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No. 10 Ole Miss cruises past Wright State in season opener, 10-1

No. 10 Ole Miss cruises past Wright State in season opener, 10-1

OXFORD, MISS – The No. 10 Ole Miss baseball team began its 2019 campaign with an opening day, 10-1 win over the Wright State Raiders. The victory gives head coach Mike Bianco an 18-1 record in the Rebels’ season debuts.

(Click here for box score.)

Will Ethridge went 5.2 scoreless innings. (Photo: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss.)

Friday night starter Will Ethridge gets the win, setting the tone for what was a great performance from the Ole Miss pitching staff.

After going 5.2 innings and 82 pitches, Ethridge’s line included 4 hits, 5 strikeouts, 2 walks, and most importantly, zero runs. 

Austin Miller relieved Ethridge for the final out of the fifth inning and then went the rest of the game. Miller only gave up one run over 3.1 innings and looked very solid out of the bullpen, throwing a nice mix of pitches. His final line was 3 hits, 1 run, 2 strikeouts and 0 walks.

Because Miller remained for over three innings, he earns the save–the first of his career in his first opportunity.

Rebels start hot and never look back

In the first inning, Tyler Keenan got things started quickly as he blasted a ball to left center field to give the Rebels their first lead and first home run of the season. 

Cooper Johnson brought an incredible performance to the plate to open his junior season. The talented catcher came out ready to go this evening as he went 3 for 4 at the plate with 2 RBIs—plus a massive home run to dead center field in the bottom of the 2nd inning. 

Johnson added his second RBI of the game in the 4th inning when his single to the left side scored Ryan Olenek, giving the Rebels a 3-0 lead. 

Although Olenek exited midway through the game after being hit in the hand by Wright State’s pitcher, the senior notched two 2 runs in his 2019 debut, before giving way to sophomore center fielder Carl Gindl. 

The Rebels’ scoring did not stop there as RBIs from Grae Kessinger, Thomas Dillard, and Keenan gave Ole Miss an 8-0 lead in the 6th inning. 

In the bottom of the eighth, the Rebels added another run to their total as captain Michael Fitzsimmons brought in backup second baseman Justin Bench, giving Ole Miss a 9-1 lead. 

It did not end there as Cole Zabowski’s RBI brought home Josh Hall and gave Ole Miss a huge 10-1 lead which wound up being the final score from Swayze Field. 

Quick Hits

  • Ole Miss improves to 18-1 in season openers under Mike Bianco.
  • Ole Miss is now 25-1 since the beginning of 2018 versus non-SEC opponents.
  • The Rebels also improve to 7-3 all-time against the Raiders.
  • Junior catcher Cooper Johnson notched a new career high in hits with three, including a homer in the second, just the third of his career. Johnson was a triple shy of the cycle.
  • Junior reliever Austin Miller set a new career high in innings pitched with 3.1 in relief of Ethridge.
  • Thomas Dillard had his seventh career three-hit game on Friday with two singles and an RBI double in the sixth.
  • Junior Will Ethridge went 5.2 innings in his first start since his freshman year without giving up a single run.
  • Reigning Freshman All-American Tyler Keenan added to his hitting prowess with the Rebels’ first home run of 2019, a solo shot to left-center.
  • Sophomore Anthony Servideo entered today with just one stolen base, but tripled his career total with two swiped bags on the basepath today.
  • Freshman Justin Bench made his Rebel debut today with an entry at second base in the eighth inning, and recorded his first career run on a Michael Fitzsimmons RBI single.
  • Freshmen Josh Hall and Knox Loposer also made their Rebel debuts today.

(“Quick Hits” are courtesy of Ole Miss Baseball.)

Next Up: 

Ole Miss returns to Swayze Saturday for game two of the opening series versus Wright State. First Pitch is scheduled for Noon (CT), and the game will be televised on the SEC Network +.

About The Author

Archie Breland

Archie has been an Ole Miss fanatic since day one. Born in Denver, Colorado, he has a passion for everything Ole Miss and loves to be part of the great gameday experience. He is currently a freshman at the University of Mississippi and is studying the field of Journalism and Law. Archie played football in high school and also has extensive knowledge of all things college athletics.

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