May 29, 2009

OXFORD, Miss. -- Sophomore Drew Pomeranz pitched eight scoreless innings before leaving the game with a man on the ninth as he helped pitch No. 9 Ole Miss (41-17) to an 8-1 win over Monmouth (32-24) in the opening round of NCAA Regional play at Oxford-University Stadium.

With the win, the Rebels advance to play third-seeded Western Kentucky at 5 p.m. on Saturday after the Hilltoppers defeated Missouri in the first game of the day.

Pomeranz (7-4) picked up the win for the Rebels as he worked 8.0 innings and allowed one run on five hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts.

Brett Brach (7-3) suffered the loss for Monmouth as he worked 7.0 innings but allowed five runs on eight hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.

The win was also significant for Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco as it was his 362nd win at Ole Miss, moving him past legendary coach Tom Swayze and into second all-time on the career wins list at Ole Miss.

The Rebels got off to a quick start, pushing three runs across in the first inning to take the early lead on the Hawks. Back-to-back doubles from Jordan Henry and Logan Power opened the game, pushing the first run across before Power scored two batters later on a sac fly from Kyle Henson. Matt Smith, who had reached on a fielder's choice then scored on a triple from Zach Miller as the Rebels jumped out to the 3-0 lead.

Ole Miss added to the lead in the second when Evan Button scored on a single from Henry. Button reached on a double before scoring on the Henry hit to make the lead 4-0 in favor of the home team.

The Rebels added a fifth run in the seventh inning when Henry scored from second on a single to center from Smith. Henry singled and then took second on a balk before crossing home on the Smith hit.

Three runs in the eighth capped the scoring for the Rebels as Miller was hit by a pitch to open the inning before moving to second on a single from Michael Hubbard. Both runners advanced on a sac bunt from Kevin Mort before scoring on a single to left from pinch hitter Tim Ferguson. Ferguson moved to second on the play as the Hawks threw home. He then stole third before scoring on a groundout to third from Logan Power to put Ole Miss up 8-0.

Monmouth answered in the top of the ninth as Matt McEndy scored as a pinch runner on a single from Josh Boyd with two outs on the board. Paul Bottigliero reached on a walk as the last batter Pomeranz faced in the game before the Rebels went to the bullpen for Rory McKean and Monmouth called on McEndy as a pinch runner.

A single from David Jacob and a wild pitch put runners at second and third before McKean struck out pinch hitter Rick Niederhaus and Bobby Dombrowski to give the Rebels two outs. Boyd then came up with the RBI single to break up the shutout before McKean ended the game when Brett Holland lined out to second.

Monmouth falls into an elimination game against second-seeded Missouri on Saturday at 1 p.m., while the Rebels advance to play Western Kentucky in the winner's bracket at 5 p.m.