OXFORD, Miss. - The Rebels got the men on base, but weren't able to get the timely hit to drive runs home as Ole Miss (25-21, 9-13 SEC) dropped the series opener to top-ranked South Carolina (37-8, 18-4 SEC) by a score of 6-1 on Friday night.
Tanner Mathis and Alex Yarbrough both went 2-for-4 on the night, but the Rebels left eight men on base, including the bases loaded in the third inning and a man on third in the fifth in the loss. Austin Anderson drove in the Rebels' only run with a ground out that scored Miles Hamblin in the third inning.
Matt Crouse (6-4) took the loss for the Rebels as he allowed five runs on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work.
Michael Roth (10-1) picked up the win for South Carolina as he allowed one run on six hits with a walk and six strikeouts in 8.0 innings of work.
"Tonight was very frustrating," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "Now we all can see why South Carolina is so good and why Roth may be the best pitcher in the conference. We had a little success early on offensively, but then he buckled down and really got into his zone. He was just impressive. We made a few mistakes and didn't get guys in, and they were extremely consistent offensive and defensively all night long."
South Carolina got on the board first, pushing runs across the plate in both the first and second innings to take the early 2-0 lead on the Rebels.
Ole Miss struck back in the third, cutting the lead to one when Hamblin scored on a ground out to second from Anderson. Hamblin doubled to open the inning and took third on a wild pitch to set up the score on the Anderson grounder. The Rebels then loaded the bases with two more singles and a fielding error, but Roth was able to get a strikeout and a fly out to end the inning with the Gamecocks on top 2-1.
The Rebels threatened again in the fifth, putting men at the corners with one out, but a grounder to short resulted in a double play as South Carolina escaped a second Rebel rally.
The Gamecocks extended the lead in the sixth, using a sacrifice bunt and a single to right to push Adrian Morales home and take the lead back out to two runs at 3-1.
South Carolina would continue to build on the lead from there, scoring two runs in the seventh and another run in the eighth for the final 6-1 margin of victory.
Ole Miss and South Carolina take the field for game two of the series on Saturday. The contest will begin at 2 p.m. CT and will be televised by SportSouth.
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