By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Saturday’s eighth inning won’t be remembered as the most explosive for Ole Miss baseball, but depending on how the season plays out, it may find itself discussed in a historical context.
The No. 13-ranked Rebels didn’t rip the cover off the ball but scored four runs on three hits and an error in the bottom of the eighth to take a 5-2 win over No. 14 TCU before 8,394 at Swayze Field.
It was only the second game of the season, but Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco has his players thinking big picture after struggling against TCU right-hander Preston Morrison.
“Coach B called us up and said if we wanted to be special, to achieve all our goals, we had to win this game,” Ole Miss left fielder Tanner Mathis said.
Ultimately, TCU used three pitchers in the eighth.
It was Mathis’ first hit of the season, a single up the middle off side-arming reliever Justin Scharf, that scored Will Jamison to tie the game at 2.
The Rebels (2-0) took their first lead of the day when Auston Bousfield took an Andrew Mitchell pitch the other way and down the right field line to score Mathis for a 3-2 advantage.
The breathing room came when neither Mitchell nor second baseman Derek Odell were able to field Will Allen’s slow roller, and Mathis and Austin Anderson – the inherited batter walked by Mitchell – both scored.
Morrison gave up just two hits and two runs in seven innings and had set the Rebels down in order in the sixth and seventh after they scratched for a run in the fifth.
“Morrison gave us fits. His command is so good with three different pitches. We just looked very uncomfortable at the plate all day long,” Bianco said.
Game 3 is at noon today.