By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco says he wants his offense to put pressure on defenses this season.
That’s what the Rebels did Tuesday afternoon, although it took more than seven innings to get things done.
No. 16 Ole Miss surged ahead in a tie game with a five-run eighth inning and went on to defeat Memphis 7-2 before an announced crowd of 5,893 at Swayze Field.
The Rebels (6-1) won their fifth straight and are back in action tonight at 6:30 against Jackson State. It’s fan appreciation night, and admission is free.
The Tigers (3-4) got three hits in the second – the third from seven-hole hitter T.J. Rich after a sacrifice bunt moved the runners ahead – to take a 2-0 lead.
Ole Miss freshman Sam Smith settled in, but so did Memphis left-hander Michael Willis.
Matt Snyder doubled, and scored in the second, and Preston Overbey walked and scored in the third.
It remained 2-2 until Snyder’s single through the right side scored Austin Bousfield in the eighth.
Bousfield began the bottom of the inning with a basehit in a 3-2 count. He was bunted ahead by three-hole hitter Alex Yarbrough.
“It was a really well-played game and a well-pitched game,” Bianco said. “We were just able to put an inning together.”
Bousfield was the 10th batter in the eighth when he popped up to end the inning.
“We were able to put together nine quality at-bats in a row, which is kind of amazing after the previous seven innings when they pitched so well,” Bianco said. “We had some good fortune where some balls fell in, but we had some good at-bats as well.”
Dylan Chavez, the third Ole Miss pitcher, entered a 2-2 game with two on, one out in the seventh and pitched 22/3 innings of hitless, scoreless relief for the win.
The constant-pressure approach was on display in the eighth when Will Jamison, pinch-running for Snyder, went from first to third on a routine single to left field.
That put him in position to score easily when Will Allen’s line drive to right field was caught for the second out.
The Rebels tacked on three runs with two outs.
“Several times during the game we started runners, and you have to be able to do that. We have a few more guys in the lineup to do some of those things,” Bianco said.