PEARL, Miss. - No. 15 Ole Miss made a slow offensive start an afterthought Tuesday in Pearl, pouring on 10 runs in the final three innings in an 11-2 win over Southern Miss at Trustmark Park.
Madison, Mississippi, native and Jackson Prep product Knox Loposer had a big day in his home city, going 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored to fuel the late Rebel charge. After a solid start by Zack Phillips, the bullpen trio of Austin Miller, Tyler Myers and Gunnar Hoglund held the Golden Eagles to just two hits over the final 4.2 innings to seal the victory.
Southern Miss struck first in the opening frame after its leadoff batter reached on a hit by pitch. Phillips yielded a pair of singles in the first but escaped the jam with just one run allowed thanks to a pair of strikeouts.
Ole Miss got that run right back in the second after a leadoff single by Anthony Servideo. He stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch before scoring when Tyler Keenan grounded into a double play, tying the game at one.
Three straight hits in the second inning gave Southern Miss its second run. Danny Lynch and Will McGillis each reached on singles, then Gabe Montenegro brought the lead runner home with a double off the right field wall. Phillips escaped the jam with a pair of pop-ups then kept rolling in the third and fourth with back-to-back one-two-three innings, featuring four straight strikeouts along the way.
Phillips retired the entire USM order in a row before getting into some trouble in the fifth, giving up a pair of hits before giving way to Austin Miller. After an intentional walk, Miller found himself in a bases-loaded, one-out jam but punched his way out of it unscathed with back-to-back strikeouts. Miller then retired the Golden Eagles in order in the sixth, setting the table for a big inning for the Rebel bats.
Three straight walks issued to Grae Kessinger, Keenan and Thomas Dillard loaded the bases for Cole Zabowski, who tied the game as he grounded into a fielder's choice. Kevin Graham then put Ole Miss ahead, reaching on an error to bring home Keenan. Loposer crushed a double off the left-center wall to break the game open. Finally, Chase Cockrell put the finishing touches on a five-run inning, ripping an RBI single down the left field line to make it 6-2.
Ole Miss tacked on another in the seventh when Kessinger reached base on a hit by pitch, his fourth time reaching base in the game. The Rebel shortstop stole second and advanced to third when the Golden Eagle catcher's throw skipped into the outfield. That put him in perfect position to score on a Keenan double down the left field line, the 49th RBI of the season for the Rebel third baseman.
Just for good measure, Ole Miss added four more insurance runs in the eighth. Zabowski started it on a single to center and came around when Loposer smoked a single down the left field line. A bunt single by Josh Hall and a walk by Jacob Adams loaded the bases for Servideo. The sophomore put the ball in play up the first base line, but the USM defense couldn't convert the tough play, bringing two runs home. Kessinger then upped the tally to 11 with an infield hit that the Golden Eagle third baseman couldn't handle.
Hoglund closed it out with a perfect ninth inning on the mound in his first career relief appearance.
After its fourth straight win, Ole Miss will return home to host Kentucky as SEC play continues. The series begins with a 6:30 p.m. CT first pitch Friday.
- Ole Miss improved to 24-10 overall and is on a four-game win streak.
- The Rebels have won five straight games over Southern Miss.
- Grae Kessinger has now reached base in 22 consecutive games and is on a nine-game hitting streak.
- Anthony Servideo extended his hitting streak to seven games.
- Tyler Keenan has reached base in 16 straight games and increased his SEC-leading RBI total to 49.
- Cole Zabowski increased his hitting streak to eight games.
- Tyler Myers has now gone 16.2 innings with just two runs allowed.
- Gunnar Hoglund made his first career relief appearance, going 1.2 innings with no runs allowed on just one hit with one strikeout.