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Ole Miss, Alabama win non-conference games

 

From Special Reports

 

JONESBORO, Ark. -- The No. 11 Ole Miss baseball team used a four-run first inning and two other big innings Tuesday night to defeat Arkansas State 16-9 in front of a record crowd of 1,143 at Tomlinson Stadium. 

 

Ole Miss (38-15) scored at least four runs in the first, fifth, and seventh innings to run past Arkansas State (29-23). Colby Bortles delivered the knockout blow in the seventh, hitting his first career home run, a grand slam. 

 

Arkansas State rallied for five runs in the eighth, but Ole Miss had put the game out of reach and held on for the win to close out non-conference play. 

 

Braxton Lee was 3-for-4 with three runs scored to lead a 15-hit attack for Ole Miss. Auston Bousfield and Sikes Orvis had two RBIs, J.B. Woodman was 2-for-4 with a run scored, Will Jamison was 2-for-6 with an RBI, and Preston Overbey was 2-for-6 with two runs scored and three RBIs. 

 

Evan Anderson (2-0) pitched four innings in a predetermined start to get the victory. He allowed two runs -- one earned -- on three hits with a walk and a career-high six strikeouts. He was one of six Rebels pitchers. 

 

Tanner Gaines (4-1) took the loss. He allowed four runs on four hits and a walk in one inning. 

 

"I'm really proud of the guys and the offense for showing that toughness and coming out and getting those runs early," Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. "It was just a tough night with the weather and the rain. It makes it tough to pitch and to defend. I was glad to get those runs and then to see the grand slam from Colby (Bortles). You're happy to see a kid hit his first home run, but then as the game went on it was an important one. 

 

"Evan (Anderson) was terrific tonight as he continues to work. He hasn't been able to log a lot of innings, but he's been solid for us when he's pitched and tonight was no different." 

 

Ole Miss will play at 6:35 p.m. Thursday at Texas A&M to open a three-game Southeastern Conference series that will close the regular season. The teams will play at 7:03 p.m. Friday (ESPNU) and at 2:05 p.m. Saturday. 

 

n Alabama 15, Jacksonville State 10: At Jacksonville, Ala., In the final non-conference game of the regular season, the No. 19 Crimson Tide pounded out 18 hits en route to a victory against the Gamecocks at Rudy Abbott Field. With the win, Alabama improves to 33-19, while Jacksonville State falls to 29-22. 

 

"It was a tremendous offensive effort. To come out in the first inning and get eight hits and eight runs it got us off to a great start," Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard said. "They did a good job to get back in it, but we did a great job to answer their scores, and we were able to stretch it out late." 

 

Daniel Cucjen had a career-high four hits, a run scored, and an RBI. Wade Wass was 3-for-5 with his team-leading 18th double of the season, two RBI, and two runs scored. Casey Hughston was 3-for-5 with a triple, three runs scored and two RBIs, Mikey White was 2-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored and Ben Moore was 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. 

 

The Tide threw a total of six pitchers. Starter Nick Eicholtz threw three innings, allowing four runs on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Tucker Hawley threw the fourth and fifth, allowing two runs on five hits with two strikeouts, and got the win to improve to 4-1. 

 

Ray Castillo struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh. Mitch Greer walked one and struck out two in a scoreless eighth. 

 

Alabama will play host to Mississippi State at 6:35 p.m. Thursday in Game 1 of a three-game SEC weekend series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

 

 

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