FROM OLE MISS ATHLETICS (Hattiesburg, MS)
The top of the 6th started innocently enough, with a walk by Peyton Chatagnier in game one of the Super Regional on a blistering deep south day. Seven runs later in that same inning, Ole Miss led by 10. The Rebels beat Southern Miss 10-0, their first shutout victory of the season. More importantly, Ole Miss has a 1-0 lead in this best-of-three series at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
After Chatagnier’s free pass, Calvin Harris singled and there were two aboard. Justin Storm relieved USM starter Hurston Waldrep at that point, and the hits kept coming. Actually, a Garrett Wood walk loaded the bases. After Justin Bench was hit by a pitch, Tyler Stuart came in to relieve Storm, and the Rebel lead was 4-0. Then, more Rebel runs came home as Jacob Gonzalez got a RBI single, Tim Elko a two-RBI double and Kevin Graham a two-RBI double. After Kemp Alderman struck out for the first out, the Golden Eagles (47-18) brought Drew Boyd in for Stuart. Later in the inning, Hayden Dunhurst singled to right to score Graham, and seven runs were in the books in the frame.
Rebel starter Dylan DeLucia was nothing short of magnificent, allowing no runs through five and a third innings on 108 pitches, with nine strikeouts and just four hits. After both starting pitchers mirrored two strikeouts and a fly out in their respective firsts, Ole Miss had an opportunity in the top of the second to get some runs. With one out, Alderman reached on a passed ball after he struck out. After two outs, Alderman moved to second on a Chatagnier walk. Harris then singled and the Rebels had the bases loaded. Wood stepped in but was unable to move the runners, striking out.
DeLucia found some trouble but got out of it in the bottom of the second. After one out, Slade Wilks doubled to center field. Danny Lynch was then hit by a DeLucia pitch, and the Golden Eagles had something going with runners on first and second and one down. But that’s when DeLucia, now 6-2, got Will McGillis to fly out to right field and Gabe Montenegro to foul out to the catcher. And a scoreless game moved on to the third.
In the top of the third, Ole Miss scored the first two runs of the contest. Justin Bench walked on four straight pitches from Waldrep, and Gonzalez followed suit with a walk on four consecutive pitches. Elko then singled through the left side of the infield to score Bench. After Graham struck out, Elko and Gonzalez moved up a base on a passed ball. Alderman drove one to deep left but it was just short of leaving the park. However, Gonzalez came home to score and it was 2-0 Rebels. That was the way things stood after two and a half innings.
DeLucia’s bottom of the third was an efficient mixed bag of outs – a ground out, a strike out and a fly out – as he faced three batters. In the top of the fourth Ole Miss tacked on another run as Chatagnier doubled and, after a Harris strike out, Wood doubled down the right field line to score Chatagnier. In the bottom of the fourth, USM got a one-out triple from Christopher Sargent that almost left the ballpark. But DeLucia settled down immediately and got Wilks to strike out and Lynch to fly out. And at the end of four innings, the Rebels led 3-0.
Southern Miss almost took the lead in the bottom of the fifth. With the bases loaded, Reece Ewing sent one out of the park that was called foul but was reviewed. The call stood, and after DeLucia then struck Ewing out, the game moved on to the sixth. That’s when Ole Miss moved ahead by double-digits, and that’s when this one was basically wrapped up.
Jack Dougherty came in to relieve DeLucia after five and two-thirds, and kept the Golden Eagles at bay, picking up his second save of the season. Over the final 3.1 innings, Dougherty struck out one batter but let his defense do its work and no Golden Eagle reached base with 10 batters faced. Elko led the Rebel offense, going 2-for-5 with three RBI. Harris also had a two-hit day, Wood reached three times and Graham had a two-RBI game.
Game two between the Rebels and the Golden Eagles is set for 3 PM CT Sunday. The game will air on ESPNU. Video is courtesy of Southern Miss Athletics.