Rebels top Louisville for series victory

Published 8:31 am Monday, February 29, 2016

OXFORD — In the new hyper-competitive world of college baseball, every series matters when it comes time to pick teams for the NCAA Tournament.

Ole Miss still has a long way to go to put itself in position to make the 64-team field when it’s announced in May, but it did itself a lot of favors on a sunny weekend in February.

Sean Johnson settled down after a shaky start to pitch 5 1/3 innings of solid ball, and the Rebels overcame an early two-run deficit to beat No. 2 Louisville 4-2 on Sunday.

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No. 21 Ole Miss (6-1) took two out of three in the series with the Cardinals (5-2). The series win against a quality opponent will certainly pay off down the line, in addition to giving the Rebels a shot of confidence right now.

“Obviously, this was a big weekend against a really good team. We got challenged in a lot of areas this week,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “It was nice to play well here and finish off the weekend on a positive note.”

Will Golsan homered and drove in two runs for Ole Miss, which scored three times in the third inning to take the lead for good.

After Louisville scored twice in the top of the first, the Rebels sent eight men to the plate and got five hits in the third inning. Cameron Dishon, Errol Robinson and Golsan all had RBI singles.

Golsan hit a solo home run in the sixth to make it 4-2. It was the first home run of the sophomore first baseman’s college career.

Louisville jumped on top early as Corey Ray led off the game with a home run and Logan Taylor singled and scored on a ground out to make it 2-0.

Johnson (2-0) settled in after that, though. He didn’t allow another run before leaving with one out in the sixth inning. He walked two batters, gave up five hits total, and struck out three.

David Parkinson pitched 1 2/3 innings of shutout relief, and Wyatt Short threw the last 1 2/3 innings for his second save of the series and third of the season.

Ray, Nick Solak and Blake Tiberi each had two hits for Louisville. Dishon was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored and was the only Ole Miss player with multiple hits.

Louisville pitcher Drew Harrington (1-1) went 5 1/3 innings and didn’t walk a batter, but gave up eight hits and four runs. He struck out four.

“My message to our guys was that we were probably one at-bat short in several innings and we just have to learn from that,” said Louisville coach Dan McDonnell, who was an Ole Miss assistant under Bianco from 2000-06. “We need to have more quality at-bats and better at-bats with runners on base. We got a good start from Drew today and our bullpen was very good this weekend. Overall, we played some good baseball but we needed a little more at times.”