Ole Miss falls flat, shut out at Arkansas State

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2017

JONESBORO, Ark. — After suffering a 16-4 loss to the hands of Ole Miss earlier in the season, Arkansas State got its revenge Tuesday night on its home field. The Red Wolves (24-26) scored three runs in the first while keeping the Rebels’ bats in check for a 5-0 win to earn a split of the season series between the two programs.

Freshman Greer Holston pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief, allowing one hit and striking out six after coming out of the bullpen. He was charged an earned run as an inherited runner scored following his exit from the game. Redshirt-senior Sean Johnson (1-1) took the loss, allowing four runs on five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Ole Miss (31-22) recorded five hits by five different Rebels. Designated hitter Thomas Dillard smacked a double, and Colby Bortles singled to increase his reached base streak to 19 games. The other base knocks came from Will Golsan, Ryan Olenek and Grae Kessinger.

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The Red Wolves got seven shutout innings from starting pitcher Bryan Ayers (3-5), who gave up only four hits in his 10th start of the season. Tyler Zuber provided the final two scoreless innings on the mound. ASU third baseman Alex Howard went 3-for-4 with two RBIs while Justin Felix and Jeremy Brown scored two runs apiece.

Arkansas State took an early lead with three runs on three hits in the first. Johnson retired the Red Wolves in order in the second before the home team added another run one inning later. In the fourth, singles by Bortles and Olenek accompanied with a throwing error put a pair of Rebels in scoring position with two outs. However, ASU worked out of the jam to hold a 4-0 advantage.

Holston got the ball from Johnson with one out in the bottom of the fourth, recording back-to-back strikeouts to leave a runner stranded at third. The freshman righty retired the first seven hitters he faced before a two-out single in the sixth broke the streak. The base hit didn’t faze Holston as he sent down five consecutive Red Wolves and rolled through 3 2/3 scoreless innings after seven.

A leadoff walk lifted Holston from the game in the eighth, and the Red Wolves plated their final run of the contest on a sacrifice fly. In the ninth, Zuber gave up a walk of his own before recording three straight outs to conclude the contest.

Ole Miss will travel to No. 23 Auburn this weekend to put a lid on the regular season conference slate. The three-game series begins Thursday night at 6 with game two beginning at the same time on Friday. The series finale will start at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon.