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Late offensive surge fuels No. 17 Ole Miss to 8-3 win over No. 25 Southern Miss in Pearl

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Ole Miss left fielder Ethan Lege celebrates after hitting a two-run bomb to give the Rebels an 8-3 lead over Southern Miss (photo courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics)

A midweek showdown in the C Spire College Series between two ranked in-state opponents was capped off with No. 17 Ole Miss taking down No. 25 Southern Miss 8-3 in front of a central Mississippi crowd.

Both teams came into Tuesday’s contest at Trustmark Park featured in the top 25 rankings for the first time this season. The Rebels (16-6) were fueled by a late offensive surge which allowed them to pull away and overcome a Golden Eagles squad (14-7) that only scored in one inning.

Ole Miss quickly jumped ahead on the scoreboard, taking a 2-0 lead after a Jackson Ross single sent Ethan Groff home, and a later single by Ethan Lege scored Ross. Southern Miss responded in the top of the third.

The Golden Eagles put three runs on the board following a series of unfortunate events for the Rebels. Southern Miss capitalized on a fielding error, a collision in shallow center field, an interference call at home plate, and a line drive that escaped the glove of Ole Miss pitcher Riley Maddox. Carson Paetow, Ozzie Pratt, and Tucker Stockman scored in the frame.

Both teams then cooled offensively with no runs being scored for the next three innings as the respective pitching staffs found ease getting batters out. For Ole Miss, Maddox did not get rattled. The right-hander gave his team four clean innings after the chaotic second. Southern Miss pitched by committee and took advantage of its foe’s struggles with left-handed arms.

Ole Miss ended the stalemate in the bottom of the sixth inning. With runners on the corners and no outs, Brayden Randle drove one to Southern Miss first baseman Davis Gillespie who was unable to make a successful play at home, scoring Luke Hill to knot things up 3-3.

The Rebels then loaded the bases. Jackson Ross grounded a ball to Pratt at shortstop who tried to turn a double play, but Nick Monistere was unable to handle the ball, advancing all runners and scoring Will Furniss for Ole Miss to take a 4-3 lead.

A pair of insurance runs were scored by the Rebels in the bottom of the seventh inning. A sacrifice fly by Bo Gatlin sent Treyson Hughes to home plate. An errant attempt at a pickoff by Southern Miss pitcher Kros Sivley sent the ball to center field and allowed Hill to score.

The scoring carried into the bottom of the eighth inning for Ole Miss. A two-out rally began with Andrew Fischer being walked, setting up a no-brainer home run from Ethan Lege that gave the Rebels an 8-3 advantage to essentially put the game out of reach.

While Ole Miss tacked on runs in its last three plate appearances, Southern Miss hit an offensive lull, largely due to the Rebels’ depth on the mound. The Ole Miss bullpen was dominant in three innings as it only surrendered two hits and walked one batter collectively in three innings. The unit was also responsible for six total strikeouts, three of which came from Jackson native Mason Nichols.

Maddox was named the MVP of Tuesday’s matchup and was credited with the win. The Pearl native struck out six and gave up three runs from five hits through six full innings pitched in front of a hometown crowd. Offensively, Hill and Lege had big games. Hill was 3-4 at the plate with a double. Lege had the big home run and three RBIs.

Southern Miss pitcher and Pass Christian native Peyton Lacy was tabbed with the loss. The Golden Eagles used seven different arms in the midweek game. Chandler Best had the most action with two innings pitched.

Ole Miss now hits the road to take on Tennessee in a three-game stint in Knoxville. Southern Miss will travel to Statesboro to face Georgia Southern in the upcoming weekend series.

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