Five runs in the fifth inning were all No. 8 Ole Miss needed to complete the midweek sweep over UAB. The Rebels (17-1) increased their winning streak to 12 games with the 5-1 win over the Blazers (6-11) Wednesday afternoon at Regions Field.
For the second straight day, a freshman dazzled as the Rebels’ starting pitcher. James McArthur (2-0) allowed just one run on five hits to pick up his second victory in as many starts. The tall right-hander also struck out five and did not surrender a walk for the third consecutive outing.
“We needed that today,” said head coach Mike Bianco regarding McArthur’s quality start. “With these last two starts, James seems to feel more comfortable out there. He’s looked more like he did in the fall, really commanding the game.”
Rebel relievers continued to impress with effective outings out of the bullpen. Freshman Connor Green tossed a pair of scoreless innings before classmate Andrew Lowe finished the game, pitching the final two frames without allowing a run. The Ole Miss bullpen has now surrendered just one earned run over the past 10 games (35.0 innings).
Ole Miss drew nine walks throughout the ballgame, including six in the five-run fifth inning. Seven different Rebels recorded one hit apiece.
UAB starting pitcher Stephen Baggett (0-2) kept getting out of jams in the first four innings, but he left the game after four straight walks in the fifth. As a team, the Blazers mustered six hits, led by a pair from right fielder Griffin Gum.
Ole Miss posed a threat right off the bat as Will Golsan and Errol Robinson singled on the first pitch of their respective plate appearances. J.B. Woodman advanced his two teammates into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, and Tate Blackman walked to load the bases. However, UAB was able to get out of the inning without a run crossing the plate.
The Rebels began the fourth with a pair of hits, but Baggett erased the scoring opportunity. With their starting pitcher keeping Ole Miss off the scoreboard, the Blazers tallied the game’s first run in the bottom half of the frame. A single up the middle followed by a double down the left field line started things off. A groundout to shortstop scored the runner from third, but McArthur calmed down to retire the final two batters. Through four innings, the home team was out in front, 1-0.
UAB’s lead did not last long as Ole Miss put up a five-spot in the top of the fifth. The inning was an unusual one as the Rebels plated all five runs without recording a hit. The Rebels used their patience at the dish to draw five consecutive walks and flip the script, putting them up by one. Ryan Olenek’s sacrifice fly doubled the lead before two more Rebels crossed the plate on wild pitches. When the dust settled, six walks and a pair of wild pitches gave Ole Miss a 5-1 advantage.
After his team gave the cushion of a four-run lead, McArthur finished his outing by tossing a scoreless fifth inning. He turned the remainder of the game over to his fellow freshmen, Green and Lowe, who allowed just one hit over four scoreless innings to secure another victory for the Red and Blue.
Up next, the Rebels will open up Southeastern Conference play with a three-game tilt against Tennessee, March 18-20. The conference opener is set for Friday night at 6 p.m. CT. Ole Miss will battle the Volunteers in game two of the series Saturday at 3 p.m. CT before wrapping things up on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT. All three games will be broadcast on SECN+ and can also be heard on the Ole Miss IMG Sports Network.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports