ULM Stuns No. 17 Ole Miss 6-5 in Baseball Season Opener
The Warhawks have now won three of their last four games against Southeastern Conference opponents, while the Rebels dropped their first season opener since 1981.
Browning, a native of Kosciusko, Miss., entered the game in the seventh inning with a runner on first base and one out. The junior college transfer calmly struck out both batters he faced in the seventh and the first batter he faced in the eighth and finished the game with four strikeouts as he picked up the save.
Browning was the only player from state of Mississippi to play in the game for either team.
ULM (1-0) broke open a 2-2 game with a four-run fifth inning. After stranding the bases loaded the inning before, the Warhawks pounced on Ole Miss relief pitcher Rory McKean for all four runs and four hits to take a 6-2 lead.
Matt Laird led off the inning drawing a 10-pitch walk and one batter later scored on a Perry Smith double down the line in left. Kelvin York followed with a single back up the middle to score Smith and then Jarrett Hammond tripled to right to give the Warhawks a 5-2 lead. Caleb Clowers provided ULM's fourth-straight RBI hit with a single to left-center to score Hammond.
The Rebels (0-1) answered in their half of the frame as Matt Smith hit a two-run home run to straightaway center field to end Drew Granier's night on the mound. Granier struck out five batters and walked just one over 4.1 innings in his Warhawk debut. He allowed four runs and scattered five hits.
The Warhawks chased preseason All-American and Team USA pitcher Drew Pomeranz after just four innings of work. ULM was able to work a lot of deep counts on the southpaw as Pomeranz threw 99 pitches in his outing. He allowed a pair of runs on two hits to go along with seven strikeouts and two walks.
Stefan Comeaux (1-0) picked up the win for the Warhawks allowing a run on two hits in 1.1 innings out of the bullpen. Matt Cawthon also pitched well out of the ULM bullpen retiring a pair of batters to end the sixth and start the seventh before Browning took over.
Boomer Blanchard and Clowers each had a pair of hits for the Warhawks as they totaled 10 as a unit against the Ole Miss pitching staff. David Phillips was the lone Rebel with multiple hits as he finished with two.
Phillips pulled the Rebels within the final 6-5 margin with a home run to straightaway center field in the sixth off Comeaux.
The teams traded single runs over the first three innings with the Warhawks striking in the first and third frames and the Rebels scoring in the second and third.
The Warhawks loaded the bases in the first inning as Blanchard led off the game with a single to right, Nick Wade drew an eight-pitch walk and Josh Chappell reached on catcher's interference. Perry Smith then hit a sharp ground ball at third base which Matt Smith couldn't handle allowing Blanchard to score.
Ole Miss tied the game as Phillips doubled with two outs in the second and Tanner Mathis followed with a single to left.
ULM answered quickly against Pomeranz in the top of the third as Jordy Poche led off the frame with an infield single and Laird tripled to right center.
Grainer worked out of a bases loaded jam in the third inning allowing just one run as he hit Zach Miller with a 2-0 fastball with the bags full.
McKean (0-1) took the loss after he allowed the four runs and four hits in just one-third of an inning.
The teams continue the three-game series tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. The Warhawks will send junior right-hander Josh Miller to the mound, while Ole Miss will counter with senior right-hander Aaron Barrett.