Rebels hit Mitchell hard in series opener

MITCHELL

MITCHELL

By Logan Lowery

Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – The largest on-campus crowd to ever witness a college baseball game on a Friday night saw No. 19 Ole Miss scratch across five runs in its first four at bats.

The offensive outburst against Mississippi State All-American Ross Mitchell was enough to push the Rebels past the 17th-ranked Bulldogs 6-1 in front of 13,224 fans at Dudy Noble Field. The attendance was the seventh-most in NCAA history.

“We just wanted to see the ball well,” said Ole Miss shortstop Errol Robinson. “(Mitchell is) a good pitcher and a soft-tossing lefty. We wanted to move up in the box, see it deep and try to drive the ball the other way.”

The strategy worked as Ole Miss stacked up 13 hits during Mitchell’s 8 2/3 innings on the mound. Braxton Lee led the Rebels at the plate going 2-for-5 with two doubles and a pair of RBI.

Austin Bousfield was also 2-for-5 with a double and Brantley Bell went 2-for-3 with a double. Robinson and Sikes Orvis were each 2-for-4 with Orvis driving in a pair.

“I made some poor pitches and I paid for it,” Mitchell said. “There were a couple of good pitches that they got hits on. They had a good game and I tip my cap to them. They had a good approach.”

It was the seventh consecutive victory for Ole Miss, who improved to 28-8 on the year and 8-5 in conference play.

Chris Ellis improved to 5-0 on the mound going 6 2/3 innings allowing a run on eight hits with two strikeouts and a walk.

Mitchell fell to 5-3 giving up six runs on 13 hits with five strikeouts and a pair of walks.

“(Mitchell is) a soft-throwing left-hander who lives at the bottom of the zone with an array of pitches,” said Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco. “You’ve got to lay off those pitches. Our guys did an excellent job tonight.

“You’re never going to bang him around. That’s not going to happen, but we hit him as well as you can.”

The Diamond Dogs finished with 10 hits led by Matthew Britton’s 2-for-3 evening with a pair of singles.

Seth Heck and Derrick Armstrong were 2-for-4 at the dish as MSU dropped to 6-7 in the SEC and 21-14 overall.

The series resumes today at 3 p.m. on FSN. Junior right-hander Trevor Fitts (2-2, 3.41 ERA) takes the mound for the Bulldogs while Ole Miss counters with sophomore southpaw Christian Trent (4-0, 2.22 ERA).

logan.lowery@journalinc.com