OXFORD, Miss. - Led by Tate Blackman and Will Golsan, the Ole Miss baseball team jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back, cruising to an 8-2 victory in the series finale against Alabama Sunday afternoon at Swayze Field. Blackman and Golsan combined for five hits and five RBI at the top of the lineup, helping the Rebels (20-12, 6-6 SEC) earn their fourth three-game sweep of the 2017 season.
Ole Miss used two-out hitting to score all eight of its runs. Blackman went 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBI. Golsan belted a two-run home run as part of a two-hit, three-RBI day. Tim Rowe added a pair of doubles, and Ryan Olenek knocked in a pair of runs as well. The Rebels scored eight runs, including six over their final two frames at the plate, on 10 hits.
In his second SEC start, freshman Ryan Rolison (4-1) allowed only one run on five hits to earn the win. The Jackson, Tennessee, native tied his career high with seven strikeouts and only issued two walks. Will Ethridge tossed 1.1 innings without giving up a run, and Dallas Woolfolk finished a game for the third time this week.
The Crimson Tide (13-19, 2-10 SEC) also tallied 10 hits, but only had two runs to show for them. Hunter Alexander recorded three hits, and Gene Wood produced a multi-hit game as well. Alabama used five pitchers throughout the contest as starter Sam Finnerty (1-3) lasted 3.0 innings and took the loss.
Ole Miss jumped on the Crimson Tide with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. After delivering the final hit, a walk-off homer, in yesterday's game, Blackman led off the series finale with the Rebels' first hit. Golsan drew a walk before Colby Bortles was robbed on a double on an impressive catch by the Alabama center fielder that sent him crashing into the wall. The deep fly was enough to advance each Rebel 90 feet, and Olenek's groundout brought in the game's first run. Rowe added a two-out double that scored Golsan and made it 2-0 through the first inning of play.
In the top of the third, Alabama sliced the lead in half with the help of three hits. However, Rolison left two runners stranded to keep his team in front. The freshman continued to keep Alabama off the scoreboard until he exited the contest with two outs in the sixth. Ethridge finished off the inning and pitched a scoreless seventh to maintain the one-run advantage.
A two-out rally following the seventh-inning stretch increased the lead to four. Once again, another scoring frame started with the top of the order. Blackman smoked a two-out single before Golsan cleared the bases with a two-run blast to left-center field. With the lead doubled, the Rebels weren't finished. Bortles roped a base hit to left and advanced to second on a balk. Looking to set up the force play, Alabama tried to intentionally walk Olenek. However, on the third pitch, the ball lofted into a zone where Olenek could hit it. The center fielder did just that, ripping a single that scored Bortles. The four hits with two outs led to three runs and a 5-1 Ole Miss cushion.
The Crimson Tide plated a run in the top of the eighth, but the Rebels answered with their second consecutive three-run inning. Back-to-back walks put two runners on, and Blackman knocked in both of his teammates with a double. Not to be outdone, Golsan doubled off the wall to bring Blackman across as Ole Miss built an 8-2 lead that it would hang on to for the weekend sweep.
Entering next week on a four-game winning streak, the Rebels hit the road for four games in a five-day span. First, Ole Miss travels to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to battle Southern Miss for the second time in as many weeks. First pitch is slated for Tuesday, April 11 at 7 p.m. from Pete Taylor Park. Traveling further south, Ole Miss will prepare to face LSU in SEC action (April 13-15). All three conference games will be broadcast on SECN+.
Ole Miss earned its fourth three-game sweep of the season. The Rebels scored six runs over their final two innings at the plate (three in the seventh, three in the eighth).
Ole Miss scored all of its runs with two outs, going 7-for-13. Tate Blackman and Will Golsan, the first two hitters in the order, combined for five hits and five RBI. Golsan produced a season-high three RBI, while Blackman scored three runs for his own season best.
With a two-run blast in the seventh, Golsan homered for the second time this season.
Freshman Ryan Rolison tied his career high with seven strikeouts; all seven strikeouts were swinging. Rolison struck out his former high school teammate, Alabama's Logan Carey, in the sixth.
Tim Rowe recorded a pair of doubles to finish with three on the weekend.
An Alabama run in the eighth snapped the Ole Miss bullpen's streak of 24.1 innings without giving up an earned run. Head coach Mike Bianco earned his 750th career win, including his 650th at Ole Miss.