OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) - A key seventh inning at the plate, and yet another dominant pitching performance provided No. 9 Ole Miss the edge on Sunday, downing Winthrop 3-1 to secure the sweep and a perfect 3-0 start.
With the Rebels’ sweep over Winthrop, the team has now swept its opening series for the third consecutive year, and won the series outright for the seventh consecutive year.
James McArthur, making his first start of 2018, sliced his way through five innings of work with seven strikeouts with only four hits allowed. He allowed only one run – unearned – before giving way to freshman Jordan Fowler, who struck out three en route to his first win.
Fowler went two complete in his first outing with only one hit allowed. From there, head coach Mike Bianco elected to give Will Ethridge his first appearance on the year in the eighth, where he worked a flawless inning and paved the way for closer Dallas Woolfolk.
Woolfolk, making his first showing on the weekend, returned to natural form and wasted no time at all sitting the Eagles down in order. In his one inning of work, the Rebel closer faced just three opposing batters, striking out two of them, and forcing a pop out to earn the junior his first save of the year.
At the plate, the Rebels managed just three hits, but it was all they needed to secure the victory. The most significant, coming off the bat of Kessinger in the seventh inning, plated two of the Rebels’ three runs on the day. With two runners in scoring position, Kessinger belted a ball to the shortstop position, scoring Tim Elko from third and allowing Jacob Adams to advance.
When third base coach Mike Clement gave Adams the go sign, a play at the plate was inevitable, but Adams managed a hand around the foot of the catcher, and the first-year Rebel secured the team’s final run of the day.
Adams, making his first start on the year at second base, also recorded his first hit in a Rebel uniform earlier that inning, with an infield single up the middle that jumpstarted the bats before ultimately resulting in a run.
Elsewhere, a slew of walks and free rides to first loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth, before Ryan Olenek’s deep ball to left scored the Rebels’ first run of the game on a sacrifice fly.
The Rebels will remain in Oxford for the next five games, kicked off by a Tuesday game against Memphis at 4 p.m.