OXFORD, Miss. – Behind a nine-run second inning, Ole Miss defeated the UAB Blazers, 15-9, Friday, to improve to 10-3 on the 2019 season. Will Ethridge, who only gave up one earned run on the day, gets the win for the Rebels.
(Click here for box score.)
Here are four thoughts from the 15-9 win over UAB.
1. Rebs’ second inning is a doozy
UAB knocked in three runs to start the first inning, putting the Rebs on the ropes early. Ole Miss responded, however, with one run in the bottom of the first—before then launching a prolific nine-run attack in the bottom of the second to take a commanding 10-3 lead over the Blazers.
In that second inning, Ole Miss’ nine runs came on nine hits and no UAB errors.
To get the festivities started, Cole Zabowski hit a two-run homer, scoring Ryan Olenek who reached on a single. Then, it was first-time starter Kevin Graham who smacked a three-run home run to right field that scored Cockrell and Johnson.
The Rebels were not yet done in the second as Anthony Servideo and Olenek each hit doubles, knocking in two runs apiece. With the Rebels leading, 9-3, Chase Cockrell reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Olenek and gave Ole Miss a total of nine runs in the inning.
As we said after the loss to East Carolina, when this team sees the ball, they can pound the ball—and, today, they were seeing the ball quite well.
2. Ethridge notches great day on the mound
While Ethridge surrendered a three-spot in the first inning, the junior pitcher was not credited with those runs as all three were due to fielding errors by the Ole Miss defense in the opening frame.
Ethridge’s only earned run of his five innings pitched came in the fourth when UAB’s J. Paul Fullerton smoked one over the right field wall. Besides that lone pitch, head coach Mike Bianco’s Friday starter enjoyed a very strong outing. In five complete innings pitched, Ethridge gave up only five hits and one earned run. He walked two and struck out one.
3. Kevin Graham has himself a debut at DH
In his first start at the designated hitter spot, Kevin Graham had one of the best coming out parties one could have, swinging for a 2-for-4 day that included a massive three-run homer in the second inning, en route to notching four RBI on the day.
Graham’s huge debut had to be one heck of a feeling for his first time in the DH spot—and one would think that performance will surely earn him more playing time in the coming weeks and months.
Other outstanding performances include Zabowski, who went 2-4 with one home run and recorded three RBI; Olenek who went 3-5 on the day with a double and two RBI; and Cockrell who went 1-2 with two RBI.
What makes the Rebels’ hitting even more impressive is the fact that UAB’s starting pitcher, Tanner Graham, entered the contest with a 1.32 ERA. Today at Swayze Field, Graham finished his outing after 1.1 innings with a 6.00 ERA.
4. Ole Miss prepares for the start of SEC play
If the weather holds up tomorrow, Zack Phillips will get his fourth start of the season for the Rebels. UAB presents a great opportunity for Ole Miss pitching to face some hitters and get in a groove before beginning conference play next weekend against Alabama.
- Ole Miss improves to 10-3 on the year, and 14-10 all-time versus UAB.
- The 15 runs scored today ties the season’s most, set in early February against Arkansas State when the Rebels beat the Red Wolves 15-3.
- The nine runs scored in the second inning today is the most runs recorded in one inning for the Rebels since they scored 11 in the 6th inning against LSU on April 26, 2018.
- Freshman Kevin Graham had himself a day to remember after earning his first career start on Friday. His first hit in a Rebel uniform came in the form of a three-run home run in the second inning, and he finished the day 2-for-4 with four RBI, all new career bests.
- Junior Will Ethridge continued his fiery introduction into the season by only allowing one earned run in 5.0 innings pitched tonight, his first and only earned run allowed on the year.
- The Rebels’ leading bat in Ryan Olenek improved on his team-high batting average with a 3-for-5 day at the plate, including a pair of RBI and runs, upping his average to .474 on the year.
- Cole Zabowski notched his third homer of the year in the second inning, and finished the day with 3 RBI at the plate.
(“Quick Hits” are courtesy of Ole Miss Baseball.)
Saturday’s game two of the series with UAB has been moved to a 7:00 p.m start time—assuming the weather cooperates.
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco
Designated Hitter Kevin Graham
Ole Miss pitcher Will Ethridge