OXFORD, Miss. – The Rebels found a rhythm at the plate and put up runs in three straight innings down the stretch as No. 16 Ole Miss (7-3) defeated Belmont (5-1) by a score of 4-2 on Tuesday.
Four Rebels notched multiple hits in the game as Jordan Henry led the way with a 2-for-4 performance with a run scored and an RBI. Zack Cozart went 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI, while Logan Power scored two runs and added an RBI of his own.
Phillip Irwin (1-0) picked up the win as he entered the game in the sixth inning to relieve starter Nathan Baker. Irwin worked 1.2 innings, allowing no runs on two hits. Baker worked 5.2 innings in the start as he gave up one run on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Scott Bittle picked up his third save of the season as he closed out the ninth with one run on one hit with a walk and three strikeouts.
Charles Lee (1-1) suffered the loss for the Bruins as he entered the game for the sixth inning. He turned in 1.0 inning of work, allowing three runs on four hits as he was unable to record an out in the seventh inning before being pulled. Starter Ben Meador worked 5.0 innings, allowing only one run on three hits while walking one and striking out two.
“We did what we needed to do today to get the win,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We played good defense and we got good pitching, especially out of Nathan Baker. He really battled through some adversity. We needed him today.”
Belmont scored in the fifth inning when McCall scored from third on a passed ball. McCall singled to lead off the inning before moving to second on a sac bunt from Elkins. He then advanced to third on a groundout to second from Manifold.
The Rebels answered in the bottom half of the frame as Jordan Henry hit a single through the left side to score Andrew Clark from second, knotting the game at one. Clark walked to lead off and then advanced to second on a single to left field from Evan Button.
Ole Miss took the lead, 2-1, in the sixth off a single to right field from Fuller Smith that scored Logan Power from second. Power doubled down the left field line to open the inning.
The Rebels extended the lead in the seventh when Jordan Henry scored from third on a ground ball to short from Power. Henry singled up the middle to lead off the inning and moved to third on a throwing error from the pitcher after Brett Basham laid down a bunt on the first base line, reaching safely as the throw sailed into left field. Another run scored as Power crossed the plate on a single through the left side from Cozart to make the lead 4-1 after seven innings.
Belmont attempted a rally in the ninth as Wagner scored from second on a single to left field from Petsch. Wagner reached on a single through the right side and then moved to second on a walk of Reynolds. The run cut the lead to 4-2, but that was all the Bruins could muster as Bittle struck out the final batter to end the game and pick up his third save.
Ole Miss will return to action this weekend as the Rebels will compete in the Dairy Queen Classic at the Minneapolis Metrodome. The tournament is hosted by the University of Minnesota. Ole Miss will open the tournament with a game against Southeastern Conference foe Arkansas on Friday at 12:15 p.m.know