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Rebels Hand No. 2 Louisville First Loss of Season

Ole Miss defeated the Cardinals 6-5.
Ole Miss defeated the Cardinals 6-5.

No. 21 Ole Miss remained undefeated on the 2016 season as the Rebels (5-0) took down No. 2 Louisville, 6-5, in the first game of the weekend series at Swayze Field. The Rebels used a four-run fourth inning off Louisville ace Kyle Funkhouser (1-1) to hand the Cardinals (4-1) their first setback of the year.

Redshirt-junior Brady Bramlett (2-0) earned the victory on the mound, striking out eight and limiting the high-powered Louisville offense to three runs in five innings. Coming into the contest, the Cardinals were averaging over 14 runs per game. Bramlett picked up his second win of the season before junior Wyatt Short (2) added his second save of 2016. Short’s save brings his career saves to 15, placing him one away from tying Jake Morgan for fifth on the Ole Miss all-time list.

At the dish, sophomore Tate Blackman extended his hitting streak to five games with a 1-for-3 performance. Will Golsan also continued to make his mark, stepping up to the plate for the third time in five games with the bases loaded and hit for a RBI. As a team, Ole Miss recorded six hits, but drew eight walks throughout the night. In six plate appearances with the bases loaded, the Rebels knocked in four runs, all during the fourth inning.

For the fourth time in five games, Ole Miss scored multiple runs in the first inning. J.B. Woodman stepped up to the plate against Funkhouser (1-1) and went yard for his second home run of the season. Errol Robinson, who previously reached on a walk, crossed the dish on the two-run homer.

The 2-0 Ole Miss lead remained until the fourth inning when Louisville matched the Woodman home run with one of its own. Sophomore third baseman Blake Tiberi knocked a solo homer to bring the score to 2-1, cutting the Ole Miss lead in half.

The Rebels took advantage of a tough outing for Funkhouser, who walked four during the bottom of the fourth. Woodman, Bortles and Blackman were each earned RBI walks. For the third time this season, Golsan stepped up to the plate with bases loaded and stroked a RBI-single that scored the fourth Ole Miss run of the inning for 6-1 Rebel lead.

Despite the five-run deficit, the Cardinals did not go away quietly, immediately slicing into the Ole Miss advantage. Tiberi came through for Louisville once again with a RBI-double down the left field line. Catcher Will Smith grounded out to second base, but Brendan McKay still managed to score on the fielder’s choice.

David Parkinson took over for Bramlett on the mound in the top of the sixth inning with Ole Miss ahead, 6-3. Both teams went scoreless until the top of the seventh inning when Nick Solak brought the margin to two after a passed ball allowed him to reach home.

Louisville cut the Ole Miss lead down to one run in the top of the eighth inning. Corey Ray doubled down the right side to score right fielder Colin Lyman. However, Short entered the game and kept the Rebels in front, getting out of the eighth inning jam and closing the game in the ninth to secure the Ole Miss victory.

No. 21 Ole Miss and No. 2 Louisville return to Swayze field tomorrow afternoon, Feb. 27, for game two of the weekend series. First pitch is set for 1:30 p.m. as Rebel right-hander Chad Smith faces off against Louisville southpaw Brendan McKay. As always, fans can catch the action on SEC Network+ and the WatchESPN app.

For the latest news and updates involving Ole Miss Baseball, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissBSB, on Facebook at Ole Miss Baseball and on Instagram at olemissbsb.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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