Baseball is a game of percentages. So you couldn't really blame Mississippi State skipper John Cohen for bringing his outfield in when Errol Robinson -- he of just seven extra base hits in 175 at-bats -- came to the plate with two outs and two men on in the fourth inning of Thursday night's series opener.
Errol crushed a pitch off the center-field wall to plate both runners and give Ole Miss a 2-0 lead in a must-win game in Oxford.
But hey, statistical anomalies will happen, right? So when Errol came back up with two outs and a man on second with the game tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth, Cohen again played the percentages, pulling his outfield in...
And again Errol sent it deep into the outfield, this time plating his career-high third RBI of the game to put the finishing touches on a 4-3 Ole Miss victory.
I bet they won't let Errol hit over their heads tomorrow— Swayze Field (@Swayze_CrazyBSB) May 8, 2015
The W puts the Rebs at two games above .500. If they can win three of their last six, they'll guarantee a winning record and lock themselves into the NCAA Tourney, regardless of what happens in Hoover.
When State tied the game in the sixth, you probably started pouring the bourbon. An error by Colby Bortles, a misplay in the outfield by Connor Cloyd and a terrible breaking pitch by Christian Trent jump-started a three-run inning and looked like the latest in a string of disappointing outings by the once-unhittable Trent. But he buckled down from then on, staying on the mound until the eighth inning (7 hits, 3 runs, 2 earned runs, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts).
That long start can't be understated. With Scott Weathersby presumably penciled in as the new Sunday starter, the Rebs are down to just two reliable bullpen arms: Wyatt Short and Jacob Waguespack. Short only threw 22 pitches to close the ninth, meaning he'll be available again this weekend. Wags will be ready to roll tomorrow behind Brady Bramlett.
Speaking of Short, here's a thing he did in the ninth inning:
Wyatt Short with a circus play https://t.co/NzVWmCdgIy— Jeff Gray (@Jeff_GraySBN) May 8, 2015
The only Rebel besides Robinson to notch two hits (Ole Miss had just six total) was Nic Perkins. Don't worry, I'll save you the trouble of asking Google who the hell that is. A freshman with just 17 at-bats coming into Thursday, Perkins got the start at DH and went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Bramlett takes the mound for Ole Miss in Game 2 on Friday night, and you have to like the Rebs' chances if he can push himself into the later innings.
Oh, and our advice for John Cohen when Errol comes up?