OXFORD, Miss. - On Wednesday night at Swayze Field, No. 14 Ole Miss defeated Murray State 8-3 to record its 21st non-conference win of the season. In another combined effort from the pitching staff and the Rebel bats, Ole Miss (28-10) earned a midweek win for the second night in-a-row.
Two Rebel pitchers had career nights in strikeouts against the Racers (17-21). Junior right-handed pitcher Chad Smith (3-3) tossed 5.0 scoreless innings in a fantastic outing. Smith only allowed two hits, while striking out nine for a new career high. Freshman right-handed pitcher Connor Green also put up a career-high five strikeouts in 2.0 innings without allowing a single hit. The Rebel arms combined for an impressive total of 17 strikeouts, a season best.
Ole Miss reached double-digits in hits with a team total of 12 on the night. Junior Colby Bortles added his team-leading 15th double of the season, freshman Nick Fortes earned his first career multi-hit game going 2-for-4 on the night. Junior Errol Robinson and senior Cameron Dishon also recorded two hits apiece.
Murray State used 10 pitchers in eight innings. Brad Boegel (0-1) suffered his first loss of the season, allowing two runs on four hits in the second inning. The Racers tallied five hits with two coming from shortstop Jaron Robinson. Starting pitcher-turned-designated hitter Jack Hranec knocked in two of MSU's three runs.
After a scoreless first inning, the Rebels jumped on the Racers with eight runs in the next four innings. Bortles led off the bottom of the second inning with a double before Golsan singled to right field. With no outs, Michael Fitzsimmons sent a sacrifice fly to right to score Bortles. The Rebels added two more hits with singles by Fortes and Dishon. Dishon's single to left field plated Golsan, giving Ole Miss a 2-0 lead.
Ole Miss took advantage of a Racers' miscue in the bottom of the third as Blackman crossed the dish on an error by the shortstop.
With a three-run lead in the bottom of the fourth, the Rebels plated two more scores. Robinson sent a double to left field to start the frame. Ryan Olenek stepped up to the dish with Robinson on second and sent a RBI single to right field. Later in the inning, a Blackman groundout scored Olenek, bringing the score to 5-0 in favor of Ole Miss.
Smith continued to hold Murray State scoreless through the fifth. His outstanding outing was marked by a career high in strikeouts and a career low in hits given up in a start.
For the fourth consecutive inning, Ole Miss added to the scoreboard adding three runs on four hits in the bottom half of the fifth inning. Back-to-back singles put Fitzsimmons and Fortes on first and second base. Dishon followed with a single of his own, sending Fitzsimmons across the dish. Robinson singled through the right side to plate Fortes. Keeping scoring inning going, Dishon and Robinson successfully completed a double steal. As the throw to second sailed into the outfield Robinson advanced to third and Dishon cruised into home to make it an 8-0 game.
Green took over the mound for Smith in the sixth inning. The freshman continued to keep the shutout alive and turned in an impressive outing that included striking out the side in the seventh.
Ole Miss held onto the eight run lead until the top frame of the eighth inning. Murray State had three runs on three hits as part of a two-out rally.
Right-handed pitcher Andy Pagnozzi threw a clean 1.1 innings without allowing a hit to seal the five-run victory.
The Rebels' busy stretch ends with a weekend series at Swayze Field versus SEC West foe Auburn. First pitch for game one is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT Friday night on SECN+. The final two games of the series with the Tigers will be nationally televised on SEC Network with Saturday's game beginning at 2 p.m. and Sunday's series finale slated for 1 p.m.