OXFORD, Miss. – Senior outfielder Matt Smith returned to the lineup on Tuesday night just 12 days after surgery for a broken hand and went 4-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored to help Ole Miss (29-23) down Southeast Missouri State (29-20) by a score of 10-6.
With his three RBI on the night, Smith moved into a tie with former outfielder Logan Power for most RBI all-time at Ole Miss with 183 for his career.
Smith was one of four Rebels with multiple hits on the night as Ole Miss tallied 14 hits in the win over the Redhawks. Miles Hamblin and Matt Snyder both tallied home runs in the win to help power the Rebel offense.
Trent Rothlin (3-0) picked up the win in relief for Ole Miss, entering the game to start the fourth inning and working 3.0 scoreless innings as he allowed four hits and struck out four batters.
Josh Syberg (2-2) suffered the loss for Southeast Missouri State as he allowed four unearned runs on six hits with three walks. A dropped foul ball with two outs in the fourth caused all of the runs to be unearned as the Rebels would score after what should have been the third out of the inning.
“It was a good game, especially offensively. We swung that bat well. Matt Smith was tremendous tonight. When I said he would be one of the greatest players to play here, I meant it. To do what he has done here from coming back and playing a week after hurting his arm as a freshman to coming back 12 days after surgery for a broken hand this week. He’s remarkable.
“I was proud of our pitchers tonight. We have an early Thursday game again this week and we needed some guys who haven’t pitched a ton to step up tonight. They did that.”
The Redhawks scored first, pushing three runs across the plate in the third inning to take the early lead. A single and a double put two men on before the first run crossed the plate on a fielding error at second on a ground ball from Trenton Moses. Southeast Missouri State then used a double and a sac fly to push two more runs home and move out to the 3-0 lead on the Rebels.
Ole Miss answered in the bottom of the inning, starting things with a walk of Alex Yarbrough and a single from Smith to put two men on base. A groundout to third moved both players into scoring position with two outs. A dropped foul ball on what would have been the final out of the inning gave Will Allen extended life at the plate, and the freshman made the most of the opportunity.
A wild pitch to Allen scored Yarbrough and moved Smith to third before the freshman came up with a double to left that scored Smith. Hamblin then came up with a two-run home run to right field to put the Rebels in the lead 4-3. Ole Miss would never look back.
The Rebels extended the lead in the fourth with a two-RBI single from Smith that scored Tanner Mathis and Yarbrough before adding to that lead to 7-3 in the fifth on a sac fly from Blake Newalu.
Ole Miss moved out in front 10-3 in the eighth inning. Yarbrough reached on a fielding error at second before taking second on a wild pitch. He then scored on a single from Smith. Snyder then belted out his two-run shot to right field to give the Rebels the seven-run lead.
The Redhawks weren’t done, however, getting three runs back in the ninth inning to cut the final margin of victory to four. Southeast Missouri State opened the inning with a walk and a double before a Michael Adamson single brought the first run home. Moses then singled to drive in a run before Adamson came home on a double play before freshman Mike Mayers would get a strikeout to end the game.
The Rebels return to action this weekend with a Thursday-Saturday series at Arkansas to close out the regular season. Ole Miss and the Razorbacks will face-off in game one of the series at 6:35 p.m. on Thursday night at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville, Ark.
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