By Adam Brown
Ole Miss offense has a big third inning with four runs to defeat the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks 6-3 on Friday to advance into the winners’ bracket of the Oxford Regional.
“Proud of the way we played tonight with a performance by Derek (Diamond) on the mound and Tim Elko … at the plate,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said.
Southeast Missouri State’s southpaw Dylan Dodds was hard to hit in the first two frames. Dodd made quick work with only 16 pitches.
“Dylan gave us a good push,” SEMO head coach Andy Swayers said.
The Rebels captain Tim Elko put a charge into his 14th home run of the season that he sent to the student section in right field. The blast was a grand slam that broke the contest open. Ole Miss went up 4-0.
“They got the bases loaded, and I threw a fastball away and (Elko) got a good swing on it,” Dodd said.
Ole Miss’s (42-19) starter Diamond kept the Redhawks off the board in the first four innings on the bump.
SEMO made a push to get a run across in the third inning with two outs as Connor Basler got stranded at third. The Rebels right fielder John Rhys Plumlee made a diving grab to end the frame and close the door on the Redhawks.
In the fifth, the Redhawks scratched for two runs as Basler delivered a one-out double. Two sluggers later, Tyler Wilber drew a walk and both would score on base knocks by Danny Wright and Andrew Keck.
Diamond worked 4.1 innings while surrendering a run on two hits against the Redhawks. Diamond recorded five strikeouts and three walks on the night.
Bianco made the call to the bullpen and called on the arm of freshman Jack Dougherty. Dougherty tossed 3.0 innings, allowing two runs on four hits with four strikeouts to pick up the win.
Ole Miss tacked on a run in the fifth and the sixth. In the fifth, TJ McCants sent a ball back up the box that scored Kevin Graham. An inning later, Peyton Chatagnier pushed the Rebels lead back up by four runs as Cael Baker scored from second base.
McCants finished the game going 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and an RBI.
Dodd worked 6.0 innings and surrendered six runs on 10 hits. He struck out a total of seven Ole Miss batters and allowed three free passes.
Southeast Missouri scored a run in the eighth, as Keck got aboard on a base knock and came in on a double off the barrel of Lincoln Andrews.
The Rebels turned to their closer Taylor Broadway in the eighth after the SEMO score. Broadway closed the door on the Redhawks in a 1.2 of work with three strikeouts. Broadway picked up his 14th save of the season. Broadway has the single-season record in saves.
Friday also saw the first game of the Oxford Regional between Southern Miss and Florida State. Florida State defeated Southern Miss 5-2. The Seminoles advanced into the winners’ bracket. FSU overcame a 2-0 deficit to the Southern Miss in the sixth on two home runs.
Ole Miss will take on Florida State at 5 p.m. on Saturday, and SEMO will take on Southern Miss at 11 a.m.