By Adam Brown
No. 5 Ole Miss completed a sweep of the Charleston Southern Buccaneers on Sunday in dominating fashion, winning 12-2 at Swayze on opening weekend.
Ole Miss (3-0) opened up a tight game in the fifth inning, scoring eight runs capped off by a bomb to center off the bat of Kemp Alderman.
The Rebels offensive power continued with home runs. In the first inning, Kevin Graham belted his first home run of the season. Alderman hit a bomb to center field that put the Rebels up 11-1.
“Kevin is one of our guys,” Bianco said. “Today was his day as he got a hold of a fastball early and breaks the ice.”
Graham finished the day 2-for-3 with one run scored and for RBI.
Charleston Southern (0-3) got the first lead of the weekend on a solo home run off the bat of Connor Carter.
Junior right-hander Drew McDaniel settled in after the solo home run in the first. He didn’t allow a Buccaneer batter to get more than a base knock after the first.
“Overall on the weekend, I thought we pitched it well,” head coach Mike Bianco said. “Proud of Drew. I don’t think today was his best stuff. In the innings that they had some traffic on the bases, he competed and got off the field.”
McDaniel (1-0) worked 3.2 innings pitched allowed a run on two hits while he struck out four sluggers and walked two on his 2022 debut.
Ole Miss third baseman Justin Bench got a leadoff double in the fourth and scored on a Ben Van Cleve RBI ground out. Bench finished the day 1-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI.
The Rebels brought in true freshman Hunter Elliot into pitch in the fourth. Elliot tossed 1.1 allowed a walk in the four batters he faced. In the fifth, Dylan DeLucia made an appearance out of the bullpen then turned the game over to Jack Dougherty who retired five sluggers by strikeout in the final two innings.
“Proud of the new guys,” Bianco said. “To watch Hunter pound the strike zone and Dylan as well. It was good to get them in and get their feet wet. Of course, Jack was terrific.”
Charleston Southern’s last run came in the sixth inning. Ole Miss’ Knox Loposer brought in the 12th run of the game in the form of Alderman.
Ole Miss returns to action on Tuesday as they step back on the diamond of Swayze to play host to Arkansas State. The first pitch is set for 4 p.m. and can be streamed on SEC Network +.