LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Ole Miss (9-7) took down No. 8 ranked Louisville (11-6) Wednesday at Jim Patterson Stadium to split the two game set by the score of 8-3. Hard play at the plate and on the base paths by freshman infielder Kyle Watson (Southhaven, MS./DeSoto Central HS), and strong hitting from sophomore outfielder J.B. Woodman (Orlando, Fl./Edgewater HS) led the Rebels to victory.
Ole Miss got on the board first in the third inning with two outs after Watson doubled to left center on a 1-1 pitch, then took home plate along with Woodman, who walked, and Will Golson (Columbus, MS./New Hope HS), who was hit by a pitch to load the bases, when Colby Bortles (Oviedo, Fl./Oviedo HS) reached on an error by Cardinal right-fielder Nick Solak (Woodridge, Ill./Naperville HS), and then advanced to second clearing the bags.
“I think I did okay today,” Watson stated. “As long as we win, and it was a team effort, that’s all that really matters. I come out every day and play my hardest, and I know I have good backup coming from my teammates, I love playing with them.”
Watson went 1-for-4 at the plate with one RBI, two stolen bases, and three runs scored, while his teammate Woodman registered a 2-for-3 day at the dish, along with one RBI, a stolen base, and one run.
The Cards answered back in their half of the third with two runs off a sacrifice fly by sophomore outfielder Corey Ray (Chicago, Ill./Simeon Career Academy), that scored Devin Hairston (Lexington, Ky./ Tates Creek HS), and when senior outfielder Mike White (East Orange, N.J./Salisbury HS) scored after senior infielder Zach Lucas (Louisville, Ky./Butler HS) reached on a throwing error by sophomore shortstop Errol Robinson (Boyds, MD./St. Johns College HS), putting the score at 3-2 in favor of Ole Miss.
Ole Miss continued to find unorthodox ways to score in the fifth inning, when Bortles at the plate again, grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to score Watson (their fourth unearned run) and senior infielder Sikes Orvis (Orlando, Fl./Freedom HS) RBI singled to right field scoring Golson for the Rebels fifth unearned run.
Three more Rebel runs in the eighth, off a fielder’s choice RBI by Watson, that scored Robinson, a sac fly by Golson, that scored freshman infielder Tate Blackman (Altamonte Springs, Fl./Lake Brantley HS), and a RBI ground-rule double off the bat of Woodman, put the lead at 8-3 and capped off the Rebel scoring for the day.
“It’s not a secret we haven’t played real well of late,” Ole Miss Head Coach Mike Bianco said. “I am proud of the guys; they played a real clean game today. We made some great plays. Today we were able to put the proverbial crooked number up a couple of times. We need to continue being consistent on the mound and just score runs.”
The Cards added one run in the ninth when freshman Brendan McKay RBI doubled, but the rally fell short there.
Ole Miss starter Sam Smith (Lake Charles, LA./Barbe HS) picked up the win, striking out three batters, giving up two runs on four hits over 4.0 innings pitched.
Freshman RHP Will Stokes (Meridian, MS./West Lauderdale HS) pitched 5.0 innings of relief, picking up the save (2), allowing one run on two hits, together with four strikeouts.
Cardinal pitchers combined for eight strikeouts, while walking nine batters and allowing eight runs, only three of which were earned.