For the record, I'm a fan of Thursday-Friday-Saturday SEC baseball. Now, notes and opinions from the Georgia series. ...
The Rebels hit .339 for the weekend but didn't get the key hits or pitches to at least split in the first two games and win the series. On Friday they were unable to get to Georgia starter Alex Wood until the eighth inning.
Meanwhile, they got an uncharacteristic short start from R.J. Hively, who gave up seven hits and five earned runs in 4 innings in the 6-3 loss.
Hively was among the ERA leaders in the SEC until he gave up six earned runs in a five-inning start at Kentucky last week.
After going a stretch of three earned runs in five starts, Hively has given up 11 in his last two.
The Rebels scored four runs on nine hits on Thursday, not a dynamic performance, but when you get to the eighth with a two-run lead you need to be able to close the deal, and they could not.
The bullpen came into focus there, but they also got a short start from Bobby Wahl, who lasted just 4.1 innings. Arm soreness was not a problem, Wahl said. Aaron Greenwood followed Wahl and pitched 2.2 innings without giving up a run but then gave up two in the eighth, and Brett Huber was unable to hold Georgia in what became a six-run eighth for the home team.
On Friday, Tanner Bailey and Hawtin Buchanan had scoreless appearances out of the pen, Bailey for 2.2 innings, Buchanan for two-thirds. In between, Josh Laxer gave up a hit and a run in two-thirds of an innings.
The bullpen needs to expand, and Buchanan and Laxer are the likely options depending on how the midweek shakes out for Sam Smith.
The Rebels cranked out 20 hits in Saturday's 8-3 win. The top four batters in the order were locked in as they say. Alex Yarbrough was only 1-for-5, but Tanner Mathis had four hits, Auston Bousfield and Matt Snyder each had three hits, and the trio went a combined 10-for-18.
Junior college transfer John Gatlin has entered the mix, drawing starts at DH on Friday and Saturday and delivering an RBI double each day.
At the half-way mark of SEC play, the Rebels have won two series (Alabama and Florida), lost three (Auburn, Kentucky, Georgia). At 7-8 they're in position make a run in the Western Division, and three of five remaining series (Arkansas, LSU, Tennessee) will be at home.
It will have to be a strong run if the Rebels have ideas of hosting a regional. For a team that missed postseason altogether a year ago, the first order of business is getting back to the SEC and NCAA tournaments.
Next up is the Governor's Cup game against MSU in Pearl Tuesday night.