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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bianco ties Gibbs as Rebs’ winningest coach with 10-1 victory

VIDEO BLOG: The No. 7 Rebels have been weekend wizards in a sense, finding various ways to remain undefeated in three-game sets.

After topping then-ranked TCU to open the season, Ole Miss has swept Rhode Island and Florida International in subsequent series to post a 9-0 weekend record.

Tonight, the Rebels (13-1 overall) host the Lipscomb Bisons (6-7) in the first of three games with a 6:30 p.m. start at Oxford-University Stadium.

The last time Ole Miss opened the season with such a streak, it swept Birmingham Southern, South Alabama, Eastern Illinois, Nicholls State and Vanderbilt to open the 2004 season en route to a 39-21 overall season.

The Bisons haven’t started the season with quite the same success. Heading into this weekend’s series, Lipscomb is coming off of a 1-2 weekend against Butler.

Taking the mound tonight for Ole Miss will be ace Bobby Wahl against senior right-hander Josh Cotham.

Wahl is 3-0 on the season despite fighting through several injuries, such as a cracked nail and a blister on the middle finger of his right hand. In last week’s start at FIU, Wahl allowed a career-high four runs in 5.1 innings but still struck out four. The week before, against Rhode Island, Wahl issued a career-high six walks. On the season, Wahl has a 2.70 ERA with 16 strikeouts and a team-high 12 walks in 16.2 innings.

Cotham has struggled for the Bisons. In 14.1 innings, the right-hander is 1-1 with an 8.79 ERA. He was struck out 12 and walked 11.

Ole Miss fans scrolling down Lipscomb’s lineup may recognize the Bisons’ center fielder, Zach Lowery. The senior was once an Ole Miss player but was dismissed from the program in December of 2009 for a violation of team rules along with teammate Evan Frazar.

Lowery has had a solid career since leaving Oxford and is hitting .315 on the season with two home runs and a .556 slugging percentage.

INJURY UPDATE: For the past couple of weeks, Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco has said senior infielder John Gatlin was inching closer to returning to the diamond after separating his shoulder during the preseason. It appears Gatlin may be out longer after all. The Tupelo native was seen with a boot on his left foot during pregame warmups. According to an Ole Miss spokesman, Gatlin broke his left foot and will have surgery to repair it on Wednesday. Gatlin will then have surgery to repair his shoulder “3-4 weeks later.” As a junior, Gatlin hit .255 with a .397 on-base percentage in 28 games. Prior to the season, Gatlin seemed to be hitting the ball well and looked like his bat might help

———AROUND THE LEAGUE———

Friday’s Games
Lipscomb at Ole Miss, 6:30 p.m.
Central Arkansas at Mississippi State, 6:30 p.m.
Alabama at Louisville, 2 p.m.
San Diego State at Arkansas, 3 p.m.
Alcorn State at Tennessee, 5 p.m.
Michigan State at Kentucky, 6 p.m.
Brown at Auburn, 6 p.m.
Indiana at Florida, 6 p.m.
Liberty at Georgia, 6 p.m.
San Francisco at Missouri, 6 p.m.
Rider at South Carolina, 6 p.m.
Washington at LSU, 7 p.m.
Vanderbilt at Oregon, 8 p.m.
Texas A&M at Cal State Fullerton, 9 p.m.

Saturday’s Games
Lipscomb at Ole Miss, 1:30 p.m
Central Arkansas at Mississippi State, 2 p.m.
Alcorn State at Tennessee, 11 a.m.
San Diego State at Arkansas, 11:30 a.m.
Alabama at Louisville, noon Michigan State at Kentucky, 1 p.m.
Liberty at Georgia, 2 p.m.
San Francisco at Missouri, 2 p.m.
Brown at Auburn, 3 p.m.
Indiana at Florida, 3 p.m.
Rider at South Carolina, 3 p.m.
Vanderbilt at Oregon, 4 p.m.
Washington at LSU, 5:30 p.m.
Texas A&M at Cal State Fullerton, 8 p.m.

