No. 13 Ole Miss sweeps Grambling State in Sunday doubleheader
OXFORD – The Saturday rain delay didn’t have any effect on Ole Miss’ ability to come out and play efficiently against the same Grambling State team the Rebels pounded 15-2 on Friday night.
No. 13 Ole Miss started off a bit sluggish in both games on Sunday afternoon but garnered some timely runs to pull away from the Tigers in both meetings. With wins of 7-3 and 6-1 Sunday, the Rebels completed the three-game sweep inside Swayze Stadium.
Sunday Game 2: No. 13 Ole Miss – 6, Grambling State – 1
Pitching was an important key for the Rebels’ (15-1) surge in the second game with Sean Johnson on the mound. He only allowed three hits and one run and recorded two strikeouts in 3.2 innings.
Johnson admitted he felt confident on the mound despite being pulled early in the game.
Everything was there, I just wasn’t making pitches,” Johnson said. “I was spiking my fast ball, didn’t have control of my off speed. I just got to work through it. I tried to compete, tried to make some pitches. My defense was working behind me, just had to cut it off a little early.”
The Rebels separated themselves from Grambling State off Will Golsan’s score after Errol Robinson was caught trying to steal second base. J.B. Woodman’s third home run on the season put the Rebels up 2-0. Then a hot fifth inning that included a score by Robinson and another one by Woodman sealed the win and the sweep.
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco gave Grambling State credit for playing a tough game:
Notables: Ole Miss only allowed five hits in game two on Sunday and has now won 10 in a row. The Rebels’ last loss came against Louisville in February.
Sunday Game 1: Ole Miss – 7, Grambling State – 3
In a bit of a slow start Sunday, the favored Rebels saw the Tigers score two early runs to go ahead of the home team in the first game of the doubleheader. Tray Bell’s single through the middle allowed Wesley Drain to score. Malcom Boyce’s single to third base gave Darien Brown the trip to home base.
Ole Miss pitcher Chad Smith (2-1) allowed seven hits and three runs, but, most importantly, got his second win of the season. David Parkinson came in for Smith after the first five innings and allowed only one hit.
The Rebels quickly got things going in the bottom of the second with two scores from Colby Bortles and Tate Blackman. Ryan Olenek’s first career home run to left field was the highlight of the second inning and gave Ole Miss the 3-2 lead.
The Rebels’ next two scores were pivotal – one off Golsan’s single that led to Olenek’s score – and the memorable one being a home run by Bortles, which was his second of the season.
Wyatt Short picks up his fourth save
Grambling State tried to rally at the top of the sixth of game one with the bases loaded. Daniel Barnett scored off Bell’s single to center field to close the gap to four, but closing pitcher Wyatt Short struck out Andres Castillo and Boyce to end any possibility of a comeback.
Notables: Short recorded four saves, which placed him at 17 for his career and moved him into fifth place all-time for career saves. He is only one save shy of tying Scott Bittle for fourth-most in school history.
Tigers’ starting pitcher, Tanner Raiburn, has yet to win a game this season and fell to 0-3. After allowing eight hits, seven runs and two homeruns, Raiburn was replaced by Brennan Williams, who pitched 2.1 innings.
Rebels travel to UAB and will play Tuesday and Wednesday.
(Feature image credit: Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics – Game 2)