Fast start propels Rebels past USM

Published 12:01 pm Wednesday, April 6, 2016

PEARL — Scoring all six runs in the first four innings, No. 14 Ole Miss remained perfect in midweek games with a 6-2 win over Southern Miss Tuesday night at Trustmark Park. Behind six scoreless innings from freshman starter James McArthur, the Rebels (22-7) improved to 8-0 in midweek contests this season.

McArthur (4-0) allowed just four hits and struck out five to earn his fourth straight victory in as many starts. The six innings of work was a career high for the tall right-hander as he kept the team with the nation’s ninth-best batting average off the scoreboard.

Ole Miss tallied 11 hits throughout the night behind multi-hit games from four Rebels. Freshman Ryan Olenek led the way, going 3-for-4 with two RBI and one run. Connor Cloyd, Errol Robinson and J.B. Woodman also recorded two hits apiece, with Cloyd knocking in a pair of runs. The Rebels went 6-for-14 with two outs and with runners on base.

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The Golden Eagles (22-8) scored two runs on eight hits. USM starting pitcher Mason Walley (1-2) took the loss, surrendering five runs on nine hits in 2.2 innings.

Three straight singles to start the game put the Rebels on the board. Woodman led off with an opposite-field base hit, before Olenek executed a perfect hit-and-run to put runners on the corners. Tate Blackman kept the hot hitting going with a liner past the Southern Miss third baseman. Woodman cruised across the plate on the RBI single, giving Ole Miss the early 1-0 advantage.

Piling on
The Rebels added two more runs in the second. Cloyd started the two-out rally with an infield single. Woodman followed with a blast to the gap in left-center field that bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double. With two runners in scoring position, Olenek brought both Rebels in to score on a single up the middle. The three consecutive hits in back-to-back innings, along with a pair of scoreless frames from McArthur, put the Rebels ahead 3-0.

Ole Miss continued to string together scoring innings with a pair of runs in the third and one in the fourth. Once again, the Rebels did all of their damage with two outs. Michael Fitzsimmons walked, Robinson singled and Nick Fortes took his base after being plunked by a pitch.