With over 6,000 children in attendance for the annual School Day at Swayze Field Tuesday morning, Ole Miss powered past UT Martin, 8-2. The Rebels (20-2) blasted three home runs to pick up their 20th win of the season.
The victory improves the Rebels' record to 20-2 for the first time in school history. That mark is a program best through the first 22 games of a season.
The Rebel bats helped the team pick up the victory as Tate Blackman, Colby Bortles and Cameron Dishon each hit a home run. The three Rebels recorded two hits apiece to combine for six of the team's seven hits.
Freshman James McArthur (3-0) also played a key role on the mound, earning his third straight victory in as many starts. McArthur threw 5.0 innings, allowing only four hits and striking out a career-high seven. Out of the bullpen, a trio of freshman kept the Skyhawks (7-14) scoreless; Connor Green tossed 2.1 innings, Dallas Woolfolk pitched 1.0 inning of work, and Andrew Lowe retired both batters he faced for the final out of the game.
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UT Martin scored its only runs of the day on a two-run home run by designated hitter Austin Taylor. Leadoff hitter Fletcher Johnson paced the visitors with a 3-for-5 day at the plat, but Ole Miss sent 12 Skyhawks down on strikes throughout the game. All four of UT Martin's pitchers allowed at least one run, including starter Jake Patzner (1-2) who surrendered three in 2.1 innings.
Taylor's homer put the Skyhawks up 2-0 in the first frame, but Blackman stepped up to the dish and ripped his second home run of the season to tie the game in the bottom of the second. Blackman's two-run shot scored Bortles, after he was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Later in the frame, Dishon singled up the middle to plate Ryan Olenek and put Ole Miss up 3-2 after two complete innings of play.
Neither team scored again until Bortles took his turn at the dish in the bottom of the fifth inning. The sophomore belted a solo home run extended the Rebel lead to 4-2.
In the Rebels' last at-bats of the day, they scored four more times. With two on, pinch hitter Michael Fitzimmons singled up the middle for a RBI, scoring Bortles before Blackman raced home on a throwing error by the Skyhawks' center fielder. Continuing to pile on the runs, Dishon homered to left field for a two-run shot that increased the margin to six. The fourth home run of the day, and third for the Rebels, lifted Ole Miss to a final score of 8-2 over UT Martin.
After the midweek, Ole Miss will have one day off before returning to the diamond. No. 10 South Carolina comes to town for the Rebels' first SEC home weekend and matchup between two top-10 teams. The series begins Thursday night (March 24) at 6:30 p.m. CT. Friday's first pitch is also scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on SECN+. On Saturday at 2 p.m., the series finale against the Gamecocks will be broadcast on SEC Network, the Rebels' first of 10 games on national television this season.