MONROE, La. –Jake Overbey delivered a big two-out, two-RBI double in the eighth inning to give the Rebels some wiggle room as No. 6 Ole Miss (18-1) defeated ULM (8-9) by a score of 8-3 to close out a midweek series.
With the win, the Rebels tied the best start to a season in the Bianco era, matching the 18-1 start set by the 2004 squad.
Stuart Turner and Austin Anderson extended their hit streaks to 14 and 13 games, respectively. Turner went 3-for-5 with two runs scored, while Anderson went 1-for-3 with two walks. Jake Overbey made the most of his one at-bat, fighting back from an 0-2 count to deliver the two-RBI double that took the game from a one-run contest in the eighth and put it comfortably in the hands of the Rebels.
“It was good that Jake was able to extend the lead for us,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “It’s always nice when someone can come off the bench and provide a big hit for the team, but it’s nice that it was him because no one deserves it more than Jake did.
“I’m also proud of the way our bullpen handled things,” Bianco said. “It may not have always been how you draw it up, with guys pitching in a one-run game, but they handled the pressure well until we extended the lead. Brady Bramlett also had a good night for us in the start.”
Bramlett (3-0) picked up the win, working 5.0 innings and striking out a season-high nine batters. He allowed two runs on three hits with three walks.
Jared Dye (1-2) suffered the loss for the Warhawks as he allowed four runs – three of them earned – on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
The Warhawks struck first in the Wednesday night contest, pushing home a run in the first inning on a groundout to short from Justin Stawychny. ULM got off to a good start with a walk and a double to open the home half of the first before Bramlett would get a strikeout for the first out. The Stawychny grounder gave Ole Miss the second out, but put a run on the board for the Warhawks as the Rebels traded the out for the run.
ULM added a second run in the inning on a wild pitch before Bramlett would coax another groundout to end the inning with the Rebels trailing 2-0.
Ole Miss erased the deficit in the second inning with three straight hits to open the frame. A single from Turner and a double to the wall in right from Mistone put two men in scoring position before Sikes Orvis singled up the middle to bring them both home. The Rebels would go on to load the bases, but were unable to get another run home as ULM squashed the rally with three consecutive outs.
Ole Miss moved in front in the third inning on back-to-back hits from Turner and Mistone for the second consecutive inning. Turner came up with a one-out single before Mistone doubled to right center, allowing Turner to score from first. The Rebel third baseman was thrown out at third trying to stretch the hit into a triple for the second out. ULM would strike out the next Rebel batter to end the inning, but Ole Miss held the 3-2 lead.
The Rebels extended the lead to two runs in the fifth inning on an RBI single up the middle from Austin Anderson. Auston Bousfield reached on a fielding error in the previous at bat, sending a fly ball to shallow left center that was dropped, allowing him to reach and take second on the play to set up the RBI hit for Anderson.
The Warhawks cut the lead to one in the sixth inning when Logan Fiasco successfully lay down a sac bunt to bring home Chris Dudley. Dudley reached on a single up the middle and then went first to third on a single to left field in the next at bat to set up the score on the Fiasco bunt.
The Warhawks threatened again in the seventh, getting a man to third with one out. The Rebels squashed the rally with a foul fly snagged by Turner against the backstop and a groundball to short to strand the runner and keep Ole Miss in front 4-3.
Ole Miss responded with a successful two-out rally in the eighth on a two-RBI double to the wall in right center from the younger Overbey that put the Rebels on top 6-3. Tanner Mathis extended the lead with a single to right to bring Overbey home and Ole Miss was on top by four runs after the top of the eighth.
The Rebels added a final run in the ninth inning when Mistone hit into a fielder’s choice that brought Anderson home from third. Anderson reached on a walk before moving to third on a single up the middle from Turner to get into scoring position for Mistone. The run provided the Rebels with the 8-3 final margin of victory.
Ole Miss will continue play on the road this weekend with a three-game set at No. 11 Arkansas to open Southeastern Conference play. Friday night’s opener will begin at 6:35 p.m. at Baum Stadium.
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