ONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) - The fifteenth-ranked Ole Miss Rebels (36-14) took a 5-0 lead through six innings, then held off Arkansas State (26-22) for a 5-2 victory before a season-high 982 fans Wednesday night at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field.
"We were down 5-0, but we knew there was going to be a window for us, and it came late," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. "Down five, we had to make up some ground. We cut it to three and then had some opportunities in the last inning too. But credit Ole Miss, they made some nice plays in the field that kept us off the bases. They scored three runs on two-out hits, and we had a couple of opportunities and did not get the two-out hit."
"We had a tremendous crowd tonight," added Raffo. "The fans in the stands, on the Barton's Deck and in the student section all did a great job of coming out and supporting the Red Wolves tonight."
Ole Miss took a 1-0 lead in the first on a sacrifice fly from center fielder Tim Ferguson, then used a two-out two-run triple from left fielder Taylor Hashman to go up 3-0 in the second. A leadoff home run in the fourth from Alex Yarbrough and an RBI single with two outs in the sixth from first baseman Miles Hamblin put the Rebels on top 5-0 before ASU got on the board with two runs in the seventh.
An RBI single from center fielder Todd Baumgartner and a sacrifice fly from second baseman Giovanni Garcia sent home Arkansas State's two runs in the seventh, and Ole Miss right fielder Matt Smith robbed ASU first baseman Murray Watts of a two-run home run in the ninth when he made a catch over the wall to record the game's final out.
Junior Rory McKean (7-1) picked up the win on the mound for Ole Miss, giving up no runs on five hits in four innings of work. McKean struck out one and walked four. Freshman Brett Huber earned his ninth save of the season, giving up no runs or hits while walking one in the final inning.
Seven pitchers went to the mound for Arkansas State, with freshman Brandon Milhouse (0-1) taking the loss after giving up three runs on three hits in two innings of work. Baumgartner, Watts, Garcia, designated hitter Jordan Castaldo, catcher Tyler Smith and left fielder Josh DeMoney all had one hit for Arkansas State, while Hashman had two hits and two RBIs to lead the Rebels.
Arkansas State will return to action May 14 when the Red Wolves travel to Troy for a three-game Sun Belt Conference series with the Trojans. Friday and Saturday's games are scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m., with Sunday's game three set for 1:00 p.m.