No. 9 Diamond Rebels Sweep Winthrop to Open the 2018 Season

Grae Kessinger plates the go-ahead and winning run in the bottom of the seventh against Winthrop. Photo by Steven Gagliano

No. 9 Ole Miss completed a series sweep over the Winthrop Eagles on Sunday by a score of 3-1.

The Rebels (3-0) used a different type of game from the first two meetings as a pitchers’ duel broke out through the first three innings of play. James McArthur got into a bit of a jam in the top of the first with bases loaded. He settled in and struck out Grant English to end the side.

“We reminded the guys of how we got here,” Ole Miss Head Coach Mike Bianco said after the game. “We didn’t talk about sweeping Winthrop. We talked about playing better and getting to Omaha and all these bigger goals. So you have to be happy when you win three, especially on one of these pitching and defense battle days when they are pitching their ace on Sunday.”

In Sunday’s game, Winthrop took its first lead of the weekend in the top of the fourth inning off of a throwing error by McArthur that played Jake Sullivan from third base.

The Rebels quickly answered in the home half of the frame off of a sacrifice fly by Ryan Olenek, who scored Will Golsan from third base.

McArthur, in his season debut, struck out seven batters and walked three, allowing four hits and one run in five innings of work.

The Eagles’ starter, Nick Pawelczyk, worked six innings, striking out four Rebels and allowing one hit and one run.

Grae Kessinger broke the tied-up game by delivering a two-run infield single in the bottom of the seventh. Tim Elko and Jacob Adams both came in to score.

“With two strikes, he (Kessinger) puts the ball in play,” Bianco said. “That was huge for us. Last year there were times when he didn’t do that with a guy at third, and we could not get him in, and he comes up with a big base hit.”

Once McArthur’s day was complete, Ole Miss brought in Jordan Fowler to pitch for two innings and Will Ethridge for an inning, before Dallas Woolfolk entered the game to shut the door on the Eagles. Fowler picked up his first win of the 2018 campaign, and Woolfolk got the save.

Ole Miss returns to the diamond on Tuesday as they play host to the Memphis Tigers. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.

Game One Wrap-Up

The Rebels picked up their first win of the season, 7-3, with a strong performance by sophomore ace Ryan Rolison and key hits by Ole Miss batters.

Ole Miss got the first two runs to cross the plate on a double from freshman third baseman Tyler Keenan, who made his debut in a Rebel uniform. In the eighth inning, he knocked in Thomas Dillard from third base with an infield hit.

Rolison lived up to his preseason accolades by recording 12 strikeouts in 5.0 innings of work. He tied Lance Lynn in 2008 with the most strikeouts in a season opener.

Tim Rowe got the long ball started for Ole Miss in the third inning with a three-run shot, pushing the Rebels’ lead out to 5-0.

Dillard went 3-4 at the plate on the night and matched his career-high in hits.

Game Two Wrap-Up

Even though rain delayed the start of game 2 of the series, the Rebels’ bats did not cool off as Ole Miss came away with an 8-1 victory on Saturday.

Cole Zabowski made his first start at first base and got the Rebels on the scoreboard in the second inning, knocking out a three-run moon-shot home run.

Senior Will Golsan hit a two-out double in the sixth inning that plated two more runs, pushing the score to 6-0.

Brady Feigl continued to give the Eagle batters trouble. He worked six innings, struck out six batters and only allowed one walk.


Adam Brown is the sports editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at adam.brown@hottytoddy.com.

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