Big First Inning Lifts Ole Miss to Game One Win, 4-1
April 28, 2017

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In game one of Friday’s doubleheader, the Ole Miss baseball team batted around and scored four runs in the opening inning. That’s all the Rebels (27-16, 11-9 SEC) needed as their pitching limited No. 10 Arkansas to five hits in a 4-1 win Friday afternoon at Baum Stadium. The victory clinched a conference series over the Razorbacks (33-13, 12-9) for the fifth time in the last six seasons.

Reigning SEC Freshman of the Week Ryan Rolison (6-2) matched his career high with 6.0 innings of work, allowing only one run on four hits to earn his second win in as many starts. Out of the bullpen, the duo of Will Ethridge and Dallas Woolfolk (9) pitched the final three frames to keep the game in favor of Ole Miss. Ethridge continued his streak of effective outings with 1.1 scoreless innings, while Woolfolk recorded the final five outs to collect another save.

Tate Blackman and Nick Fortes produced multi-hit games to pace the Ole Miss bats. A two-RBI double by Fortes in the first ended up being the game-winning hit. The bottom of the lineup chipped in the three hits among Kyle Watson, Cooper Johnson and Grae Kessinger. Towards the top of the order, Colby Bortles and Will Golsan added one hit and one run apiece.

For the second straight game, the only run Arkansas got off Ole Miss pitching came via a solo home run. Grant Koch went deep for the Razorbacks, while left fielder Luke Bonfield went 2-for-4. The Rebels scored all four of their runs off starter Trevor Stephan (4-3), but he rebounded to finish 6.0 innings.

Ole Miss jumped on the Razorbacks right from the start, sending 10 hitters to the plate to score four runs in the first. Blackman led off the game with a single to left and advanced into scoring position after Golsan was hit by a pitch. Another base hit to left field, this time by Bortles, brought Blackman home for the game’s first run. Ryan Olenek moved both runners up 90 feet with a sacrifice bunt, and Fortes knocked in both Rebels with a double down the left field line. Johnson nearly doubled down the line as well, but a diving stop by the Arkansas third baseman prevented the extra-base hit. Nonetheless, the sharply-hit ball was enough for an infield single that allowed another run to cross the dish. After 40 pitches during the 26-minute half inning, the Rebels led comfortably 4-0.

Stephan settled down to keep Ole Miss off the scoreboard, but Rolison pitched the first four innings without allowing a run. After retiring nine straight hitters, the southpaw gave up a solo homer to Koch with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Watson went back to the wall, but the ball barely sailed over his outstretched glove. Despite Arkansas scoring via the long ball, Rolison wasn’t rattled as he sent down back-to-back Razorbacks. Through five complete, Ole Miss remained on top 4-1.

Arkansas tried to cut into the Rebels’ advantage by putting two Razorbacks on base with one out in the sixth. However, Rolison remained calm by striking out back-to-back hitters to end the threat and put an exclamation point on another victorious quality start.

Ole Miss turned the game over to its bullpen for the final three innings as Ethridge and Woolfolk completed the job. The Razorbacks were only able to get two runners on base over that stretch, but the Rebel relievers made sure there was no threat to the 4-1 victory.

The two-hour, 58-minute contest set first pitch of game two for 3:40 p.m. CT. For in-game updates of that contest, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissBSB.

Quick Hits

  • Ole Miss improved to 14-9 against ranked teams this season, collecting its sixth win over a top 10 team.
  • The Rebels won their second three-game series over a top 10 team in 2017.
  • Ole Miss has now won five of the past six SEC series against Arkansas, including five straight games.
  • The Rebels sent 10 hitters to the plate in the first inning, leading to four runs.
  • Reigning SEC Freshman of the Week Ryan Rolison tied a career high with 6.0 innings of work, giving up only one run on four hits and a walk.
  • Arkansas’ home run in the fifth snapped Rolison’s streak of 10.1 straight innings without allowing a run.
  • For the second straight game, Will Ethridge pitched in relief; he tossed 1.1 scoreless innings and now has not allowed an earned run over his last nine appearances (14.0 innings).
  • Dallas Woolfolk pitched 1.2 scoreless innings to earn his ninth save of the season; five of Woolfolk’s nine saves have been after recording at least four outs.
  • Ole Miss improved to 22-1 this season when scoring at least four runs.






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