OXFORD, Miss. –Matt Tracy was huge at the plate for the Rebels on Friday night, going 2-for-4 with four RBI and a home run as the senior helped power No. 28 Ole Miss (10-1) to a series opening win over Tulane (7-3) by a score of 5-1.
Junior left-hander Matt Crouse (3-0) picked up his third straight win this season as he worked 5.0 innings and allowed one run on five hits with no walks and two strikeouts. Crouse left the game following a rain delay that lasted just under an hour.
Senior right-hander Jake Morgan then closed out the game to pick up his fourth save of the year. Morgan worked a career-long 4.0 innings as a reliever, holding the Green Wave scoreless on two hits with two strikeouts.
Conrad Flynn (0-2) suffered the loss for Tulane as he allowed three runs on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
“That was a great college baseball game,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “Matt Crouse did a great job and really stepped it up. You have to tip your hat to Tulane. They had some great at bats. Matt Tracy was superb tonight with the bat and the glove. His at bat in the eighth inning was great because they got two strikes on him and he was able to settle in, battle, and get a timely hit. Tulane is a good, preseason top-25 team, and we know we have to battle hard to get a win against them.”
Ole Miss struck first, pushing three runs across the plate in the first inning as part of a two-out rally. Matt Smith singled before scoring on a double down the left field line from Matt Snyder. Tracy then hit a two-run shot over the bullpen in left field to put the Rebels on top 3-0.
Tulane answered in the fourth, plating a run when Jeremy Schaffer scored on a double from Nick Schneeberger. Schaffer doubled with one out before scoring on the Schneeberger hit two batters later to cut the lead to 3-1.
With a 2-1 count on Brandon Boudreaux in the fifth, the bottom fell out of the sky and the game went into a rain delay that lasted an hour. When the two teams returned to action, Morgan had taken the mound for the Rebels and got the home team out of the inning.
The Rebels pushed the lead to four runs in the eighth when Tracy again came up with a big hit that scored Miles Hamblin and Smith. Hamblin opened the inning with a single before a Smith double put both men in scoring position. With two outs on the board later in the inning, Tracy fought off an 0-2 count to come up with a big single to right that scored both runners and gave the Rebels the final margin of victory.
Ole Miss and Tulane will return to action on Saturday when the teams play the second game of the series at noon at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
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