ATLANTA -- No. 8 Ole Miss used timely hitting and clutch pitching to take Game 1 of a midweek series from Georgia State, 5-3. The Rebels improve to 16-1 on the season and have reeled off eight straight wins.
Houston Roth, a sophomore from Oxford, Mississippi, struck out a career-high seven batters in five innings of work to improve to 2-0 on the season. Dallas Woolfolk picked up his sixth save thanks in large part to a 2-3-2 double play with the bases loaded to end the game and preserve the win.
Thomas Dillard continued to pace the Rebels offensively as the sophomore went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and one RBI.
Georgia State jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning after a two-run home run by GSU's Brandon Bell. Roth would settle down and strike out the side to limit the damage.
Ole Miss got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth as Nick Fortes sent one over the left field wall to cut the deficit to 2-1. It was Fortes' fourth home run of the season and the junior from DeLand, Florida, now sits in a tie with Dillard for the team lead. After a Dillard walk, Will Golsan hit a shot off the center field wall to score Dillard from first to tie the game.
The Rebels would take the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth when Grae Kessinger doubled down the left field line to score Tim Elko. Ole Miss would tack on a two more runs with a run a piece in both the sixth and seventh innings.
Sophomore Will Ethridge, who came on for Roth in the sixth inning, pitched a perfect two innings of relief work, striking out four and not allowing a hit. Parker Caracci, a sophomore from Jackson, Mississippi, struck out the side in the eighth. Caracci has struck out 18 on the season in just 8.1 innings of work.
Caracci started the ninth, but was replaced by Woolfolk after a leadoff double and an RBI single to start the bottom of the ninth for the Panthers.
After a walk and an infield single loaded the bases for Georgia State, Woolfolk got GSU's Mike Huggins to hit a weak ground ball to third which Elko fired home for the force play for the first out. Woolfolk would then get out of the jam and lock up the save with the game-ending double play
- The Rebels improve to 16-1 and are off to the fourth-best start in school history behind a 19-1 mark in 2013, a 18-1 start in 2004 and 17-1 in 2016.
- With the win, Ole Miss improves to 4-2 all-time vs. Georgia State.
- Nick Fortes hit his fourth home run of the season and is now tied for the team lead with Thomas Dillard.
- Houston Roth tallied a career-high seven strikeouts and tied his career-high with five innings pitched.
- Sophomore Will Ethridge came on in relief and struck out a season-high four batters.
- Parker Caracci added three more strikeouts without a walk to increase his strikeout-to-walk numbers to 18-1 in 8.1 IP on the season.
- Dallas Woolfolk picked up his sixth save of the season.