By Adam Brown
Ole Miss evened the series with an 8-6 victory over the No. 1 Louisville Cardinals on Saturday after a strong offensive performance at the dish.
Ole Miss (1-1) attacked the Cardinals pitching staff from the first inning as they strung together 12 hits, four doubles and three home runs.
Junior Cael Baker had a career day at the ballpark as he went 4-4 at the plate with two home runs, a double, single and four RBIs against the Cardinals. He was a triple away from the cycle.
Baker’s first home run came in the first inning that gave the Rebels an early three-run advantage.
“(Baker) is a great kid and what joy,” Bianco said. “He is fun, loves the game and is starting to feel a little more comfortable up there.”
Louisville (1-1) got going in the second inning as they cut into the lead on back-to-back doubles by Zach Britton and Henry Davis off of the Rebels’ starter Gunnar Hoglund. Hoglund settled in and struck out the next three batters.
“(Hoglund) was good today,” he said. “He really located his fastball really well.”
Freshman Peyton Chatagnier continued his success in an Ole Miss uniform as he picked up two hits a double in the first that scored Anthony Servideo. He also was driven in twice.
“(Chatagnier) has been like he was all fall and early spring,” Bianco said. “He is just fearless and another guy that loves the game. A lot of talent in this class but when you play that confidence and freedom, passion good things happen. Obviously he has gotten off to a great start and been a big plus for us.”
The Cardinals scratched across the tying run in the form of Levi Usher in the fifth who singled to left-center to open the frame.
Hoglund worked 5.1 innings on the bump as he allowed three runs on six hits. The sophomore fanned seven batters and gave up one free pass. He did not pick up the win but got a no-decision.
In the sixth inning, junior Tim Elko smashed his first home run of the 2020 season to right-center.
Louisville’s starter Bobby Miller logged 4.0 complete innings as he gave up three runs on five hits. He got five Ole Miss batters to go down on strikes with a walk.
Coach Dan McDonald then used three other pitchers to try and keep the game at bay. The second hurler out of the bullpen Jared Poland pitched the seventh inning and gave up the final three runs picked up the loss.
Bianco brought in Austin Miller in the sixth. He worked two complete innings only giving up a run to pick up the win.
The deciding game three of the series is Sunday at noon. Ole Miss will send to the mound freshman Derek Diamond.
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