OXFORD, Miss. - No. 3 Ole Miss took care of business at Swayze Field in their second victory in as many days with an 8-1 win over Alcorn State to sweep the midweek slate. The Rebels are riding high after back-to-back home victories heading in to a pivotal home series vs. top-ranked Arkansas.
Drew McDaniel didn't earn a decision today, but he turned in four effective innings with just one run allowed to put the Rebels in good shape for a win before a committee of arms took over for some scoreless relief. Jackson Kimbrell (3-0) picked up his third win of the season with two shutout innings, while Braden Forsyth, Austin Miller and Wes Burton closed it out with similar numbers.
Offensively, the Rebels weren't as explosive as a 20-6 victory over North Alabama on Monday, but it mattered naught as Ole Miss capitalized on a six-run sixth inning and used efficient arms to carry them to the season sweep over Alcorn State.
The first base hit for either team didn't come until the top of the third on a one-out bloop single from Alcorn State. Following a walk issued from McDaniel to put two on, the Braves cashed in with the game's first score on a hit-and-run single into left, but the Rebel starter capped the frame one batter later on an attempted double steal caught stealing at second.
The Rebels finally broke through the Alcorn starter Jose Fernandez in the bottom half with a pair of singles, though they weren't able to send a run across. TJ McCants and Cael Baker led the frame off with back-to-back singles, but a double play and pop out left the leading run stranded at third and sent the Rebel defense back out.
Ole Miss bounced right back an inning later, however, and was able to tie it up in the fourth thanks to some early hitting. Jacob Gonzalez led off the fourth with his fourth double of the season, and after a Peyton Chatagnier strikeout, Kevin Graham was able to score the freshman shortstop from second with a hard hit ball to the right side that reached the outfield by way of through the first baseman's legs, for an RBI E3.
On the mound, McDaniel bounced right back after the early run for one more quick frame in the fourth before being relieved for Kimbrell to start out the fifth. The southpaw reliever worked back-to-back scoreless frames, including four strikeouts paced out over two innings.
Prior to the sixth, the Rebels had found it to tough sledding to string together lengthy innings but finally cracked through in the frame for six runs. Gonzalez led it off with his second hit, a single, before three consecutive walks plated a run and loaded the bases. Ben Van Cleve extended the new Rebel lead to 4-1 with a two-run single before McCants added yet another with a sac fly to deep center that allowed Hayden Dunhurst to score all the way from second.
The Rebels sent 11 men to the plate in the sixth and even added two more after McCants' sac fly after the inning was extended thanks to one Braves error. Baker sent Van Cleve home on a fielder's choice, before Baker took second on an E6, and the Rebel first baseman would later come around to score on Gonzalez' second hit of the inning, an RBI single.
Ole Miss took a comfortable 7-1 lead into the seventh inning and relied on the right arms of Forsyth, Miller and Burton to carry them the rest of the way, as all three combined for three scoreless innings to close out the ballgame.
The Rebels added some insurance in the eighth, as John Rhys Plumlee reached on a walk and advanced the next three bases on two steals and one wild pitch, respectively. They ultimately stranded three as Van Cleve lined into the inning-ending out, but Burton would come in and shut down the final frame for an easy ninth-inning outing and Tuesday victory at Swayze Field.
No. 3 Ole Miss will host the top-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks at Swayze Field this coming weekend for the second home SEC series of the year. First pitch Friday night is set for 6 p.m. CT and will be televised nationally on SEC Network.
- Ole Miss improves to 23-6 on the year and 3-0 all-time vs. Alcorn State.
- The Rebels completed the season sweep over the Braves following an 11-1 victory earlier this year.
- Ole Miss increased its midweek record to 7-1 on the year.
- Freshman Jacob Gonzalez tied his career best mark with three hits tonight.
- Jackson Kimbrell picked up his third victory of the season with two scoreless relief innings tonight.
- With a walk today, Kevin Graham increased his reached-base streak to 22 consecutive games.
- TJ McCants set a new career high with three hits tonight.
- Ben Van Cleve notched his third multi-RBI game of the season today.
- John Rhys Plumlee jumped up to second on the team in stolen bases today with two swiped bags in the eighth inning. He is now 4-for-4 on the year in stolen bases, behind just Bench.