By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Once Ole Miss put a few runs on the board, the Rebels’ pitching handled the rest.
Bobby Wahl and Aaron Greenwood limited Alabama to two hits, and the Rebels snapped a six-game losing streak with a 6-0 win over the Crimson Tide in Game 1 of their SEC series before 9,894 fans at Swayze Field Friday night.
The Rebels haven’t won an SEC series since opening weekend but will have the chance to lock one up in Game 2 today at 4 p.m.
Over the life of the losing streak Ole Miss scored one run in three games and was shut out twice.
“We’re just happy. I feel like we played really well tonight. We played with energy and focus, something we’d kind of gotten away from,” said designated hitter Will Allen, who was 2-for-4 with a double in the second inning, a two-run home run in the eighth.
Wahl gave up just one hit but occasionally pitched himself into drama with five walks, bringing his total to 18 over his last five starts. His control continues to be impacted to some degree by a blister on his pitching hand.
Greenwood took over to start the seventh and threw three innings of one-hit, no-run relief for his second save.
The Rebels (24-10, 5-8 SEC) had seven hits, four for extra-bases.
Ole Miss jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Stuart Turner, Tanner Mathis and Sikes Orvis had RBI hits, doubles for Turner and Mathis.
That early success got right-hander Charley Sullivan, an Oxford native, out of the game, and left-hander Taylor Guilbeau settled things down for the Tide (22-14, 8-5 SEC). Ole Miss managed just one hit and one run against Guilbeau over 42⁄3 innings.
Alabama, though, never settled in offensively against Wahl, who showed some nice defense also. He snagged a line drive for the second out of the fourth with runners at second and third then finished the inning with a strikeout. He was quick to cover first base after a diving stop by Orvis in the fifth.
A dropped fly ball by Mathis and two Wahl walks loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, but Wahl got the next two batters to pop-up in foul territory.
Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said his team was intent on bringing greater energy to the game.
“In the last few weeks because of the lack of success, we’ve been a step slow,” he said. “In doing so, it seems like the other team has the momentum and the energy. We still have a long way to go, but it was nice to put it together tonight.”