Sunday’s Games
Lipscomb at Ole Miss, 1:30 p.m.
Central Arkansas at Mississippi State, 6:30 p.m.
Alcorn State at Tennessee, 11 a.m.
Alabama at Louisville, noon
San Diego State at Arkansas, noon
Indiana at Florida, noon
Michigan State at Kentucky, noon
Rider at South Carolina, 12:30 p.m.
Liberty at Georgia, 1 p.m.
Brown at Auburn, 1 p.m.
Washington at LSU, 1 p.m.
San Francisco at Missouri, 1 p.m.
Texas A&M at Cal State Fullerton, 1:30 p.m.
Vanderbilt at Oregon, 2 p.m.

——— STARTING LINEUP ———

LIPSCOMB BISONS (6-7 Overall)
SS Joey Cecere (.368 AVG/.500 OBP/.421 SLG)
LF Drew Adams (.209/.333/.372)
1B Griffin Moore (.294/.510/.529)
DH Aaron Sandoval (.413/.426/.500)
CF Zach Lowery (.315/.413/.556)
C Taylor Stewart (.368/.444/.447)
2B Noah Chandler (.308/.379/.423)
3B Gray Hutchinson (.220/.339/.320)
RF Lee Wilson (.207/361/.276)
RHP Josh Cotham (1-1, 8.79 ERA)

No. 7 OLE MISS REBELS (13-1)
LF Tanner Mathis (.255.356/.275)
CF Auston Bousfield (.304/.365/.375)
SS Austin Anderson (.380/.441/.520)
C Stuart Turner (.447/.491/.766)
3B Andrew Mistone (.268/.415/.341)
1B Sikes Orvis (.200/.289/.250)
DH Will Allen (.226/.236/.283)
RF Will Jamison (.281/.429/.375)
2B Preston Overbey (.279/.311/.372)
RHP Bobby Wahl (3-0, 2.70)

——— SCORING SUMMARY ———

OLE MISS 2, Lipscomb 0 (Bottom 2): Second baseman Preston Overbey started the scoring with a two-out single through the left side of the infield that scored catcher Stuart Turner and third baseman Andrew Mistone. After Turner had walked and Mistone singled to lead off the bottom of the second, first baseman Sikes Orvis walked to load the bases. Designated hitter Will Allen struck out and right fielder Will Jamison struck out to set up Overbey’s at-bat.

OLE MISS 6 , Lipscomb 0 (Bottom 3): Ole Miss plated four more runs in the bottom of the third on a two-run single by Mistone and another two-run hit by Overbey.

OLE MISS 10, Lipscomb 0 (Bottom 4): The Rebels continued to pour it on the Bisons in the fourth, scoring another four runs courtesy of a Turner two-run single, a run-scoring hit by Mistone, and an RBI-double by Orvis.

Ole Miss 10, Lipscomb 1 (Top 9): Lipscomb broke the shutout in the final frame, scoring one run with the Rebels fielding mostly reserves.

FINAL: No. 7 Ole Miss 10, Lipscomb 1

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: Ole Miss scored all 10 runs in the first four innings and cruised to a 10-1 victory. By the fifth inning, Ole Miss began to sub all but Bousfield, Orvis and Preston Overbey. … Bousfield and Mistone led Ole Miss with three hits apiece, while Overbey was 2-for-4 with four RBIs. Mistone also had three RBIs. Turner was 2-for-2 with two RBIs and three walks. He also collected his team-best eighth double. … Wahl improved to 4-0 on the year, pitching six scoreless innings before turning the game over to southpaw Jeremy Massie. Wahl allowed just three hits and struck out six in what Bianco called the right-hander’s best outing of the season. Massie allowed one run on seven hits while striking out two to earn his first save as a Rebel. … Lipscomb starter Josh Cotham allowed nine runs in three innings to fall to 1-2 on the season. … The win marked the 485th of Bianco’s Ole Miss career, tying him with Rebel legend Jake Gibbs as the program’s winningest coach. … Following the game, John Gatlin confirmed he fractured the left side of his left foot and will have a screw inserted Wednesday. Several weeks later he’ll have surgery to fix his shoulder, shutting him down for the season.

Game 2 on Saturday is set for a 1:30 p.m. start.

PARTING VIEW: Below is a post-game interview with Wahl:

For more on the game, checkout Monday’s print edition of the Oxford EAGLE. (March 8, 2013)

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