OXFORD, Miss. -- Coming off a College World Series appearance in 2014, the Ole Miss baseball team opened the 2015 season with a 9-4 win over William & Mary on Friday night at Swayze Field.
"It was a pretty good first day," head coach Mike Bianco said. "It wasn't the cleanest game or the best game, but we played well. It was nice to see guys come out aggressive. It was terrific day for Kyle Watson and other guys playing for the first time."
Junior left-hander Christian Trent (1-0), the Rebels' regular Saturday starter last season, picked up the win, improving to 10-0 for his career. He allowed one run, scattering six hits, with one walk and six strikeouts in 5.0 innings of work and left the game with a 4-1 lead.
William & Mary (0-1) rallied in the seventh and had the would-be game-tying run in scoring position, before senior right-hander Scott Weathersby got out of the jam for the Rebels, on the way to working a perfect 2.2 innings of relief with two strikeouts to close out the game.
"Trent wasn't his best today, but in Trent form, he made pitches when he had to and looked terrific," Bianco said. "(Scott) Weathersby comes in at end and does what Scott does."
Offensively, the Rebels plated nine runs on seven hits, led by freshman right fielder Kyle Watson, who went 2-for-3 with two doubles, two runs scored and two RBI in his first career game as a Rebel. Sophomore center fielder J.B. Woodman added a multi-hit game as well by going 2-for-3 at the dish.
William & Mary staked a 1-0 lead after junior catcher Ryan Hissey led off the second with a solo shot, hit on a rope, into the Tribe bullpen in right.
The Rebels tied it up 1-1 in bottom of the inning, taking advantage of two errors by William & Mary, and then went ahead 2-1 on a well-placed RBI bunt single by junior outfielder Cameron Dishon. The Rebels added two more runs in the inning on an RBI single to right by Woodman, followed by a sacrifice fly to right by sophomore shortstop Errol Robinson.
William & Mary threatened in the fourth, loading the bases with nobody out in the inning, before Trent struck out the next batter and then got out of the inning on an unassisted double play by Robinson on a lineout to short. The Tribe also got the first two runners on in the fifth, before Trent retired the next three in order to end the threat.
"One of the things that makes him so special is he's able to make pitches and get off the field," said Bianco of Trent. "It's the biggest difference with the guys who have good record and low ERAs. They can make pitches and they can reach down and make the pitch when they have to. He's always been able to do that, and he did that again today."
The Tribe broke through in the seventh, plating three runs on three straight doubles. Weathersby came on in relief and retired the next two batters, the first on a strikeout and the second on a leaping grab by Robinson at short to strand the would-be game-tying run at second.
Ole Miss added four insurance runs in the eighth, highlighted by a 2-RBI double to deep center by Watson, his second double of the game, which made the score 9-4 in favor of the Rebels.
With the win, Ole Miss improves to 14-1 in season openers under Bianco, who began his 15th season as head coach. The Rebels wrap up the three-game weekend series with a doubleheader on Saturday, beginning at noon CT.
Single-game tickets for Saturday's game will be valid for the full doubleheader. Single-game tickets for Sunday's game can be redeemed at the ticket office for a Saturday doubleheader ticket. Only Saturday tickets will be valid for season ticket holders and Diamond Club ticket holders.
Both games will still be broadcast on SEC Network+ as well as the Ole Miss Radio Network. The second contest will follow 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. Friday night's series opener between the Rebels and Tribe is still set for 4:00 p.m. at Swayze Field.