OXFORD, Miss. –Matt Crouse turned in a career-night for the Rebels on Friday, pitching a complete-game shutout with a career-high nine strikeouts as Ole Miss (11-4) defeated Lipscomb (7-7) by a score of 8-0 to pick up a win in the series opener.
The junior left-hander handcuffed the Bison all night, allowing only four hits in his 9.0 innings of work. Crouse (4-0) struck out nine and walked only one – only the second walk of the season for the southpaw who now has 22 strikeouts and two walks this year.
The last complete-game shutout for the Rebels came on April 5, 2009, when Scott Bittle and the Rebels defeated Kentucky by a score of 8-0 in the final game of the series for the sweep of the Wildcats.
Richie Goodenow (0-3) suffered the loss for Lipscomb, allowing six runs on eight hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts in 7.0 innings of work.
“Matt Crouse was really sharp tonight,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “Lipscomb was very aggressive at the plate against him and he made some pitches and we were able to make some plays behind him early. He notched a career-high in strikeouts, and anytime you get a shutout it’s a good thing. That was a great game by him.
“Blake Newalu had a great night at the plate for us and Miles Hamblin had some really tough at bats,” Bianco said. “Collectively, we were much better tonight and gave ourselves something to build on.”
It was a defensive struggle early as the two teams sent very few men to the plate in the opening innings and neither team could find a way to get that first run on the board.
Ole Miss struck first when Tanner Mathis drew a bases loaded walk in the fifth inning to get the Rebels their first run, and the momentum swung the way of the home team from there. Alex Yarbrough drove in two more runs with a double down the left field line to put Ole Miss up by three before a groundout from Matt Smith and a Matt Snyder single gave the Rebels the 5-0 lead.
A sac fly from Yarbrough in the seventh inning put Ole Miss on top by six runs as Newalu crossed the plate on the fly ball to center field. Newalu singled before moving to second on a sac bunt from Mathis. The speedy shortstop then stole third to set up the score on the Yarbrough fly out.
Ole Miss pushed the final two runs of the night home in the eighth inning when a Hamblin double to left center scored Matt Tracy and Jordan King.
The Rebels and Lipscomb will take the field for the second game of the series at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
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