OXFORD, Miss. – The Rebel bats got going early with a six-run first inning as Ole Miss (9-1) exploded out of the gates to defeat Austin Peay (4-2) by a score of 11-3 on Wednesday night at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
Matt Snyder paced the Rebel offense on the night, going 2-for-2 with a three-run home run and four RBI. The junior also drew two walks on the night. Tanner Mathis was also solid at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a run scored, while Taylor Hightower also came up with a three-RBI double as a part of the big first inning.
Alex Belew (1-1) suffered the loss for the Governors as he allowed eight runs – three earned – on seven hits with three walks in 2.0 innings of work.
“I am happy with how the game turned out,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We started a freshman on the mound and he faced some adversity early on. Then three guys who have never pitched a college game finished up for us. They all did a terrific job.
“This was our cleanest game of the year and we played very well,” Bianco said. “Matt Synder continues to swing well. Tulane poses our biggest challenge of the year so far (this coming weekend). Their pitching is outstanding and they are always a team that is in the running and in the post season.”
Austin Peay struck first for the second night in a row, scoring two runs in the first inning on a single and a sac fly after opening the game with a pair of hits to put two men in scoring position.
The Rebels answered in the bottom of the frame, pushing six runs across the plate on the way to the win.
Ole Miss got things started with a fielding error at third on a grounder from Alex Yarbrough. Yarbrough then took second on a wild pitch before stealing third. Matt Smith walked to put two men on before another wild pitch allowed Yarbrough to score. Smith stole second and then scored on a double from Snyder.
Preston Overbey and Matt Tracy both drew walks to load the bases before Hightower came up with the bases clearing double to put the Rebels on top 5-2. The Rebel catcher scored a batter later on a single to center from Blake Newalu and Ole Miss held the 6-2 advantage after an inning of play.
The Rebels added two more runs in the second inning on a Tracy single that pushed Overbey and Jordan King home and gave Ole Miss an 8-2 lead.
Austin Peay struck back in the fifth when Michael Blanchard scored from third on a groundout to second from Rolando Gautier. Blanchard walked before moving to third on a pair of wild pitches.
Ole Miss grabbed the final margin of victory of 11-3 off a three-run shot from Matt Snyder in the bottom of the fifth that scored Mathis and Yarbrough. Mathis opened the inning with a single and Yarbrough was hit by a pitch to put the two runners on for the Snyder home run.
Ole Miss will return to action this weekend with a three-game series against the Tulane Green Wave. The Rebels and Tulane will play the first game of the series at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night at O-U Stadium/Swayze Field.
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