Baseball Gives Bianco Birthday Victory
May 3, 2017

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OXFORD, Miss.
 –  Behind six shutdown innings by redshirt-senior Sean Johnson, the Ole Miss baseball team made sure head coach Mike Bianco went home happy on his birthday with a 5-3 victory over ULM Wednesday afternoon at Swayze Field. The Rebels (29-17) used a four-run sixth to break a scoreless tie and complete the midweek sweep of the Warhawks (12-34).

Johnson (1-0), one of two seniors on the team, took a no-hitter into the seventh inning to earn his first win of the season. The Durango, Colorado, native finished with a career-high six strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work, which also matched a personal best in a Rebel uniform. Closer Dallas Woolfolk (10) finished the game to earn his 11th career save and move into the top 10 of the Ole Miss all-time saves list.

Sophomore catcher Nick Fortes, Will Golsan and Cole Zabowski tallied two hits apiece to lead the way. Fortes went 2-for-4 with two runs and one RBI, blasting his third home run over the past two days. Golsan produced his team-high 16th multi-hit game of the year, while Zabowski contributed a pair of singles at the bottom of the lineup. Colby Bortles put the game’s first runs on the board with a two-run homer, his team-leading ninth of the season.

Six different Warhawks recorded hits, included Tyler Cox who hit a two-run homer. ULM starter Stephen Morrison (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks through 5.0 innings.

Each team struggled to get on base in the opening frame, but the Rebels were first to get the bats going with a pair of singles in the second inning from Bryan Seamster and Zabowski. Morrison worked to leave the two stranded as he forced a flyout from shortstop Grae Kessinger to get out of the inning. 

Johnson continued to deal with the help of his defense working a double play to keep ULM off the bases. The battle of the pitchers continued into the fifth as Johnson only needed seven pitches to work out of the inning. ULM's Morrison responded leaving Kessinger stranded after the Ole Miss freshman’s hard-hit double down the right field line. 

Johnson returned to the mound for the sixth and struck out two as part of a 1-2-3 inning, allowing the Rebs to take the plate where they went to work. Golsan led things off with a single to right field and, after advancing to second on a wild pitch, scored on Bortles’ two-run shot to left field. Following the homer, ULM went to its bullpen, but Ole Miss kept it coming as with three singles in-a-row from Fortes, designated hitter Tim Rowe and center fielder Kyle Watson. With the bases loaded, Seamster flied out to pick up an RBI, and Zabowski ripped a single to bring in Rowe. The big inning left Ole Miss ahead 4-0 through six. 

Johnson entered the seventh facing 21 batters without allowing a hit, and after a single by ULM catcher Spencer Hemphill, the senior’s day ended along with his no-hit bid. Redshirt-sophomore Brady Feigl took the mound, but ULM’s Tyler Cox homered to left center. With the Warhawks on the board, Feigl responded with a strikeout to keep his team up 4-2.

In the bottom of the seventh, Fortes got a run back for the Diamond Rebels with his third home run of the series to move the lead to 5-2.

Freshman Will Ethridge was sent to the hill for the eighth where he found himself with the bases loaded and one out. The Warhawks were able to find one run, the result of a sacrifice fly, but Ethridge left it there as he worked out of the inning by leaving two stranded. Woolfolk entered the game in the ninth for Ole Miss, facing only four batters to secure the Rebels’ second win of the week.  

Ole Miss will travel to Gainesville to face No. 5 Florida in SEC play this weekend (May 12-14). The series begins with the Friday night’s first pitch at 5:30 p.m. CT. Game two will begin at 5:30 p.m. as well, while the series finale will take place Sunday afternoon with a 1 p.m. start on SEC Network. All three games can be heard on the airwaves of the Ole Miss IMG Sports Network.

For the latest news and updates involving Ole Miss Baseball, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissBSB, on Facebook at Ole Miss Baseball and on Instagram at olemissbsb.

Quick Hits

  • Ole Miss defeated ULM for the eighth straight time.
  • The Rebels played on head coach Mike Bianco’s 50th birthday.
  • Ole Miss improved to 7-2 with Bianco as the team’s head coach on his birthday, increasing the birthday winning streak to seven games.
  • The Rebels scored four of their five runs in the sixth inning.
  • Redshirt-senior Sean Johnson did not allow a hit until the leadoff batter in the seventh inning; he finished with six strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work, both career highs.  
  • Will Golsan went 2-for-4 for his team-leading 16th multi-hit game of the season.
  • With a two-run homer in the sixth, Colby Bortles belted his team-leading ninth home run of the year.
  • With a solo blast in the seventh, Nick Fortes hit his fifth homer of the year and third over the past two games.
  • With his 10th save of the season, Dallas Woolfolk recorded the 11th of his career to move into the top 10 for the most saves in school history.

 

 

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