Ole Miss bats heat up on a chilly night
Tate Blackman drove in three runs and Ryan Rolison pitched six shutout innings Tuesday as Ole Miss made its debut in MGM Park a successful one, defeating Nicholls 5-0.
Ole Miss improved to 12-5 while Nicholls fell to 9-7.
“This was a good way to end our non-conference slate before we start non-conference play this weekend,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “It was perhaps our most complete game of the year, continuing to pitch at a high level. We swung it really well — the first time with double digit hits and two home runs. Defensively we were very clean with some great plays in left field (by Bryan Seamster).”
Blackman staked Ole Miss to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when he hit his first homer of the season, a two-run shot to left.
Blackman upped the lead to 3-0 with a RBI triple to right in the third, Ole Miss’ first triple of the season. The triple drove in Will Golsan, who singled and then advanced on two wild pitches. Then Colby Bortles followed with a sacrifice fly to right for a 4-0 advantage.
“The wind helped on my ball, I guess,” Blackman said. “It’s a good sign to see before SEC play our bats come alive again. I was pleased with how we swung the bats today.
“It was a 1-2 count (on the homer) and he brought it in on me. I stayed loose and trusted my hands. I got my barrel there and the wind helped the rest of the way. We are free swingers and when we connect, it goes.”
Thomas Dillard slammed a solo homer to left-center to open the sixth inning, pushing the Rebels’ lead to 5-0..
Rolison (3-0) gave up four hits and one walk while striking out seven. Ole Miss starting pitching has not given up a run in the last 43 2/3 innings.
Connor Green, Houston Roth and Sean Johnson worked the final three shutout innings.
Golson, Dillard, Blackman and Seamster each had two hits.
Kyle Craft (0-2) took the loss, giving up four runs and five hits in three innings.
“This was Ryan’s second start in his career as a true freshman and second time he hasn’t given up any runs,” Bianco said. “I’m proud of him. He continues to get better and better.
“I thought it was a good swing and good approach (by Blackman). When it came off his bat, I was hoping it would get over his head. But he got enough of it to get out of here. Dillard on the other hand, that was an absolute missile. He can hit it as far as anybody.”
Ole Miss, which hosts Vanderbilt on Friday to open SEC play, announced Tuesday’s attendance as 3,064. Tuesday’s game was the first time the Rebels have played on the Coast since 1911.