Ole Miss scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning after the Rams came up empty in the top of the first. The Rebels added two runs in the second and another in the third, and that was that for Ole Miss.
“A terrific offensive day for us, especially early,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco, whose team had 12 hits on the day to only four for URI. “Nine quality at-bats to start the game against a really good Rhode Island pitcher.”
The Rebels got to senior right-handed starter Mike Bradstreet, but URI head coach Jim Foster chose to leave him in the game. Bradstreet went seven innings, allowing eight runs on 12 hits with two strikeouts and two walks.
But it was Wahl, who went five innings before giving way to reliever Josh Laxer, that was as much the story as anything. Normally as effective as any ace in the country, Wahl walked six Rams and struck out four, but allowing just one run on two hits.
“Bobby obviously wasn’t very sharp, and we gave them a lot of free baserunners,” Bianco said. “Seven walks, a hit by pitch, and an error. That’s nine free bases and we only gave up one run. I guess that’s a positive if you can do that. It means you’re pitching out of a few jams.”
“I wasn’t very sharp tonight, and I wasn’t commanding the ball where I wanted to,” Wahl said. “Hats off tonight to the defense. They really backed me up tonight, and the offense put up five in the first inning. You can’t ask for more than that. It was a team win, and those guys did a great job.”
New catcher Stuart Turner also has played a big part in the Rebels keeping the opposing runs total at a minimum. He is 4-for-4 on the season throwing runners out, including 2-for-2 in this game.
“Stuart threw two guys out that squelched innings for them,” Bianco said, noting the importance of having a catcher that can do that time and time again.
Mike Bianco visits with RHP Bobby Wahl and C Stuart Turner
Will Jamison had two hits on the day with three RBI, including a first-inning double that scored two runs.
“It was a 2-0 count, and I got what I was looking for,” Jamison, the Rebel right fielder, said. “Hats off to the guys who got on base before me.”
Bianco said Jamison is doing what's needed, and that's getting on base.
“He’s had some really good at-bats, and the big double. Then another single and a walk," Bianco said. "One of the things Coach (Cliff) Godwin’s talked to him about is we need him on base. He can get hits. He can do that. Like Mathis, we need him on base to utilize his speed. (Him getting on base) puts a lot of pressure on the other team.”
In that important first inning, Tanner Mathis singled on the first pitch from Bradstreet, followed by a hit and run RBI double for Austin Anderson.
Auston Bousfield grounded out to move Anderson to third. Turner then grounded out to score Anderson.
A Sikes Orvis two-out walk was followed by a single by Will Allen, and that put runners on first and second. An Andrew Mistone single to right got Orvis home and Allen to third.
Then it was Jamison’s two RBI double to the right field corner that scored both runs, and that’s the way the first inning ended with Ole Miss on top 5-0.
Laxer went three innings in relief, allowing no runs with one hit, a walk, and a strikeout. Jeremy Massie, the left-hander from junior college, closed things out for the Rebs with one hit and one strikeout in four batters faced.
Wahl (2-0) got the win and Bradstreet (0-2) the loss.
The Rebels (5-0) and Rams (0-4) play again Saturday at 1 p.m.