HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Behind 6.0 shutout innings by freshman Greer Holston, the Ole Miss baseball team took down No. 18 Southern Miss 6-2 Tuesday night at Pete Taylor Park. The Rebels (21-12) defeated the Golden Eagles (26-8) for the second time in as many weeks, earning a season sweep over USM for the first time since 2010 and winning in Hattiesburg for the first time in eight years.
Holston (1-2) held one of the nation's best offensive teams without a run and surrendered only two hits during his second start against the Golden Eagles. Southern Miss entered the contest ranked in the top 11 nationally in hits per game (10.9), runs per game (8.0) and home runs (46). Holston, along with reliever Brady Feigl (1), limited the Golden Eagles to two runs, five hits and zero homers. Feigl pitched the final 3.0 innings, striking out five, to collect the rare three-inning save.
Ryan Olenek and Nick Fortes both continued their hot hitting with 2-for-4 performances. Olenek recorded a pair of doubles to increase his season total to 11, a team high, while Fortes added a double and two RBI. Will Golsan homered for the second consecutive game, hitting a two-run shot in the top of the ninth.
On the mound, in a rematch of last week's duel with Holston, Taylor Braley (3-1) took the loss after allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks. Four Golden Eagles tallied hits in the contest with leadoff hitter Dylan Burdeaux going 2-for-4 to lead the way.
The road Rebels put up the game's first run all thanks to Olenek. Leading off the top of the second, Olenek doubled to the left-center field gap. Two batters later, Olenek used smart baserunning along with his speed to put the Rebels on the board. A strikeout on a wild pitch forced the USM catcher to complete the out at first. Olenek motored to third before racing home as the ball went to first base, and as the throw came back to the plate, the Ole Miss center fielder slid in safely to make it a 1-0 game.
Holston worked out of jams early, leaving five Golden Eagles on base through the first three innings. Ole Miss doubled its lead in the fourth, scoring another run with the help of Olenek. After Colby Bortles walked on four straight pitches, Olenek smoked an opposite-field liner for his second double of the night. With two Rebels in scoring position, a groundout to third by Fortes was enough to plate Bortles. Holston retired the side in the bottom half of the frame, allowing Ole Miss to hold a 2-0 advantage through four innings of play.
Two more scoreless innings by Holston ended an impressive outing by the freshman. In the seventh, the Rebels took advantage of a Southern Miss miscue to push the margin to three runs. Cole Zabowski drew a walk and advanced into scoring position by the team's leader in sacrifice bunts, Grae Kessinger. The freshman scored from second after a sharp groundball got away from the USM second baseman, putting Ole Miss ahead 3-0.
Feigl sent the Golden Eagles down in order in his first inning of work before Ole Miss added another run. Fortes ripped a two-out double to left-center, scoring Bortles all the way from first. Southern Miss threatened in the bottom of the eighth, placing two runners on with one out. However, Feigl recorded back-to-back strikeouts to put up another zero on the scoreboard.
In the ninth, Golsan belted a two-run homer for a pair of insurance runs. Two errors allowed Southern Miss to score its first two runs of the game and prevent a shutout, but another Feigl strikeout ended the game to secure the season sweep over the in-state rival.
Up next, the Rebels continue their four-game road trip. Traveling further south, Ole Miss will face No. 8 LSU in SEC action (April 13-15). The first two games will take place under the lights of Alex Box Stadium, beginning at 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively. The series finale will be an afternoon matchup slated for 2 p.m. All three conference games will be broadcast on SECN+.