OXFORD, Miss. – For the second straight game, the Rebel pitching staff pitched a shutout and the offense went to work early as No. 14 Ole Miss (12-2) clinched the weekend series with Houston (6-8) with a 9-0 victory on Saturday.
The Rebels defeated Houston 8-0 on Friday night to open the weekend series. Ole Miss will go for the series sweep on Sunday in a game set to start at noon at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
R.J. Hively (3-0) picked up the win for the Rebels as he worked 6.0 innings and tied his career high for strikeouts with nine. He allowed two walks and four hits in his time on the mound. Blair Wright and Jon Andy Scott closed out the final 3.0 innings of the game, holding the Cougars to two hits down the stretch.
Jordan Lewis (2-2) suffered the loss for Houston, allowing seven runs – six of them earned – on eight hits in 2.1 innings of work. The left-hander walked two and struck out one in his time on the mound.
“We played really well again today” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “R.J. (Hively) had to work and compete the first three innings. They got a couple base-hits and had runners in scoring position, but he did what we have talked about since the beginning of the season. Sometimes as the pitcher you have to take things into your own hands and make pitches to get out of innings and he did that the first three innings. Then he got a lot sharper and started to strike some people out.
“It was nice to score in the first,” Bianco said. “The offense always seems like they are ready coming out of the gates. It was another cleanly played defensive game by us. The team is playing with confidence and they deserve this. We have played well.”
Ole Miss got off to a quick start, scoring in the first inning for the third straight game. The Rebels got two runs in the first frame thanks to a triple from Alex Yarbrough that scored Auston Bousfield and a single from Matt Snyder that brought Yarbrough home.
The Rebels continued to build on the lead in the third inning, batting around and sending 10 men to the plate on the way to a five-run inning. The first eight batters reached base as a part of the rally with the Rebels scoring on Snyder, Preston Overbey, Blake Newalu and a sac fly from Bousfield on the way to the 7-0 lead.
Ole Miss capped its scoring in the sixth inning with two more runs on the way to the final 9-0 margin of victory. Back-to-back singles from Snyder and Andrew Mistone got the inning started before the two upperclassmen would score. Snyder came home on a single to left from Senquez Golson, before Mistone scored two batters later on a ground ball to short from Blake Newalu.
The Rebels tallied 15 hits on the afternoon with nine batters tallying hits in the outing. Snyder led the way for Ole Miss with a 4-for-4 performance at the plate, driving in two runs and scoring two runs.
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