Mike Mayers pitched ahead of batters in the first and second but couldn’t close the innings efficiently. Then Vanderbilt began to make contact in the third.
The irony here is that Mayers walked six batters, and none of his walks scored. That’s not a blueprint for success, mind you, but a picture into what type pitcher Mayers still can be when his control is better. Just 4.2 innings today and lots of pitches.
This isn’t only about pitching. Ole Miss went into this series after back-to-back shutout losses at Florida – which doesn’t have nearly the pitching staff that Vanderbilt does. I didn’t expect big things against this Vanderbilt staff, but you have to manufacture offense. You have to find a way to score. That’s what Vanderbilt did Friday night. It’s what the Rebels aren’t doing, and now they’ve scored just two runs over the last 36 innings.
While today’s loss secured a third straight SEC series defeat, Ole Miss, amazingly, has been in position to win each game against the No. 2 team in the country in spite of erratic starting pitching and weak offense.
You have to find a way to get the runner home when he’s at second with less than two outs, something Ole Miss did not do in the fourth and fifth innings.
When Austin Anderson scored on a 2-out up-the-middle hit by Sikes Orvis the cheers were louder than normal for an ordinary hit, fans just waiting to explode for something really good.
That explosive cheer remained pinned inside. Vanderbilt reliever Carson Fulmer had little trouble with the Rebels, striking out Tanner Mathis with the tying run at second in the seventh and striking out Stuart Turner – Turner’s third strikeout of the day – after Austin Anderson led off the eighth with a basehit. Anderson was breaking on the play and was thrown out at second.
Bright spots? Chris Ellis looked improved in 1.2 innings. He didn’t walk anyone, and of the three hits against him, only one was solid contact. Aaron Greenwood continues to throw strikes and record outs in relief.