By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Stinging from a 9-8 loss to Miami-Ohio in the series opener on Friday, R.J. Hively knew the best way he could help his teammates was to grab the momentum.
The senior right-hander threw six scoreless innings, and the No. 16-ranked Rebels did their part offensively too, banging out 18 hits an 11-3 win over the Red Hawks Saturday afternoon before an announced crowd of 7,742 at Swayze Field.
Hively, second-year junior college transfer, gave up two hits, one walk and struck out seven.
Game 3 in the series is at 1:30 p.m. today.
Miami (4-4) didn’t score until pushing a run across in the eighth against reliever Blair Wright in the eighth and two more against Jon Andy Scott in the ninth.
Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco liked what he saw in Hively but also in his battery mate, freshman catcher Austin Knight, who was thrust into his first college start because of an injury to regular catcher Will Allen on Friday night.
“Terrific, to come out in your first college start, and Hively’s probably the most difficult to catch of all the guys, the ball just sinks and dives so much. He did a great job. He did a great job receiving, of blocking the balls, and he even executed a hit-and-run,” Bianco said.
Knight, from Hattiesburg, finished 2 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI.
Alex Yarbrough’s double scored Tanner Mathis and Senquez Golson in the bottom of the first, and Yarbrough came around to score on a wild pitch as the Rebels led 3-0 after one.
Ole Miss (8-2) tacked on three more runs in the second on five hits and a Miami error. The big hit was a leadoff home run to right by Zach Kirksey. Kirksey finished 2 for 3 with three RBIs. Mathis and Yarbrough each had three hits.
Miami starter Brooks Fiala was gone after 1.2 innings.
Former Tupelo star John Gatlin, an Itawamba CC transfer, notched the first hit of his college career, a two-run double in the eighth to make it 11-1.
“I wanted to go out and put up zeroes real quick and get momentum,” said Hively, who won his second straight start. “It was one of those days where everything was in the strike zone. All of our pitchers, we didn’t walk too many, and when you do that, you force them to hit.”
Mississippi State sweeps: Sophomore left fielder Hunter Renfroe doubled in three runs in the second inning as Mississippi State opened a Saturday doubleheader with a 6-4 win over the Lipscomb Bisons (4-6). In the nightcap, the Bulldogs (9-2) rode the pitching of Nick Routt, Evan Mitchell and Caleb Reed to a 3-1 win over defending Big East champion Connecticut (3-6) to remain unbeaten in the three-day, six-game event at Dudy Noble Field.