Rebs Wrap Up Non Conference Play
Ole Miss wrapped up nonconference play tonight with a win over SWAC leading Jackson State. Low production night as far as runs go, and it appears the fielding/throwing errors are still an issue. All I know is the toughest weekend of the season is upon the Rebels as they travel to Athens. UGA is beatable, but with the way this team has played some games this year, the Rebels will probably only squeeze out one win in Athens. A sweep at Athens and next weekend in my opinion is about the only thing that could have the Rebels on the bubble as far as hosting, that includes a hot run in the SEC Tourney. But my true belief is they blew their chances a couple of weeks ago in a bid to host a regional.
(UMAA) OXFORD, Miss. – The Rebels got a pair of key home runs from Fuller and Matt Smith on Wednesday night as No. 25 Ole Miss (30-17) picked up a 5-3 win over Jackson State (33-16) at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
Fuller Smith was 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI on the night, while Matt Smith finished 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
Nathan Baker (3-4) picked up the win as he worked 5.0 innings, allowing three runs, one earned, on seven hits with two strikeouts. Scott Bittle picked up his seventh save of the season as he closed out the ninth and retired the side in order to preserve the 5-3 win. Jake Morgan worked 3.0 innings of relief with one walk and five strikeouts as he held Jackson State hitless in his time on the mound.
Charles Williams (9-3) suffered the loss for Jackson State as he allowed three runs on seven hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
“Jake Morgan pitched well and has done a great job all year,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We pitched really well. I thought Jackson State was tremendous tonight. They were able to do some things offensively to put some pressure on us.”
Ole Miss got on the board in the second inning when Fuller Smith came up with an RBI single to short to score Cullan Kight from third. Kight reached on a single to right field before moving to second on a single to left from Jordan Henry. Kight then moved to third on a fielder’s choice to short from Basham that saw Henry erased from the path at second. Basham moved to second on the single from Fuller Smith before scoring on a single down the left field line from Logan Power. Ole Miss led 2-0 after two innings of play.
Jackson State scored in the third when Marquise Zachary scored from third on a throwing error to second off a steal attempt. Zachary reached on a fielding error at short before moving to third on a single through the right side from Charles Brown. Brown moved to second on the steal play that allowed Zachary to score. A single from Jerome Tyes scored Brown and tied the game at two.
Matt Smith homered to open the third inning and give the lead back to the Rebels before Fuller Smith homered to open the fourth inning and give the Rebels a 4-2 lead. Two walks sandwiched around a double from Overbeck loaded the bases with no outs. A fielder’s choice from Cullan Kight pushed Power across the plate and gave the Rebels a 5-2 lead with two outs.
Jackson State cut into the lead in the sixth as three straight singles pushed a run across and left runners at second and third with no outs before the Rebels went to the bullpen for Morgan. Morgan then got a strikeout and a line out into a double play to end the inning with the Rebels leading 5-3.
Morgan kept Jackson State off the board through the eighth before Bittle closed out the ninth.
Ole Miss returns to action this weekend, taking to the road for a showdown with the eighth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs in Southeastern Conference action. First pitch for Friday’s game will begin at 5:30 p.m. CDT. Saturday’s game will be televised by ESPNU at 2:00 p.m. CDT.