In its first true test of the season, Ole Miss felt as if it had a point to prove, and did just that by beating second ranked Louisville 6-5 to take game one of this three game series.
“I think all of us came out here with a point to prove,” junior Friday night starter Brady Bramlett said. “As the guy starting on Friday, you’ve got have that emotion coming into the dugout to set the tone.”
That is exactly what Bramlett did as he struck out two in an eight pitch first inning to start things off. Bramlett would quickly get an early lead when J.B. Woodman launched a home run off of Louisville pitcher Kyle Funkhouser over the right field fence into the student section to put Ole Miss ahead 2-0 after one inning.
“That was fantastic. J.B. is swinging the bat well,” Bramlett said. “Whenever you score two runs in the first inning that puts a dagger in the side immediately.”
“In a game like this on Friday night, when usually there’s not a lot of runs scored, to get on the board first and get the crowd into it, I thought it was huge,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said.
Funkhouser, a first round pick by the Los Angeles Dodger in the 2015 MLB draft, would then settle down over the next two innings and Louisville would get a run back in the fourth after Kyle Tiberi hit a solo home run to right.
The bottom half of the fourth inning is when the wheels began to fall off for Funkhouser. The senior right hander surrendered two hits and five walks in what led to a four run inning for Ole Miss giving them a 6-1 lead.
Bramlett ran into a little trouble in the fifth as Louisville plated two more on an RBI ground out and a Tiberi double down the left field line. Bramlett would get out of the inning with no further damage done, but after a 34 pitch second inning and a long fifth inning, his night was done.
“I thought he was able to hang in there. I thought the second inning really killed him,” Bianco said. “He still competed and that’s what you gotta do if you’re going to be the Friday night guy.”
David Parkinson came on in relief of Bramlett, and pitched a scoreless sixth before allowing a run in the seventh. Will Stokes relieved Parkinson in the seventh and Louisville would add one more run in the 8th that Stokes was responsible for on a Corey Ray double down the right field line off of Wyatt Short.
“I just wanted to fill up the zone. Thats always my goal as a pitcher really,” Short said. “I didn’t really worry about the runner. We had a two run lead so I knew he wasn’t that big of a deal.”
Short settled in and retired Louisville in order in the ninth on his way to pick up his second save of the season and secured the win for Ole Miss.
“You’ve gotta feel good with Wyatt on the mound with a lead,” Bianco said.
Ole Miss improved to 5-0 on the year with the win and will have a chance to win the series tomorrow.
“It’s one game, and obviously we are happy to win, but we didn’t play very well. We’ve got to play better tomorrow and the guys realize that,” Bianco said. “Tomorrow is a big day for us to play well and a chance to win tomorrow and win the series.”
First pitch is set for 1:30 p.m.