OXFORD, Miss. – For the fifth time in the last eight games the Rebel pitching staff tossed a shutout as Ole Miss (16-6) defeated Samford (15-8) by a score of 3-0 on Tuesday night at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
Matt Smith hit a two-run home run to get the Rebels on the board in the first and the Rebels added a third run in the sixth inning to give the pitching staff all the lead it needed to pick up the win.
Matt Tracy (3-1) grabbed the win as he worked 5.0 innings with four walks and six strikeouts and allowed only four hits. Brett Huber picked up his third save of the season, holding the Bulldogs hitless after entering the game in the eighth with two men on and no outs. Huber struck out two batters and walked none in the outing.
Joshua VanFleteren (2-2) suffered the loss for the Bulldogs after allowing two runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 3.2 innings of work.
“It was an all-around great game for us,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “Matt Smith had a big home run tonight. Offensively, they did not give us a whole lot, but we did enough to win. They pitched well and you can tell why their team ERA is 2.7. It was good to see some of the guys who haven’t pitched in a while like Bobby Wall and R.J. Hively. They did an excellent job and they all look healthy.”
The Rebels got things started in the first inning with the Smith home run that scored Blake Newalu for the 2-0 lead. Newalu, who was hitting second in the lineup, reached when he was hit by a pitch in the at bat prior to Smith coming to the plate. Smith then took the ball over the fence in center field to get the Rebels on the board.
Ole Miss added its third run in the sixth inning when Eric Sauls scored on a single through the right side from Tanner Mathis. Sauls came up with a two-out double to set up the score on the Mathis hit that gave the Rebels the 3-0 lead.
The pitching staff continued to do its job from there, holding Samford off the board to pick up the shutout win.
Ole Miss returns to action this weekend with a three-game series at Tennessee beginning at 5:00 p.m. CT on Friday night. Saturday’s game has been moved to a 2 p.m. CT start to accommodate television as SportSouth will carry the final two games of the weekend. Sunday’s game remains at 1 p.m. CT.
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