MIDDLE HICCUP: Rebels drop first midweek game in loss to USM

Published 12:02 pm Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ole Miss had enjoyed midweek games this season, boasting a perfect 8-0 record. That changed when No. 25 Southern Mississippi made the trip to Oxford and exacted revenge from its 6-2 loss in Pearl last week with a 5-1 win over the No. 8 Rebels on Wednesday night at Oxford-University Stadium.

It was also the second non-conference loss of the season for Ole Miss (25-8), the other coming against Louisville in the second weekend of the season, and also snapped a five-game winning streak.

James McArthur got his second start against Southern Mississippi (26-8) in eight days as he earned the win against the Golden Eagles last week at Trustmark Park. After going six innings last weekend, McArthur worked 5 1/3 innings on Wednesday, giving up six hits, one earned run, one walk and struck out five batters. McArthur worked five scoreless innings before giving up three hits, allowing Southern Mississippi to score the first run of the game with an RBI single by designated hitter Hunter Slater.

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“There was some good parts and some bad parts to it,” McArthur said of his outing. “I got behind on some counts, and the game plan was to go out there and get ahead and mix in some breaking balls early. I tried to work backwards at times and I was successful and had some good innings, and other times (Southern Mississippi) took advantage of some good pitches.”

The Rebels responded, tying the game up 1-1 with an RBI double by center fielder J.B. Woodman to score Henri Lartigue, who was pinch hitting for catcher Nick Fortes in the home half of the seventh. It would be all the scoring Ole Miss would do as Golden Eagles starter Stevie Powers was dominant, pitching 4 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball and holding the Rebels to four hits. Ole Miss only had six hits on the night.

Left fielder Will Golsan was the only Rebel with multiple hits on the night, going 2-for-4 at the plate, and Woodman’s double was the only extra base hit of the night.

“I don’t think we got any good swings off of Powers at the beginning,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “Especially the first few innings, we didn’t get in a good count. It seemed like we were just late. We’d foul balls off or pop the ball up. The few opportunities that we had, we’d finish the inning with a strikeout. We didn’t give ourselves a chance.”

All hands on deck
After McArthur’s day was over, the Rebels used seven pitchers out of the bullpen. No pitcher went longer than two-thirds of an inning as Chad Smith, Connor Green, Brady Fiegl and Andy Pagnozzi each recorded two outs.

Matt Denny, Dallas Woolfolk and Andrew Lowe all worked one-third of an inning.

Ole Miss jumps back into Southeastern Conference play with a road trip to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for a weekend series against Alabama beginning on Friday (7 p.m., SEC Network+).