OXFORD, Miss. - Ole Miss baseball was dominant Sunday afternoon, as a seven-run third inning set the tone early in a 12-2 victory at Swayze Field and gave the Rebels (14-6) an emphatic series victory to open Southeastern Conference play.
Making his fifth career start, Gunnar Hoglund was phenomenal for the Rebels. The freshman pitched the first five innings of the game before being relieved in the sixth. He finished the game with a career-high eight strikeouts, doubling his career total, while allowing only two hits and two walks. His lone earned run came after he was pulled from the game.
The Rebel offense was quiet for the first two innings before a third-inning explosion propelled the club out to a 7-0 lead. The stretch began when Anthony Servideo hit a single to right field that brought in Tim Elko.
The scoring continued with a Grae Kessinger double to left field that brought in both Servideo and Jacob Adams across the plate. Thomas Dillard kept the action going with a single to the outfield that brought in Kessinger. With the bases loaded, Tyler Keenan singled up the middle to give the Rebels two more runs before Ryan Olenek scored the final run of the inning on a sacrifice fly from Cooper Johnson.
The Ole Miss offense got going again in the fifth inning, adding five more to its total and bringing the score to 12-0. The first of the inning came when Johnson brought Olenek in with a single to the outfield. Adams then sent Keenan home with an infield single that the shortstop was unable to convert into an out.
The marquee play of the fifth inning came when Kessinger hit what appeared to be a routine blooper into the outfield with the bases loaded. However, three Crimson Tide look into the sun as the ball dropped in between them, and the resulting Kessinger double brought all three baserunners around to score.
With the score comfortably at 12-0, the Rebels went to the bullpen after Hoglund walked the first batter of the sixth inning, and Austin Miller entered the game for the Rebels. Alabama was able to score its only runs during the inning on a single to right field that brought in two. One run was credited to Hoglund, with one going to Miller.
After this, Miller found his groove and finished with 2.1 innings pitched while notching a career-high five strikeouts. Houston Roth closed out the 12-2 win for Ole Miss, allowing no runs over the final 1.2 innings.
Ole Miss returns to action Tuesday, March 19, and Wednesday, March 20, for a two-game series with Arkansas-Pine Bluff before hitting the road for a weekend series at Missouri.
- Ole Miss improves to 14-6 overall and 2-1 in SEC play.
- Grae Kessinger posted his seventh multi-hit game of the season, going 3-for-4 with a career-high five RBI and a run scored.
- Kessinger has reached base in each of the last eight games and is on a four-game hitting streak.
- Gunnar Hoglund had the best game of his career, striking out eight, which matched his career total coming into the game.
- Austin Miller struck out a career-high five batters. Heading into the game, his season-high was three and his career-high was five.
- Ole Miss scored in double figures for the eighth time this season. - Ole Miss had double-digit hits for the 10th time this season.
- Five hits allowed came as the second-fewest allowed by the Rebel pitching staff this season, just behind the four allowed in Friday's 1-0 win over Alabama.
- The Rebel pitching staff combined for 14 strikeouts, tying for the second-most in a game this season.
- Every Rebel starter scored a run in the game. All but one had a hit, and all but three had an RBI.