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Diamond Rebs Sweep FIU Panthers

Ole Miss defeats the FIU Panthers 16-5. Hottytoddy.com photo
Ole Miss defeats the FIU Panthers 16-5. Hottytoddy.com photo

The bats remained on fire for the No. 24 Ole Miss baseball team as the Rebels scored nine runs in the bottom of the first en route to a 16-5 win over Florida International Sunday afternoon. The victory secured the Rebels (3-0) a three-game sweep to begin the season.

Ole Miss is off to a 3-0 start for the fourth time in the past six seasons, and ninth overall under head coach Mike Bianco.

Every Rebel in the starting lineup recorded at least one hit at the plate. Ole Miss scored 16 runs on 12 hits, led Tate Blackman, Will Golsan and J.B. Woodman with two hits apiece. Blackman capped off an impressive start to his sophomore campaign with his third straight multi-hit game, and Woodman belted a three-run homer for his first of the season. Making his first start as a Rebel, freshman shortstop Ryan Olenek tallied a team-high four RBI.

On the mound, Sean Johnson (1-0) pitched five innings in his first action since undergoing Tommy John surgery last season. The redshirt-junior allowed four runs (two earned) on seven hits and two walks, while striking out five.

For the Panthers, Garrett Cave (0-1) was pulled with one out in the first and suffered the loss. Both Austin Rodriguez and Nick Day went 2-for-3 at the dish, with Day hitting a two-run home run in the fourth inning.

FIU took advantage of a few Rebel miscues and scored twice in the first inning. An error, a wild pitch and a passed ball gave the Panthers the early lead. Irving Lopez crossed the dish on a fielder’s choice before a wild pitch scored Jack Schaaf.

The first deficit of the season did not bother the Rebels as they responded without hesitation. For the second time this weekend, Golsan stepped up to the plate with bases loaded. After clearing the bases with a three-RBI double yesterday, Golsan ripped a two-RBI single up the middle and sent Woodman and Colby Bortles across the dish to tie the score at 2-2. Senior Holt Perdzock’s single through the right side put another two runs on the board, scoring Henri Lartigue and Golsan to give the Rebels a 4-2 edge.

The runs didn’t stop at four. Olenek made his mark with his first career at-bat and gave the Ole Miss another run on a fielder’s choice. Connor Cloyd hit the third single of the inning that sent Olenek in and brought the score to 6-2. Six runs weren’t enough for Woodman, who stepped up to the dish and went yard. The three-run homer to right gave the Rebels a 9-2 edge to end the first inning.

FIU remained quiet in the second, but the Rebels bats were still going. Olenek continued his debut with a two-RBI double to deep left field. The Ole Miss lead remained 11-2 until the fourth inning.

Day, FIU’s first baseman, hit the second home run of the day. The two-run homer brought the score to 11-4, still in favor of the Rebels.

Once again, Ole Miss responded with the bats. Blackman roped an RBI double to right-center field and scored a pair of Rebels. Olenek tallied another RBI on a fielder’s choice when Blackman crossed the dish on his groundout to second. The extra three runs pushed the Ole Miss lead to double digits, 14-4.

Brady Feigl and Brian Browning each made debut appearances on the mound in the sixth and seventh innings, consecutively. Both pitchers held FIU scoreless. On the other side, the Rebels sent two more runs home in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Connor Green took the mound for the Rebels in the top of the eighth, making his collegiate debut. Ole Miss held a 16-4 edge until FIU scored on a fielder’s choice as the Rebels turned a double play.

Will Stokes headed to the mound in the top of the ninth inning. The sophomore reached 95 mph on the radar gun and threw a scoreless inning as the Rebels completed the opening weekend sweep with a 16-5 win over FIU.

The Rebels return for action in midweek play Tuesday, February 23, against Arkansas State. The two teams will square off at 4p.m. at Swayze Field. Fans can catch the action on SECNetwork+ or the WatchESPN app.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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