OXFORD, Miss. –Bobby Wahl turned in a career day as he worked 7.0 innings of scoreless ball, holding the Seahawks to one hit and striking out nine batters as No. 20 Ole Miss (3-1) defeated UNC-Wilmington (2-3) by a score of 2-0 on Friday.
Wahl (2-0) picked up the win in the series opener tuning in a career-high in both innings pitched and strikeouts. He walked only two and allowed only one hit in his time on the mound. Brett Huber picked up his second save of the season and moved into a tie with Scott Bittle on the career save list with 18 saves in his time as a Rebel.
Mat Batts (0-1) suffered the loss for the Seahawks, allowing two runs on seven hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in 7.0 innings of work. Only one of the two runs was earned.
“Bobby (Wahl) was tremendous and pitched much more like we think he is capable of pitching week in and week out,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “He was aggressive in the zone. He felt comfortable out there and really settled in.
“You have to credit UNC-Wilmington because while the only had two hits there were times where they did things with base running that gave them the chance to score,” Bianco said. “Offensively, numbers-wise it wasn’t a great day for us. We didn’t have timely hits with runners in scoring position. Their pitcher did a great job like he did last week for them. He is a tough left-hander who located balls very well. I thought we had some good at bats.”
It looked like it might be a day with lots of offense early as both teams threatened in early innings only to have the pitching staffs for both squads settle in and limit the chances for each offense.
Ole Miss struck first, pushing a single run across the plate in the third inning when Alex Yarbrough came up with a single to shallow center that scored Tanner Mathis from second. Mathis reached on a single up the middle two batters earlier and stole second to set up the score on the Yarbrough hit.
The one run would have gotten the job done for the Rebels, who rode solid pitching performances from Wahl, Dylan Chavez and Huber all day. The trio of hurlers allowed only two hits on the afternoon and combined for 11 strikeouts and only two walks as Ole Miss limited thwarted the Seahawks with pitching and solid defense.
The Rebels got an insurance run in the seventh inning, pushing the lead to the final margin of victory of 2-0 on a single to right from Auston Bousfield. Tanner Mathis scored on the play for his second run of the day. Mathis reached on an error at second that went through the legs of the fielder and into right field. The Rebel lead-off hitter kept running on the play, advancing to second and sliding in safely ahead of the throw from right to set up the score on the Bousfield single.
Chavez and Huber then worked a scoreless eighth and ninth to give the Rebels the win in the series opener.
Ole Miss and UNC-Wilmington will play the second game of the series on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
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