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Bats come alive as Diamond Rebs down TCU in regional opener

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – After struggling to score runs for the past few weeks, Ole Miss capitalized on their opportunities as the Rebels (36-24) defeated TCU (36-20) 6-2 in the opening game of the College Station Regional on Friday afternoon.

“I thought we just played really well today,” head coach Mike Bianco said. “It always starts on the mound, and Bobby (Wahl) gave us a great effort. I thought he had an electric fastball today, and we stuck with it a lot to get us that deep into the game.”

Wahl, a right-handed sophomore, was as good as ever, but it took him an inning to get into rhythm. TCU used two-straight singles to put runners on the corners in the first inning before scoring a run on a groundball to first by freshman designated hitter Kevin Cron.

Cron got the best of Wahl again in the fourth inning with a solo home run to left field to give the Horned Frogs a 2-0 advantage.

From there, Wahl took control. The Springfield, Va. native went 7.0 innings giving up the two runs on just four hits while recording nine strikeouts.

“I think the biggest thing was going out there in the first inning I tried to do too much,” Wahl said. “I think after that first inning I really settled into myself and just tried to make quality pitches and let my defense work.”

However, with a 2-0 deficit, Ole Miss had some work to do at the plate.

In the sixth the Rebels got on the board with a leadoff single from junior right fielder Tanner Mathis that was followed up by a triple off the bat of junior second baseman Alex Yarbrough. The Allen, Texas native came home on a grounder from senior first baseman Matt Snyder to tie things up.

“It seems we’ve been talking about getting a big inning for the past three weeks,” Yarbrough, who went 2-for-4 on the day, said. “It was huge to get two runs with the top three batters in the lineup.”  

The seventh inning saw Ole Miss spoil a chance to grab the lead on a missed suicide squeeze attempt from freshman shortstop Jake Overbey, but the Rebels weren’t done.

In the eighth, Ole Miss loaded the bases with one out before freshman centerfielder Auston Bousfield drew a full count walk to give the Rebels their first lead of the day. Freshman designated hitter Sikes Orvis, then, singled up the middle to score two more runs before an error on the TCU second baseman in the next at-bat scored the Rebels fourth run of the frame.

Holding a 6-2 lead, senior right-hander R.J. Hively came on in relief of Wahl to shut down the Horned Frog offense and send Ole Miss to the winner’s bracket of the College Station Regional.

The Rebels will send sophomore right-hander Mike Mayers to the mound tomorrow against No. 1 seeded Texas A&M at 6:35 p.m.