OXFORD, Miss. -- Scoring 14 runs in the first two innings, the Ole Miss baseball team busted out the bats in a convincing 18-4 victory over Central Arkansas Tuesday evening, April 21, at Swayze Field. The 18 runs were a season high for the Rebels (21-20) as they kicked off their five-game homestand with a win over the Bears (19-15).
Every Rebel in the starting lineup tallied at least one hit, one run and one RBI in the contest; the feat was accomplished by the fifth inning, marking what is believed to be the first time in Ole Miss history, according to the archives. Leadoff hitter Connor Cloyd paced the Ole Miss bats with four hits, three runs and three RBI, all personal bests on a career-high night. Hitting right behind Cloyd in the two-hole, sophomore J.B. Woodman recorded a career-best four hits and four runs. Woodman also blasted a two-run homer, his fifth of the season. Batting third, freshman Will Golsan tied a career high with his fourth three-hit night of 2015. Along with a pinch-hit single by Kyle Watson, the one through three hitters in the lineup ended the night a combined 12-for-17.
Colby Bortles, Sikes Orvis and Henri Lartigue all produced multi-hit games with two apiece. Junior Cameron Dishon added his first triple of the season as the Rebels pounded five hits for extra bases.
"I thought we got good swing after good swing, and like they say, hitting is contagious," said Ole Miss Head Coach Mike Bianco.
Working on a pitch count, Mitchel Babb (2-0) collected the victory in his first career start. The junior went four innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on seven hits and a pair of walks. Matt Denny worked four innings of relief and only surrendered one run, while senior Scott Ashford struck out two in a scoreless ninth-inning appearance.
For the Bears, Matt Anderson went 3-for-5 with two runs and a RBI. The Rebels got to starter Corey Herndon (0-2) as he gave up six runs on five hits and a walk without recording an out.
UCA struck with one run in the first, but the Rebels countered with eight of their own in the bottom half of the inning. The first eight Ole Miss batters reached base with seven of them recording base hits. The Bears were forced to go to their bullpen twice throughout the inning as the Rebels batted around. With the lineup turned over, Cloyd continued the inning by find the right-center gap for a RBI triple that scored a pair of Rebels. When the dust settled, Ole Miss was ahead by an 8-1 margin.
The second inning was similar to the opening frame. The Bears added another run in the second, but once again, Ole Miss answered with six runs to open up a 12-run cushion. The Rebels batted around for the second straight inning as Bortles led off with a double. Dishon nearly left the yard with a triple off the left field wall, while Woodman cleared the fence for a two-run home run to right. After two innings of play, Ole Miss held a 14-2 advantage.
UCA scored a run for the third consecutive inning and were finally able to keep Ole Miss off the scoreboard. However, the Rebels were right back at it by scoring two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. Orvis doubled to deep center field that scored one of his teammates, completing the feat of one hit, one run and one RBI by every Ole Miss batter in the starting lineup. Continuing his solid night at the dish, Woodman went deep in the sixth for a two-run homer, giving Ole Miss its largest lead of the night, 18-3.
The Bears chipped in a run during the seventh, but Denny and Ashford made sure UCA would not make a serious threat to comeback in the ballgame.
Ole Miss is right back in action tomorrow night, April 22, hosting Memphis. It will be Star Wars Night at Swayze Field as the powerful force from tonight's game looks to remain with the Rebels. After defeating Memphis earlier this year, Ole Miss will look for the season sweep. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. CT and can be seen on SEC Network+ as well as heard on the Ole Miss Radio Network.