On a great Sunday afternoon in February at Swayze Field, Ole Miss battled back and fourth with the Georgia State Panthers, but in the end the Rebels came up on the losing end by the score of 6-4.
Ole Miss (6-1) came out strong against the Panthers matching them run for run. The scoring began in the top of the first inning as GSU opened the game off with back-to-back singles to right field by Chad Prain and Caden Bailey off of Sam Smith, the Rebels’ starter. Then two batters later, Chase Raffield doubled to left field allowing both runners to score.
Ole Miss’ starter, Sam Smith, pitched a total of 5.1 innings, with three runs given up on nine hits. Smith struck out four Panther’s batters. After a tough first inning, Smith was able to settle in for the next four frames, not giving up another run until the fifth.
“It was tough on all the pitchers today,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “They are very good offensively, and it was just a tough day to pitch. Sam (Smith) really battled, but they got a lot of good swings off today throughout the game. Sam gave us a chance to win just like he always does on Sunday, leaving the game with the lead. I’m proud of him for hanging in there, but it just wasn’t our day.”
It did not take the Rebels long to answer as Braxton Lee got on base by getting hit by the pitch. Lee then got into scoring position by stealing second. Austin Anderson worked the count and got awarded first base by a walk. Then Will Allen would bring Lee and Anderson home off of a two-RBI double to left field.
Allen went two-for-four in the game with two hits and two RBI.
Ole Miss would then go ahead of Georgia State in the second inning, as Colby Bortles led off the inning with a triple to left field. Will Jamison brought Bortles home on a RBI single to right.
Both teams matched each other with a run in the fifth inning. The Panthers run came in the form of Ryan Blanton when Chris Triplett was able to bring him in off of a triple to right field.
Ole Miss scratched their last run in the game when Errol Robinson led off the bottom of the fifth with a single to right. Anderson then drove the ball to right field allowing Robinson to come in from second base.
Coach Bianco went to the bullpen for a total of three times on the afternoon and called on the arms of Wyatt Short, Cheyne Bickel and Aaron Greenwood. Bickel picked up his first loss on the season as he gave up the home run to Triplett.
Georgia State would then add the final three runs to their total. Two runs came in the seventh inning as Chris Triplett hit a two-run home run to left field. The Panthers added an insurance run in the eighth inning off of a line drive home run by Blanton.
Triplett had a good day at the plate as he went three-for-five scoring one run and three RBI.
Georgia State’s starter, Matt Rose (1-0), worked nine innings, giving up a total of eight hits, on four runs and struck out four of the Rebel hitters.
Ole Miss will return to the diamond of Swayze Field on Tuesday to play host to Louisiana Monroe in a two-game midweek series. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.
— Adam Brown, Sports Editor of HottyToddy.com
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