Quality pitching, timely hits help Ole Miss defeat Long Beach State, 7-2, in first game of series
OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss defeated Long Beach State, 7-2, at Swayze Friday night to improve to 6-2 on the young season. (Click here for box score.)
The win puts the Rebels up 1-0 over LBSU (0-8) in the series, and the two teams will head back out to the diamond for a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 1:30 p.m. (CT).
Ethridge solid in return to action
Will Ethridge, returning from a one-week layoff due to a blister on his throwing hand, got his second start of the season and handled the Long Beach Dirtbags easily in limited time on the mound.
Ethridge’s velocity sat in the low 90s on the fastball which is right where he wants to be as the Friday night ace.
After throwing just 32 total pitches, the junior had retired 9 of the 11 batters he faced while putting a big zero in the runs column.
The Rebels’ right-hander notched two strikeouts in his short outing and only gave up two hits—one of which was a bunt. For precautionary reasons, Ethridge’s time was limited, and the staff will look to slowly bring him back to his full capacity.
Houston Roth came in after Ethridge, and while he didn’t have his most productive outing he was still able to limit the damage to just two runs in the fourth inning before settling in in the fifth where he tallied a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two.
Miller shines out of the bullpen
After his 37 total pitches, Roth handed the ball to Austin Miller in the top of the sixth inning. Miller was excellent out of the bullpen—as he has been in his previous three appearances. He threw 4.0 huge innings on the night with zero runs given up.
Miller’s line included three strikeouts with only one hit given up. He earned the save in the Rebels’ sixth win of the year and now has an ERA sitting at 0.87.
While Long Beach State is no SEC team when it comes to hitting (10 runs in 7 games with a .156 batting average), the Dirtbags definitely presented an opportunity for the Ole Miss pitching staff to get some quality time before they take on more formidable competition in the coming weeks.
Offense gets the job done
Ole Miss scored two runs in the first, one in the second, and one in the third before the bats went somewhat silent until the eighth inning when a pair of RBI singles from Jacob Adams and Grae Kessinger added two more runs to the Rebels’ total.
Adams finished 2-3 with with two RBI, while Thomas Dillard went 2-3 with one RBI.
Ole Miss notched nine hits on the night and went 5 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
Dillard (.500) and Ryan Olenek (.452) are hitting at other-worldly clips, and the lineup will be formidable as the season continues.
Ole Miss and Long Beach State will play a double-header tomorrow. Zack Phillips will likely start the first game for the Rebels, while Gunnar Hoglund will take the mound in the second.
Game One is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. and the second game is set to commence 45 minutes after the end of the first.
Both will be available on the SEC Network +.