Hello from Oxford, Miss., where the Ole Miss Rebels are set to open their season against the Wright State Raiders. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. It’s currently 66 degrees and overcast with wind blowing WNW 6 MPH.
—STARTING LINEUP —
OLE MISS REBELS (0-0 overall)
CF Tanner Mathis
2B Alex Yarbrough
1B Matt Smith
DH Matt Snyder
RF Matt Matt Tracy
LF Zach Kirksey
C Miles Hamblin
3B Preston Overbey
SS Blake Newalu (pronounced Nev-AH-loo)
LHP Matt Crouse
WRIGHT STATE RAIDERS (0-0 overall)
2B Sam Picchiotti
LF Dan Marsh
3B Jake Hibberd
C Corey Davis
RF Tristan Moore
DH Kyle Mossbarger
CF Ryan Ashe
1B Kody Krizman
RHP Casey Henn
TOP 1: 3-0: The Rebels struggled in the top of the first inning as two errors were cashed in by the Raiders for three runs.
BOTTOM 1: 3-7: I started out transcribing how each run but score, but by the time Ole Miss took a 6-3 lead, I realized that was silly to do. So here’s what I will say, the Rebs chased All-Horizon League pitcher Casey Henn with Ole Miss leading 7-3 in the bottom of the first inning. Henn faced 12 batters, allowed seven runs on six hits, two walks and two HBPs. He also earned two strikeouts, for what it’s worth. Right-hander Max Friedman stopped the bleeding for Wright State by striking out Matt Snyder to end the bottom of the first.
TOP 4: 5-7: The Raiders get back on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth thanks to two runs on two doubles and an RBI-single by Kody Krizman.
BOTTOM 4: 5-12: Ole Miss padded its lead in the bottom of the fourth, scoring five runs three singles, two walks and a 2-RBI double off the left field wall by Matt Smith.
BOTTOM 5: 5-13: Zach Kirksey scores from third base on a fly-out by Preston Overbey to add the inning’s lone run.
BOTTOM 6: 5-14: Smith beats a throw from right field to score on a Matt Tracy single, improving Ole Miss’ lead to 14-5 in the bottom of the sixth.
TOP 7: 6-14: Ryan Ashe leads off the top of the seventh with a double off of relief pitcher Eric Callender and eventually came around to score on a single by Justin Kopale.
BOTTOM 7: 6-15: Miles Hamblin hit the Rebels’ first homer of the season, a solo shot into the visiting bullpen to lead off the bottom of the seventh.
Ole Miss held on to top the Raiders 15-6. Matt Crouse earned the win, allowing five runs (two earned) on six hits and no walks in 6.0 innings. He also struck out three.
Eric Callender earned the save for the Rebels, allowing one run on seven hits in 3.0 innings, striking out two.
Casey Henn, the Horizon League’s Preseason Pitcher of the Year, was tagged with the loss after allowing seven earned runs in the first on six hits, two walks and two HBPs.
Every Rebel starter except Matt Snyder earned a hit in the game, with Tanner Mathis and Matt Smith leading Ole Miss with 4-for-6 and 4-for-4 performances respectively.
With the win, Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco improved to 9-1 on opening days at Ole Miss.
NEWCOMERS: Eight Rebels made their Ole Miss debuts today. Zach Kirksey, Blake Newalu and Preston Overbey each started in left field and at third base and shortstop, Gabe Woods, Will Allen, Jordan Poole and Austin Anderson each pinch hit, and Eric Sauls pinch ran for Snyder late in the game.
STANDOUT ON DEFENSE: Bianco may not have been exaggerating on Monday when he raved about Overbey’s defense. The freshman from Jackson, Tenn., didn’t disappoint today, making several smooth plays in the field in addition to a 2-for-4 day at the plate. He also tied for the team-high with three RBIs and two runs scored. To quote Smith, “He was awesome.”
(February 18, 2011)