Special to the Journal
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Two excellent SEC baseball teams who hadn’t really played anybody finally played somebody when they met Friday night at Carolina Stadium.
Ole Miss (17-2, 1-0 SEC) got a grand slam from Auston Bousfield in the sixth inning for a 6-4 lead and the bullpen made it hold up against previously unbeaten South Carolina (16-1, 0-1 SEC) in the opening game of the three-game series.
“It was a great game between two great teams,” said Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco. “We just hung in there and Bousfield put a great swing on one and our pitching was just good enough. It’s a great way to get conference season started.”
Matt Denny, Aaron Greenwood, Wyatt Short and Josh Laxer no-hit the Gamecocks in relief of starter Chris Ellis over the final 32⁄3 innings.
Bousfield’s two-out grand slam came off starter Jordan Montgomery.
“They had been pitching me inside,” Bousfield said. “It was a fastball inside, and I got enough of it. You never know against a team that good whether that lead would hold up, but our bullpen has been great all year, so it didn’t surprise me that it did.”
Because of rain anticipated on Sunday, the teams will play two nine-inning games today, starting at 2 p.m.
Ellis found himself in a battle from the start and left after allowing four runs on 10 hits through 51⁄3 innings.
He was fortunate to last that long after using 43 pitches to get through the first two innings.
“Chris battled,” Bianco said. “We didn’t help him with some fielding mistakes.”
Max Schrock hit a solo homer off Ellis in the first. An error opened the door for a three-run fourth for the Gamecocks, and Ellis left the game in the sixth with the Rebels trailing 4-2.
Ole Miss got a run in the first on Will Allen’s two-out RBI single and added a run in the fifth on Austin Anderson’s, two-out “second chance” solo homer.
South Carolina catcher Grayson Greiner dropped a foul pop and Allen drove the next pitch over the left field wall with room to spare.