OXFORD, Miss. - The Rebel offense exploded for a big first inning and the pitching staff held the Lions in check down the stretch as No. 7 Ole Miss (13-1) defeated Southeastern Louisiana (8-4) by a score of 6-2 on Wednesday at Swayze Field.
The Rebels put up five runs in the first inning and five Ole Miss pitchers limited the Lions' scoring chances throughout the day in front of a raucous crowd of school children at the program's inaugural School Day game.
Brady Bramlett (2-0) picked up the win, allowing one run on five hits with four walks and two strikeouts through 5.0 innings of work. Bramlett and three other pitchers (Austin Blunt, Scott Weathersby and Aaron Greenwood) came up with the big pitches when needed to limit scoring opportunities for Southeastern Louisiana throughout the afternoon.
Tanner Bailey then picked up his second save of the season, facing one batter in the ninth inning and recording a strikeout with the bases loaded and two outs.
Kaleb Manuel (0-1) suffered the loss for Southeastern Louisiana, allowing five runs - four earned - on four hits and recorded only one out before the Lions turned to the bullpen.
"I'm certainly happy that we won, but disappointed because I didn't think we played very well today," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "The theme of the game was that we did just enough. We pitched just enough, we hit just enough; we defended just enough to win. You're trying to get better every day, and I just didn't think we played very well today even though we played well enough to win."
The scoring barrage in the first inning propelled the Rebels to victory as Ole Miss sent 10 men to the plate in a 41 minute first inning.
It started with a single up the middle from Auston Bousfield and a single from Austin Anderson that set up an RBI single from Stuart Turner to get the Rebels on the board. A fielding error at second on a ground ball from Andrew Mistone allowed Turner to advance safely while Anderson scored and the Rebels held a 2-0 lead.
Sikes Orvis and Will Allen followed it up with RBI singles before Will Jamison doubled off the wall in right field to drive in the Rebels' fifth run of the inning. Southeastern Louisiana would then get a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning, but Ole Miss held the 5-0 lead.
The Rebels added the sixth run in the fourth inning on another RBI single from Turner that brought Bousfield home. The Ole Miss centerfielder reached on a walk to open the inning and went first to third on a throwing error from the Lions' first baseman off a ground ball down the first base line.
The Southeastern Louisiana fielder scooped a ground ball from Anderson and turned to throw to second in an attempt for a double play - or to at least get the lead runner - and instead threw the ball into left field, allowing Bousfield to advance two bases safely and set up the run on the Turner hit.
The Lions would cut into the lead with a single run in both the fifth and sixth innings, but the Rebel pitching staff limited the damage each inning and kept the offense in check until Southeastern Louisiana loaded the bases in the ninth.
Bailey then recorded the strikeout to preserve the win for the Rebels.
Ole Miss will return to action on Friday, opening a three-game series against the Lipscomb Bisons at 6:30 p.m. at Swayze Field.
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