Clearly wanting to save his arms for the weekend against Arkansas, Mike Bianco cobbled together his pitching staff on Wednesday night against Southern Miss, rolling ten arms out to the mound. That backfired as the Rebs blew an early four-run lead to fall 7-6, their second loss to USM this season and fourth consecutive in the series.
With the game tied at six in the top of the ninth, Wyatt Short of all people allowed an RBI single up the middle to give the Golden Eagles their first lead of the game.
This isn't just another meaningless midweek loss. Fighting for a national seed, the Rebs can use all the RPI boosts they can get, and dropping one to No. 67 isn't going to help.
Evan Anderson got the start but went just two innings despite striking out the side to open the game and finishing hitless. Then came the parade: Jacob Waguespack, Austin Blunt, Preston Tarkington, Scott Ashford, Cheyne Bickel, Hawtin Buchanan, Scott Weathersby, Josh Laxer and Short.
Things got rocky after Waguespack exited. Blunt managed to allow two runs without recording an out in the fourth. Preston Tarkington then entered and allowed two runs off four hits in just 1⅔. And just like that, the game was tied at four.
Ole Miss managed to build that four-run lead largely on the back of a three-run first inning. In their March loss to Southern, the Rebs managed just four hits all game. They matched that in the bottom of first, driving in three runs off the bats of Sikes Orvis and Errol Robinson. They finished with 14 hits, five more than USM.
The Rebs pushed back in front in the fifth as Orvis came up with an RBI single to score Austin Anderson. The second baseman made it interesting, pulling off a ridiculous diving stop and flinging it home for a play at the plate, but the ball skipped by the catcher.
The two teams then traded runs for two innings, eventually coming to rest at a 6-6 tie in the bottom of the seventh, where it stayed until USM took the lead in the ninth.