No. 10 South Carolina defeats No. 6 Ole Miss 4-0 to complete series sweep
OXFORD – Head coach Mike Bianco felt his No. 6 Ole Miss team needed to be balanced equally on offense and defense to give themselves a chance against a South Carolina team that hadn’t lost a game since March 6 at Clemson.
But little seemed to go the Rebels way Saturday afternoon, and the Gamecocks (23-2, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) got off to another solid start and swept Ole Miss in front of the 10,184 fans at Swayze Field. The win was South Carolina’s 13th-consecutive.
The Rebels couldn’t find any rhythm on offense, and starting pitcher Andy Pagnozzi had a rough outing in the top of the first, allowing South Carolina to score three quick runs. Gene Cone scored off John Jones’ ground out to first base. Dom Thompson-Williams single down the right field line led to Alex Destino’s run across the dish. Jonah Bride, then, singled to second base which led to Thompson-Williams’ unearned score and before Ole Miss could get an opportunity at bat, it was looking at a 3-0 deficit on the scoreboard.
In the past, the Rebels (20-5, 2-4) have outscored their opponents in the first inning, 31-8. But in the third game between two top 25 programs, the Gamecocks were the group who struck first and never looked back. South Carolina sealed the win in the bottom of the fifth off of Bride’s single to second base, which led to Thompson-Williams’ unearned score. Adam Hill (5-0) pitched six innings, giving up only four hits with a 1.57 ERA.
Afterwards, Bianco commented on his team’s performance:
Ole Miss Head Coach, Mike Bianco
Ole Miss falls to 3-1 after trailing after the first inning and 3-4 overall against top 25 opponents this season. The three top 25 wins were against No. 2 Louisville (two) and No. 18 Coastal Carolina.
Wyatt Short notches career high innings pitched
Pagnozzi (4-1) pitched for 3.1 innings before Bianco took him out at the top of the fourth for Wyatt Short. Short, who is one of the primary closers for the Rebels, was called upon early to try and take control of the mound for Ole Miss. He didn’t disappoint. Short, who threw 66 pitches, retired his first 11 batters.
Short admitted he was ready for the task at hand. He was told in advance by Bianco there was a possibility he could go in earlier than expected.
“I felt good; I felt good the whole time,” Short said. “You just got to learn from your mistakes and forget it.”
Short allowed only one hit, and his outing was the longest by a Rebel reliever since April, 2015 when Scott Weathersby went 6.0 innings in Ole Miss’ 16-inning win over No. 1 Vanderbilt.
As for Pagnozzi, he was told on Tuesday during practice he would start on Saturday in replace of Sean Johnson. Johnson wasn’t on the dress list for the series against South Carolina, but he has not been ruled out for next week’s game at Memphis and the team’s upcoming three-game series trip to Starkville to take on Mississippi State.
“Really didn’t have all my stuff there in the location and they could hit,” Pagnozzi said about after the game. “I was ready to come out here and see what I got; it didn’t go quite how we wanted.”
Rebels travel to Memphis on Wednesday (6:30 p.m. CST).