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McDaniel’s Solid Night Leads Ole Miss to Crucial Midweek Victory Over No. 11 USM

by | May 11, 2022 | Baseball | 0 comments

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Ole Miss started a crucial road trip Wednesday with a midweek contest in Hattiesburg, defeating No. 11 Southern Miss 4-1.

The Rebels had been looking to avenge an earlier 10-7 loss to the Golden Eagles in Pearl while also boosting their RPI, which was 55 entering the night. Following the win, Ole Miss moved up to No. 49 in RPI.

Click here for box score. 

Overcoming a Slow Start

The Rebels got off to a slow start, managing just one hit through the first three innings of play, and found themselves in an early 1-0 hole after a second-inning homer from Chris Sargent. Tim Elko made a fantastic play at first base to help limit any further damage defensively.

Offense Hits Its Stride 

But Ole Miss wouldn’t stay down long. Jacob Gonzalez roped a single in the fourth and Kevin Graham would blast a two-run bomb to give the Rebels a 2-1 lead. The blast was his third home run in his last seven at-bats, and sixth hit in that stretch.

Kemp Alderman immediately followed Graham’s bomb with one of his own as the Rebels took a 3-1 lead on the back-to-back jacks.

Justin Bench talked about what it’s like having Alderman and Graham in the lineup.

They’re in the middle of our order and guys get on for them and they just hit in the air and hit it hard and it goes.

Justin Bench on Alderman and Graham

McDaniel Shows Grit

Ole Miss starter Drew McDaniel found himself in some trouble in the bottom half of the fourth, walking two and hitting a batter which loaded the bases for the Eagles with two outs. But he was able to induce a pop up into shallow left field to escape the jam and end the inning with the lead intact.

After the game, he talked about what was working for him against USM.

Just keeping the ball in the zone and throwing all four of my pitches in the strike zone and keeping them off balance is where I have found success, just keeping my pitches in the zone and making them put it in play.

Ole Miss pitcher Drew McDaniel

Insurance

The Rebels would put two runners in scoring position in their half of the fifth with one out, but Peyton Chatagnier would be thrown out at home on a Gonzalez ground ball to first for the second out.

But Elko wouldn’t let the Rebels end the inning empty handed as he drove a single the opposite way that scored Bench to give Ole Miss a 4-1 lead.

Defense Wins Championships

In the bottom of the fifth, Southern Miss had a runner at third with two away. Chris Sargent hit a slow roller that looked like it was going to be an infield single to score a run, but Bench made an incredible play to get the out and end the inning.

Shutting The Door

McDaniel’s night would be done after five solid innings, where he allowed just four hits, one earned run, two walks and struck out eight on 90 pitches.

Jackson Kimbrell, Josh Mallitz, and Brandon Johnson came on in relief and did not allow a run, preserving the Rebels three-run victory. The win was the fourth in a row for Ole Miss and brought their record against quadrant 1 opponents to 4-7.

Up Next:

The Rebels’ tough road trip continues, beginning on Friday as Ole Miss travels to Baton Rouge for a weekend series with No. 17 LSU. Friday’s first pitch is set for 7:30 p.m. CT on ESPN 2.

(Feature image credit: Ole Miss Athletics)

Austin Eldridge
Austin Eldridge

Austin has more than ten years in sports media, including sports talk radio, play-by-play broadcasting and journalism. He has followed Ole Miss athletics for his entire life and has covered the Rebels and the rest of the SEC while working in the Memphis media market. Outside of sports media, Austin is a musician and outdoorsman. Before a serious accident forced him to be medically discharged, he was a multi-media journalist with the Mississippi National Guard.

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