OXFORD – Kevin Graham went 5-for-5, including two home runs and three RBIs, as the Ole Miss Rebels were victorious against the Missouri Tigers, 10-2, at Swayze Field on Sunday.
The Rebels, who swept the series, got another solid starting pitching performance in the finale, this time from Derek Diamond, who pitched five scoreless innings to start the game.
Ole Miss, 27-19 overall and 10-14 in the Southeastern Conference, are now in a three-way tie for ninth place in the league with two weekends remaining in the regular season. Missouri fell to 25-20 and 7-17.
While Diamond (4-4) was putting up zeroes early, the Rebel offense was scoring at a rapid clip with runs in each of the first four innings to build a 10-0 lead. The junior right-hander allowed two runs in the fifth inning, and John Gaddis entered to start the sixth. The final line for Diamond was two runs on eight hits with four strikeouts.
A two-run first inning set the tone for the Rebels, but Ole Miss could have gotten more, leaving two runners on base. A passed ball by Mizzou catcher Tre Morris scored Justin Bench, who had reached on a single. Later, a wild pitch from Tiger starter Austin Marozas allowed Tim Elko to score after he had reached on a base hit.
A four-run second inning put the Rebels in even better shape as Peyton Chatagnier led off with a single and later scored on yet another wild pitch by the right-hander Marozas. Hayden Dunhurst singled and Elko doubled to score him. Graham's two-run home run to right-center gave the Rebels a 6-0 lead after two innings.
Missouri changed pitchers to start the third as left-hander Nathan Landry came in for Marozas. Four batters later, after a single, a hit by pitch and two walks got another Rebel run on the board, Mizzou went back to the bullpen. This time it was righty Carter Rustad who tried to keep things where they were. Back-to-back fly balls from Bench and Jacob Gonzalez followed to get two more runs across, and it was a 9-0 advantage for the home team.
In the fourth, a leadoff solo home run by Graham to right-center, his second of the day, made it 10-0 for the Rebels.
Gaddis finished the game for Ole Miss, pitching four innings and allowing no runs and picking up his first save of the season.
The Rebels will be on the road for all four games next week, starting with a trip south the Hattiesburg to take on No. 7 Southern Miss on Wednesday.