It looked like Ole Miss was well on its way to routing the Golden Eagles from down south on Sunday night after the Rebels put up a four-spot in the first inning, but that didn’t last long.
Drew McDaniel looked shaky at best in his start on the hill for Ole Miss and surrendered six runs in the bottom half of the inning, a frame that he didn’t survive. It was pitching by committee for Ole Miss from then on out, but the Rebel offense couldn’t muster the comeback as Southern Miss topped the Rebels 10-7 in Oxford.
For starters, Drew McDaniel hasn’t been on this stage before in his career, but you can’t have that kind of start with a trip to the super regionals on the line, especially after you were practically gifted four runs in the top half of the inning. McDaniel’s command wasn’t good, and when he found the strike zone, he usually found a Golden Eagle bat waiting on the other end for a base knock. That’s not a recipe for success.
Secondly, the Rebel offense didn’t look very good against what was believed to be a depleted Southern Miss bullpen. Even with putting up seven runs in the contest, Ole Miss was essentially given four of those in the first inning due to some less-than-stellar pitching out of USM, and the Rebels just couldn’t string enough hits together to climb back into the game.
Southern Miss was on the edge of the hosting conversation late in the year, and they are certainly a talented two-seed in this tournament, but they’re a team that Ole Miss should be able to handle nine times out of ten. Let’s hope that Sunday night was the lone exception.
The good news for the Rebels is that they get another crack at Southern Miss tomorrow at noon, weather permitting (although the forecast isn’t great).
The bad news is that Ole Miss has to find a guy to start on the hill for them in this game seven.
The Rebels’ most likely path to advancing to a super regional was a clean sweep of its own regional, and that scenario is now out the window. We’ll see who Mike decides to throw out there, but this is certainly not an ideal situation for the home squad.
Ole Miss baseball has a history of tightening up in June. Let’s hope that trend changes tomorrow, game time has been moved to noon at Swayze.