Ole Miss rolls past Monmouth

Published 12:48 am Saturday, May 30, 2009

OXFORD (AP) — This time Mississippi pitcher Drew Pomeranz never once lost focus.

Pomeranz struck out 10 and kept Monmouth scoreless over the first eight innings of an 8-1 win Friday night in an NCAA regional game. Pomeranz credited the overpowering performance to a newfound concentration.

‘‘A lot of my other starts, somewhere around the fifth or sixth innings, I’d just lose focus,’’ Pomeranz said. ‘‘Tonight, I didn’t do that. I had it tonight.’’

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Pomeranz gave up five hits before being lifted early in the ninth after a Monmouth single.

Jordan Henry had three hits and drove in a run for the Rebels (41-17), who play Western Kentucky in a winners’ bracket game Saturday.

The Hawks (32-24) remained winless in seven regional appearances and will play Missouri in an elimination game.

Ole Miss built a 3-0 lead in the first inning on run-scoring hits by Logan Power, Kyle Henson and Zach Miller. It turned out to be all the Rebels would need.

‘‘It was a great start by us offensively,’’ said Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco, who moved to second on the Rebels’ career wins list with 362. ‘‘Then, Drew just took over the game.’’

Henry’s RBI single made it 4-0 in the second and Matt Smith pushed the lead to five with a run-scoring single in the seventh off Monmouth starter Brett Brach (7-3), who had eight strikeouts in the loss.

Tim Ferguson’s two-run single fueled a three-run eighth.

The Hawks, who won the Northeast Conference championship by scoring 35 runs in three games, didn’t score until an RBI single from Josh Boyd after Pomeranz (7-4) was lifted in the ninth.

‘‘The story of this game is the Ole Miss pitcher,’’ Monmouth coach Dean Ehehalt said. ‘‘He pitched with a lot of energy after that first inning. He did a great job.’’