OXFORD, Miss. -- A six-run second inning proved to be enough for Ole Miss as the Rebels defeated Delaware 11-2 in the 2023 season opener at Swayze Field on Friday.
The reigning national champions added another run in the third inning before the visiting Blue Hens got on the scoreboard with two runs in the fourth. The Ole Miss lead remained at 7-2 until the eighth inning.
Left-hander Hunter Elliott had a successful start to the season for the Rebels, picking up where he left off in Omaha last June. The Tupelo sophomore went five innings with nine strikeouts and just one walk, allowing two earned runs on three hits.
In the bottom of the second, when Ole Miss scored six runs, Calvin Harris got the Rebels' first hit of the season, a single up the middle. Junior newcomer Ethan Lege followed with a double to the right center gap, and there were two Rebels aboard in scoring position.
Senior Anthony Calarco, a transfer from Northwestern in the Big Ten Conference, singled to get Harris home and Lege to third. There were still no outs in the inning.
Peyton Chatagnier then sent one out of the ballpark to right center for a three-run homer and a 4-0 Rebel lead. T.J. McCants doubled to left center followed by a walk for Reagan Burford. An Ethan Groff ground out scored McCants, and a Kemp Alderman single scored Burford.
After Elliott continued his solid work in the top of the third, Lege led off the bottom of the frame with a walk, followed by a single for Calarco. Runners were at the corners when a Chatagnier fly ball to right plated Lege to give Ole Miss a 7-0 lead.
The Blue Hens' Bryce Greenly sent a solo shot to center out of Swayze to start the fourth inning. Elliott went back to work for two outs, but J.J. Freeman singled up the middle and Owen Petrich walked before Aidan Kane singled to left to score Freeman. Jake Dunion grounded out to short to end any more damage, and the Ole Miss lead was 7-2.
Rebel freshman J.T. Quinn replaced Elliott to begin the sixth inning. The right-hander gave up a walk before getting three straight outs. In the seventh inning, right-hander Mitch Murrell replaced Quinn and made quick work of the Blue Hens with a three up, three down frame. The senior also pitched the eighth with a single, a walk, and three strikeouts.
In the eighth inning, still leading by five runs, the Rebels added to their total in a big way with back to back solo home runs off Delaware reliever Owen Margolis. McCants sent one over the wall in right center, while true freshman Will Furniss, in his first collegiate at-bat, followed with a rocket over the Rebel bullpen in right. After a Jacob Gonzalez single, Groff homered to left for a nine-run Rebel advantage.
Matt Parenteau, the fourth Rebel pitcher in the game, closed things out in the ninth, walking two batters but then striking out three.
The Rebels had 13 hits, while the Blue Hens managed four in the errorless game for both teams.
Four Rebels had two hits each - Alderman, Calarco, Chatagnier, and McCants. Chatagnier had four RBI, and Groff had three.
Elliott got the win, while Delaware starter Eli Atiya got the loss.
The two teams meet again Saturday at noon in the second of three games this weekend.