OXFORD, Miss. – Freshman right-hander Chris Ellis came on in relief and posted 3.0 hitless innings of shutout baseball to help No. 20 Ole Miss (5-1) rally as the Rebels defeated UNC-Wilmington (2-5) by a score of 10-5 on Sunday to sweep the weekend series.
Ellis (1-0) entered the game in the sixth inning with the score tied at five and a man on first with no outs. The right hander retired the next three batters to get the Rebels out of the inning on the way to 3.0 innings of scoreless baseball, allowing Ole Miss the chance to rally for the win to give the Rebels the sweep.
It was the first win of the season for Ellis, who was making his second appearance of the season.
Tyler McSwain (0-2) took the loss for the Seahawks as he allowed two runs on three hits in 1.0 inning of work. McSwain entered the game in the sixth with the score tied at five before giving up RBI hits to Matt Snyder and Will Allen to put Ole Miss on top for good.
“Today we had a much better offensive day with a lot of quality at-bats,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We scored four early and then there were a couple zeros up on the board then I thought we battled back strong. Mike Mayers was terrific. Baseball is a crazy game where one minute you have a no-hitter going then you blink and they have five runs.
“You have to credit UNC-Wilmington,” Bianco said. “Some balls fell in and they got some breaks. They could have easily packed in up after we scored our first four runs but they didn’t. That is why they are here. They are a good program and Coach Scalf does such a good job there.”
Ole Miss got off to a quick start for the second straight game, pushing four runs across the plate in the first inning. Tanner Mathis and Auston Bousfield opened things up with a walk and a hit by pitch before Matt Snyder came up with a single to left center to score Mathis and leave men at the corners. Bousfield scored on a single to right from Andrew Mistone before Zach Kirksey came up with a two-RBI double to left to center and Ole Miss grabbed the 4-0 lead.
The Rebels cruised through the first four innings with starter Mike Mayers retiring the first 11 batters faced and 12 of the first 13 batters to come to the plate. UNC-Wilmington put together a big rally in the fifth inning, though, pushing five runs across the plate to take the lead for the first time all weekend.
Back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases to start things off in the Seahawk half of the fifth. Drew Farber then hit a two-RBI single to right to get Wilmington on the board and cut the lead in half. A single from Jake Koenig in the next at bat trimmed the lead to one. One out later, pinch hitter Sean Buchanan hit a two-RBI double to left to put the Seahawks on top 5-4.
Mayers would retire the next two batters to get the Rebels out of the inning.
Ole Miss tied things up in the bottom half of the fifth when Allen came up with an RBI single up the middle to score Snyder.
The Rebels then snatched the lead back in the sixth inning with a two-out rally. Tanner Mathis reached to open the inning before moving to third on back-to-back groundouts by the next two batters. Snyder then belted out a double to the wall in left center to score Mathis and put Ole Miss on top. Mistone reached in the next at bat when he was hit by a pitch before Allen came up with his second RBI hit of the day to score Snyder and give the Rebels the 7-5 lead.
Ole Miss would add a single run in the seventh off a sac fly from Senquez Golson before plating two more runs in the eighth off an Alex Yarbrough home run and an RBI double from Kirksey.
The Rebels will return to action on Tuesday afternoon with the first of a pair of midweek games. Ole Miss will host Memphis at 3 p.m. on Tuesday before taking the field again on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. to face Jackson State.
Wednesday’s game against the Tigers of Jackson State will be Fan Appreciation Day. All fans will be admitted free of charge and those with seats in the Diamond Club need only present a ticket from a previous game to gain admission to the club seats.
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