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Ole Miss extends winning streak to 13, longest in Bianco era

While the list may be a short one, Ole Miss accomplished something Saturday they have not done during Mike Bianco’s tenure.

For the first time in 20 years, the Rebels have an active winning streak of 13 following their 18-4 win over Princeton at Oxford-University Stadium. The streak is the third-longest in program history behind two streaks of 15 in 1923 and 1964 and a streak of 17 wins during the 1960 season.

The win also clinched the series and set up the chance for the No. 9 Rebels (13-1) to earn a sweep for a third straight weekend.

“You’re looking for parts. You’re looking for, when we get to next week, what’s going to be the best nine to run out there,” Bianco said. “What are going to be the right guys to come out of the bullpen? I think we’re getting closer to that”

In the series opener, the Rebels used an eight-run sixth inning to break the game open in their 15-0 win. Another big inning was needed on Saturday and it came in the form of six-run fourth.

The offensive surge came without the assist of a home run but by manufacturing timely hits. None was more timely than the two-RBI double by Cael Baker, who has found himself in a slump at the plate in recent games. The junior went 2-for-4 at the plate, marking his first multi-hit game since his 4-for-4 game with two home runs against Louisville on Feb. 15.

A two-RBI double by Justin Bench and a sacrifice-fly by Anthony Servideo also helped supply the runs.

Ole Miss did add to their impressive early-season home run total when Tim Elko answered a three-run home run by Princeton (0-6) in the top of the seventh with a three-run home run of his own in the home half of the frame.

Elko’s hit increased the Rebels’ home run total to 27 through their first 14 games.

“I think it shows from one to nine we’re all swinging the bats well,” Bench said. “Just having the timely at-bats that we all need.”

The Rebels also had a nine-run eighth inning, including four runs scored off walks.

Coming off Dough Nikhazy’s solid outing on Friday, Gunnar Hoglund continued the Rebels’ dominance on the mound this weekend. Hoglund recorded 10 strikeouts, his second best performance this season behind his career high 12 against Xavier on Feb. 22.

The Rebels will look to extend their winning streak when they close out their series against the Tigers at Noon CT on Sunday.