Right Field Review - Week 9

Nice throw, Boz. - .

The Ole Miss baseball team dropped the midweek Governor's Cup but completed a monster sweep of Alabama to climb back into contention in the SEC West.

Last Week: 3-1

Overall: 26-10 (7-8)

Baseball America: 21 (prev. 23)
USA Today Coaches Poll: TBA
Perfect Game: 20 (21 prev.)

(I'll update the rankings as they're released today)

April 9: Mississippi State (Pearl, MS) - L 5-1
April 12-14: vs Alabama - W 6-0, W 5-2, W 4-3

TUES Mississippi State Ballers 5, Ole Miss 1
Josh Laxer took a no-hitter and a 1-0 Rebel lead into the fifth, but State's mid-inning guzzling of a can of SwAG juIcE a defensive collapse and poor hitting led to a concession of the Governor's Cup. State tied things up with a run in the fifth, then broke the game open in the sixth after the Rebels, thanks to a walk and hit batsman, gave up two runs on only one hit. It was another day of missed opportunities at the plate for the Diamond Rebs, who left the bases loaded in the second and stranded six runners through the first five frames. The loss extended the Rebels' losing streak to six, tying the longest mark during the Bianco era.

FRI Ole Miss 6, Alabama 0
A breakthrough performance by the Rebel bats was highlighted by a two-run home run by Will Allen (2/4, 2 RBI) as Ole Miss took game one of the series. The offense wasn't overpowering, but was certainly opportunistic, plating six runs off seven hits. The team scored runs in each of the first three innings before Allen's shot deep over the left field bullpen provided the exclamation point in the eighth. Allen, Tanner Mathis (1/3, 1 RBI) and Stuart Turner (2/3, 1 RBI) all had two-out RBI in a refreshingly clutch day at the plate. Meanwhile, Bobby Wahl allowed just one hit through six innings and Aaron Greenwood (3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R) added three strikeouts over the last three frames as the pair combined for the shutout. Wahl is now 7-0 on the season.

SAT Ole Miss 5, Alabama 2
The Rebels could muster only four hits but took advantage of nine walks and a host of Crimson Tide defensive miscues to squeak out a late win and clinch the series. It was a pitcher's duel through the first five innings before a pair of Rebel runs would break open the scoring in the sixth. A two-out Andrew Mistone (1/4, 1 RBI) single would score the first, and two batters later Sikes Orvis would draw a bases loaded walk to make it 2-0. After having given up only one hit through six masterful innings on the mound, Mike Mayers (6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 K, 0 BB) fell apart with the lead, giving up hits to three of the four batters he faced in the seventh to make it a 2-1. Tanner Bailey (1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R) then entered with men on first and second and one down and got a quick line out. He struck the next man out, but a rare passed ball from Turner let the man reach to load the bases. A walk would then bring the tying run home. The Rebels' answered back in the bottom of the eighth after a walk and blown double play started a big inning. With two outs and the bases juiced, Allen (2/4, 2 RBI) delivered a huge two-RBI single up the middle, and a pitch-hitting Austin Knight (1/1, 1 RBI) brought home another insurance run a batter later to make it 5-2. Bailey earned the win in relief and Brett Huber (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R) shut the door for the save.

SUN Ole Miss 4, Alabama 3 (11 innings)
Ole Miss took an early two run lead Sunday, but had to wait another ten innings before a Mathis (2/4, 1 RBI) walkoff hit would deliver the pivotal weekend sweep. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the eleventh, Mathis sent a ball deep into left field to drive in the winning run and bring the Rebels to within a game of .500. Ole Miss took the lead early off an Anderson (1/1, 1 RBI) RBI single, and two batters later Mistone (2/5, 2 RBI) would single up the middle to make it 2-0. Sam Smith (4.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R) danced around trouble in the second and third, but held the Crimson Tide scoreless until being relieved in the fifth. Alabama mounted a rally against Greenwood (0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER) in the top of the eighth, beginning when the leadoff man reached on a throwing error by Jake Overbey, who had entered at shortstop in the second for an injured Anderson. The runner would eventually score on a sac fly and Alabama would go on to plate two more and take a 3-2 lead. Mistone continued his clutch play at the plate with yet another two-out RBI in the bottom of the inning to tie things up, setting the stage for the walkoff win in extras.

SEC West Standings:
1. LSU............................13-2 (34-3)
2. Arkansas...................9-6 (25-12)
3. Mississippi State.....8-7 (23-9)
4. Alabama....................8-7 (22-16)
5. Ole Miss.....................7-8 (26-10)
6. Texas A&M...............6-9 (21-16)
7. Auburn.......................5-10 (22-15)
(Complete Standings)

Numbers Game
- Its been a disappointing season thus far for Tanner Mathis, whose .228 average is over 130 points below his final 2012 number. But the senior has still found ways to contribute, leading the team in base-on-balls (23) and hit-by-pitches (11) and ranking third in runs scored (27). His 11 strikeouts are the fewest on the roster, and one would think that if he continues putting the ball in play his luck will break sooner or later.

- Clutch hitting has been one of the primary culprits in the Rebs' slow start to conference play, but the past weekend showed a change in fortune. Ten of the Rebels' 15 runs over the weekend were scored with two outs, good for a surprising 67%.

- Mike Mayers has to be approaching some sort of record for bad luck pitching. In his last four starts he has logged an ERA of 3.74 and has surrendered two runs or fewer in three of those games. Yet he remains winless in conference play with a record of 0-4. A runner credited to him scored the tying run in the seventh inning Saturday, leaving him with a no decision in the Rebel victory.

Past the Foul Pole
- The Rebel faithful flocked to Swayze in record numbers on Saturday as the 11,729 in attendance set an all-time high. That's a larger crowd than the Cleveland Indians pulled that same day.

- Thanks to the Facebook stalking dutiful research of one right field regular, it was discovered that the mother of Bama center fielder Georgie Salem owns a restaurant in Birmingham called The Asian Rim. The individual then inquired about employment opportunities at the restaurant, stating that he was intrigued by the prospect of recieving an Asian Rim job from Georgie's mom.

- Some of you many have recognized a familiar face dragging the infield during Sunday's seventh inning stretch, as athletic director Ross Bjork jumped in to give the grounds crew a hand. Its not that Pete Boone wouldn't have done that, he just would have requested a yearly pay increase to compensate for the increased workload.

Tweet of the Week

More Links:
Player Stats

This Week:
April 15: at Memphis
April 16: vs Southern Miss (Pearl, MS)
April 19-21: at Tennessee

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