Thursday, March 30, 2023

Rebels Rally to Beat ASU 4-3

The No. 21 Ole Miss baseball team rallied from behind with a run in each of the last two innings Wednesday night, keeping its perfect season intact. A Cameron Dishon sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth scored pinch-runner Ray Alejo to lift the Rebels (4-0) to a 4-3 victory over Arkansas State at Swayze Field.

The win over the Red Wolves (2-2) marks the seventh straight Ole Miss victory when the two opponents have faced off against each other.

Sophomore Tate Blackman continued to shine at the plate with his fourth straight multi-hit game. The second baseman reached base all four times he stepped up to the dish, drawing a pair of walks to go along with his two hits. Blackman’s two-out single in the bottom of the eighth tied the game and gave Ole Miss life late in the contest.

On the mound, freshman James McArthur saw his first start as an Ole Miss Rebel, and classmate Dallas Woolfolk (1-0) picked up his first career win. Fellow freshman Andy Pagnozzi tossed three innings of relief and posted a career-high five strikeouts. As a pitching staff, the Rebel arms struck out a season-high 12 hitters.

Six Red Wolves recorded one hit apiece for Arkansas State, but three errors in the field led to a trio of Ole Miss runs. Redshirt-senior Cody Jackson gave up two unearned runs over five innings as the ASU starting pitcher.

After rescheduling the first midweek game of the season, Ole Miss stepped onto Swayze Field to take on non-conference foe Arkansas State with McArthur on the mound.

The Red Wolves put the first runs on the board, scoring twice in the second inning. The first run was scored on a bases-loaded single hit by Ty White. Joe Schrimpf was walked with bases loaded to score the second run, but McArthur was able to get the Rebels out of the jam without any further damage.

Ole Miss fought back without wasting any time. In the bottom of the third inning, the Rebels evened the score after a dropped fly ball in right field. Colby Bortles and Blackman each crossed the dish before Henri Lartigue was thrown out trying to reach third.

Pagnozzi entered the game in the top of the fourth and made his mark by tossing a career-high three relief innings keeping the Red Wolves off the scoreboard.

The Rebels and the Red Wolves remained knotted at two runs apiece until Austin Baker hit a RBI single to right field and gave Arkansas State a 3-2 edge in the seventh.

One inning later, Blackman continued to swing a hot bat with a RBI single through the left side that sent Kyle Watson across the dish. The clutch two-out hit knotted the contest at 3-3.

After Woolfolk retired the side in the top of the ninth, Ole Miss loaded the bases as all three Rebels reached to start the inning. On his birthday, Lartigue roped a double down the left field line. Ryan Olenek followed the double with a sac bunt, but remained at first after an errant throw caused the ASU first baseman to drop the ball.

With the winning run 90 feet away, head coach Mike Bianco opted to put more speed on the base path, sending in the freshman Alejo to pinch run for Lartigue. After the switch, ASU intentionally walked senior Connor Cloyd to set up a force at any base. However, with no outs, a fly ball to the outfield was all Ole Miss needed to secure the comeback victory. Dishon seized the opportunity and did his job, lifting a ball to left field that was deep enough to plate Alejo and send the Rebel dugout onto the field for the walk-off celebration.

The Ole Miss baseball team returns to action this Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. to take on No. 2 Louisville at Swayze Field. Tickets are still available for the big non-conference matchups between a pair of top-25 teams. As always, fans can catch the action on SEC Network+.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports