MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The No. 3 Ole Miss baseball team found every gap there was to find at AutoZone Park as the Rebels overwhelmed Memphis in a 12-0 rout Wednesday night.
Mike Bianco's Rebels improved to 26-4 on the season to match the best 30-game start in school history, a mark set in 2004.
Thomas Dillard was the man of the night for the Rebels. He scored the game's first run on a wild pitch in the second inning, and the sophomore slugger out of Oxford was far from done. In the third, Dillard stepped to the plate with two runners on base and sent them both home, clearing the bases on two outs with his second triple of the season deep into the right-center gap to make it a 3-0 game.
The Rebel left fielder blew the game open with a two-RBI single in the sixth. On the play, the ball bounced away from the Memphis left fielder, allowing a third run to score to make it a 10-0 game, all-but wrapping up the Rebels' ninth midweek win in nine tries.
Fellow Oxford High product Grae Kessinger knocked home the game's fourth run with an RBI single through the middle in the fourth. Senior CLASS Award Candidate Will Golsan added another RBI in the fifth on the fourth triple of the year for Ole Miss, nearly identical to Dillard's drive to right center. One play later, Cole Zabowski drove Golsan home one play later to make it a 6-0 game.
The game wasn't out of reach until the seventh. Nick Fortes slapped an infield single deep in the hole to the Memphis shortstop with the bases loaded for the Rebels' seventh run, setting the table for Dillard's base-clearing single. Zabowski notched his second RBI of the game, scoring Dillard on a fielder's choice moments later. Cooper Johnson added the icing on the cake in the ninth, scoring Michael Fitzsimmons on a sacrifice fly to make it an even dozen runs.
While the offense had a day, so did the Rebel pitching staff, allowing just one Tiger hit after the second inning. Houston Roth was strong in his sixth start of the season, going 4.1 shutout innings, allowing no runs on three hits while striking out five before giving way to a four-man relief crew. Max Cioffi took the ball from Roth in the fifth and gave up one hit, but that's all the Tigers managed for the remainder of the night.
Cioffi allowed just the one baserunner in 1.2 innings to keep his perfect ERA intact before Jordan Fowler came in for some work. Fowler went an inning, also allowing just one baserunner on a walk before retiring Memphis in the seventh. Connor Green took the eighth, retiring the Tigers in order to preserve his 0.00 ERA. Austin Miller followed suit in the ninth, going one-two-three to send the Rebels home with the staff shutout.
The Rebel staff combined to go nine scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and walking five while striking out nine.
Rivalry week now takes Ole Miss to Starkville for a three-game weekend set with Mississippi State. The Rebels and Bulldogs are slated for a 6:30 p.m. CT first pitch to open the series on Friday.