Ole Miss rolls by UAB for Friday night victory

Nine-run second inning propels Rebels to 15-9 win

Ole Miss rolls by UAB for Friday night victory

OXFORD, MS (WLBT) - Ole Miss used a nine-run second inning and matched a season-high with 15 runs scored en route to a 15-9 Friday night victory over UAB at Swayze Field.

The Rebels improved to 10-3 on the season as six players turned in multi-hit affairs, led by reigning National Player of the Week Ryan Olenek's 3-for-5 day with two runs with a pair of RBI. Junior Cole Zabowski also registered a strong performance, plating three runs with a home run.

Freshman Kevin Graham delivered a stellar starting debut, his first collegiate hit coming by way of the long ball. Graham tallied four RBI on the day with a pair of hits, scoring twice.

Juniors Grae Kessinger and Thomas Dillard and sophomore Anthony Servideo all posted two hits as well, with the latter two adding two runs each.

The Rebels quickly erased three miscues in the opening stanza, using a sacrifice fly to get on the board before exploding for nine runs in the second, their most in an inning since last April.

Olenek led off with a single lasered into left, coming home on a Zabowski bomb ripped over the left field fence. The Rebels took the lead when the rookie Graham blasted a jack over the right field wall to bring home catcher Cooper Johnson, who singled, and right fielder Chase Cockrell, who walked.

The offensive upsurge continued on a pair of back-to-back doubles from Kessinger and Servideo, and then a third double two batters later, as Olenek moved Dillard, who singled, to third and brought home Servideo.

Zabowski collected his third RBI of the inning on a single through the right side to bring Dillard across, and the Rebs completed the inning on a Cockrell's fielder's choice down to second that allowed Olenek to score.

Graham and Zabowski were the second set of Rebels to go yard in the same inning when Zabowski and sophomore Tyler Keenan both hit homers in the first inning against UT Martin back in mid-February.

Cockrell sliced a single back up the middle in the fourth to bring home Zabowski again, and then the duo worked again in the sixth, adding three to cushion to the Ole Miss clip to 14.

The Blazers chipped away, hitting home runs in each of the third, sixth, and seventh innings and then adding a double to trim the lead in half at 14-7.

Another Olenek single brought Keenan into the scoring action, who took four straight pitches for a free pass to lead off the seventh and gave the Rebels their 15th run of the contest.

UAB used a double and error to bring home another set of Blazers and threaten in the ninth, but freshman lefty Kaleb Hill limited the damage and secured the Rebel victory.

The Rebels will be back in action Saturday night, with an updated start time of 7 p.m. due to the forecast of rain in the afternoon. Sunday will bring the conclusion of the series versus UAB, with a set time of 1:30 p.m.

Quick Hits

- Ole Miss improves to 10-3 on the year, and 14-10 all-time versus UAB.

- The 15 runs scored today ties the season’s most, set in early February against Arkansas State when the Rebels beat the Red Wolves 15-3.

- The nine runs scored in the second inning today is the most runs recorded in one inning for the Rebels since they scored 11 in the 6th inning against LSU on April 26, 2018.

- Freshman Kevin Graham had himself a day to remember after earning his first career start on Friday. His first hit in a Rebel uniform came in the form of a three-run home run in the second inning, and he finished the day 2-for-4 with four RBI, all new career bests.

- Junior Will Ethridge continued his fiery introduction into the season by only allowing one earned run in 5.0 innings pitched tonight, his first and only earned run allowed on the year.

- The Rebels’ leading bat in Ryan Olenek improved on his team-high batting average with a 3-for-5 day at the plate, including a pair of RBI and runs, upping his average to .474 on the year.

- Cole Zabowski notched his third homer of the year in the second inning, and finished the day with 3 RBI at the plate.

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