend series will conclude with Ole Miss looking for a series sweep tomorrow, February 19. Redshirt-sophomore Brady Feigl will get the ball and make his first career start as a Rebel after spending the 2016 campain as a Freshman All-American reliever. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m., and fans can catch the action on SEC Network+.

Quick Hits

  • Sophomore Ryan Olenek led off the Rebel lineup for the first time in his career and posting his second multi-hit game in as many days.
  • Sophomore Andy Pagnozzi made his first appearance of 2017, facing seven batters and registering eight outs to earn the victory.
  • Freshman Bryce Blaum made his Ole Miss debut pinch running for Chase Cockrell in the seventh inning.
  • Senior Colby Bortles recorded his first hit of 2017 with a solo home run to left in the sixth; the homer was the 18th in Bortles' career.
  • Freshman Cooper Johnson recorded the first hit of his Ole Miss career with a single to right in the sixth.
  • Freshman Thomas Dillard posted the first multi-hit game of his career.
  • The crowd of 11,494 was the third-largest in Swayze Field history.
  • The win clinched the 13th time that the Rebels have won the season-opening weekend series under head coach Mike Bianco.

 

 

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