PEARL, Miss.-- Scoring all six runs in the first four innings, No. 14 Ole Miss remained perfect in midweek games with a 6-2 win over Southern Miss Tuesday night at Trustmark Park. Behind six scoreless innings from freshman starter James McArthur, the Rebels (22-7) improved to 8-0 in midweek contests this season.
McArthur (4-0) allowed just four hits and struck out five to earn his fourth straight victory in as many starts. The six innings of work was a career high for the tall right hander as he kept the team with the nation's ninth-best batting average off the scoreboard.
Ole Miss tallied 11 hits throughout the night behind multi-hit games from four Rebels. Freshman Ryan Olenek led the way, going 3-for-4 with two RBI and one run. Connor Cloyd, Errol Robinson and J.B. Woodman also recorded two hits apiece, with Cloyd knocking in a pair of runs. The Rebels went 6-for-14 with two outs and with runners on base.
The Golden Eagles (22-8) scored two runs on eight hits. USM starting pitcher Mason Walley (1-2) took the loss, surrendering five runs on nine hits in 2.2 innings.
Three straight singles to start the game put the Rebels on the board. Woodman led off with an opposite-field base hit, before Olenek executed a perfect hit-and-run to put runners on the corners. Tate Blackman kept the hot hitting going with a liner past the Southern Miss third baseman. Woodman cruised across the plate on the RBI single, giving Ole Miss the early 1-0 advantage.
The Rebels added two more runs in the second. Cloyd started the two-out rally with an infield single. Woodman followed with a blast to the gap in left-center field that bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double. With two runners in scoring position, Olenek brought both Rebels in to score on a single up the middle. The three consecutive hits in back-to-back innings, along with a pair of scoreless frames from McArthur, put the Rebels ahead 3-0.
Ole Miss continued to string together scoring innings with a pair of runs in the third and one in the fourth. Once again, the Rebels did all of their damage with two outs. Michael Fitzsimmons walked, Robinson singled and Nick Fortes took his base after being plunked by a pitch. With the bases loaded and the count full, Cloyd smacked a base hit in center to bring in Fitzsimmons and Robinson. In the fourth, Olenek raced home on a wild pitch. On the mound, McArthur retired six straight hitters as Ole Miss held a six-run cushion through four innings of play.
Along with his solid night at the plate, Olenek helped out his starting pitcher in the bottom of the fifth. With two on and two outs, the freshman fielded a base hit to right field and threw out a Golden Eagle at the plate. The perfect throw home ended the inning and held Southern Miss without its first run of the contest.
McArthur's night came to an end after six scoreless innings, and Southern Miss took advantage of the Rebels' starting pitcher exiting the game. The Golden Eagles scored their first run, but that's all they would get thanks to an amazing throw by Woodman. With runners on the corners and one out, the junior made the catch in center before unleashing a cannon towards home. The ball landed in catcher Fortes' mitt on the fly, nailing the runner and ending the USM threat.
Southern Miss added another run in the eighth and even brought the tying run to the plate. The bases were loaded with just one out when David Parkinson entered the contest. However, the southpaw got the Rebels out of the jam by recording a big strikeout and forcing a lineout to end the frame. With three Golden Eagles left on base, Ole Miss maintained control, 6-2.
Up next, Ole Miss will return to Swayze Field for a weekend series versus No. 21 Arkansas (April 8-10). The SEC battle begins Friday night at 6:30 p.m. CT on SECN+. Saturday's game will be broadcast on national television (SEC Network) in primetime with a 7 p.m. first pitch. The series finale can also be seen on SEC Network Sunday afternoon at noon.
- The Rebels improved to 8-0 in midweek games this season.
- Second time this season Ole Miss has plated runs in four consecutive innings.
- Ole Miss scored a run in the first inning for the 15th time in 2016; the Rebels are now 13-2 when scoring in the first.
- The Rebels are outscoring teams 36-15 in the opening frame; the +21 run differential is the highest of any inning.
- Freshman James McArthur won his fourth consecutive start and pitched a career-high 6.0 innings, all scoreless.
- Ole Miss outfielders threw two runners out at the plate.