In a game marred by Arkansas Pine-Bluff errors early, Ole Miss took home a 12-2 victory on Tuesday night at Swayze field.
Jordan Fowler got the ball to start the game for the first time since doing so against Little Rock two weeks ago, sporting a 8.31 ERA in 8.2 innings of work this season.
On Tuesday, however, Fowler looked more cool and composed than in any of his previous four appearances. Fowler was dealing against Arkansas Pine-Bluff in the first 6.0 innings, posting a no-hitter until the seventh inning.
“Proud of the way he filled up the strike zone with three pitches,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. “He made it look easy for a while. He looked a little more free out there today.”
In a series of unlikely events, Ole Miss was able to get out to a 4-0 lead without registering a single hit. The Golden Lions starter, Daniel Walsh, walked Ole Miss’s three leadoff hitters to start the game. He was subsequently pulled after 0.0 innings and replaced by Tim Reynolds.
“It’s just that slower wheel out, you’re not really used to it,” Ryan Olenek said. “We’re used to 90-92 (MPH) and then you see these guys, so it is a really big adjustment.”
Reynold’s outing didn’t go over any better than Walsh’s. Although he went a full 3.0 innings without allowing a hit, four runs were scored with him on the mound, although none were earned.
“You can’t make any excuses, you have to get hits off those guys,” Bianco said about Arkansas Pine-Bluff’s different pitching style. “Tonight we didn’t do a good job of that.”
In the midst of the four-run inning, Thomas Dillard was called safe on an obstruction call at first and was banged-up in the process. He was pulled from the game, but appears to be fine going forward.
“He’s good, just a little shaken up,” Bianco said. “He took a knee to the head on a slide that kind of jarred him, but they said he was fine.”
Ole Miss used the fourth was a textbook example of how to score with two-outs, as all 6 Rebel runs came under those circumstances. Despite Olenek being the only Rebel to register a hit, Ole Miss extended its lead to 10 thanks to six Ole Miss batters being either hit by pitch or walked.
“It just wasn’t a good night for us offensively and sometimes it can happen like that,” Bianco said. “We didn’t make too many adjustments and Ryan (Olenek) seemed like the only guy in the lineup who made an adjustment, stayed back, let it get deep and get some good swings off.”
Though it wasn’t a productive day for Ole Miss considering the quality of opponent, Fowler’s production on the mound shouldn’t be overlooked. Fowler tossed 7.0 innings, striking out six of the 25 batters he faced while allowing just 4 hits and 1 ER.
While only four batters, Anthony Servideo, Carl Gindl, Grae Kessinger and Olenek, got hits for Ole Miss on Tuesday, it shows how efficient the Rebels were at the plate. Ole Miss only struck out 2 times as a team while drawing 6 BB and 3 HBP, indicating either patience at the plate, or highlighting the incompetence of Arkansas Pine-Bluff’s pitching incompetence.
“There were a ton of walks and HBPs, so sometimes that takes some of your opportunities away,” Bianco said. “I wish we wouldn’t have squandered so many at-bats, but it’s kind of hard to argue with 12 runs.”
Ole Miss and Arkansas Pine-Bluff are set for a 3 p.m. first pitch on Wednesday as the Rebels look for the sweep to improve to 16-6 on the year.