It’s very muggy with lots of fog at Hoover Met this morning. Ole Miss and Alabama will play the day’s first game, an elimination game, at 9:30. Here are Ole Miss leaders for two games in the SEC tournament:
Austin Anderson 4-for-8 (.500), 2 2B, 1 RBI
Stuart Turner 3-for-7 (.429), 1 RBI
Tanner Mathis 2-for-7 (.286)
Andrew Mistone 2-for-7 (.286)
All others have one hit or fewer
Christian Helsel 1-for-5 (.200), 1 2B
Will Jamison 1-for-5 (.200)
Preston Overbey 1-for-6 (.167)
Auston Bousfield 1-for-8 (.125)
Sikes Orvis 0-for-5 (.000)
Austin Knight 1-for-2 (.500)
Jake Overbey and Cameron Dishon have played but not batted.
Ole Miss is hitting .258 in two games, its opponents .264
Mike Mayers allowed no earned runs in 6.1 innings and has no ERA
Sam Smith allowed one earned run in 6.0 innings and has a 1.50 ERA
The bullpen has a 2.70 ERA, all of it applied to Aaron Greenwood, who was charged with one earned run — Arkansas’ winning run that scored on Matt Denny’s wild pitch — in 3.1 innings of work in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss.
I don’t think the Rebels do much to their NCAA seeding here. The Game 3 win at LSU last Saturday was big, getting to 15-15 in the regular season. It’s good that they’ve won a game here and have advanced to the traditional double-elimination format, but I figure they’re a 2 seed whatever they do.
The Ole Miss RPI remains strong at 18 following Tuesday’s loss. Shouldn’t change too much if they lose today. Alabama’s RPI is 26.
So if the Rebels are a solid 2 seed the most important thing to accomplish here has been for the bullpen, which struggled so mightily down the stretch, to right itself and have some success.
Through two games that’s happened. Jeremy Massie, Tanner Bailey and Aaron Greenwood have had good performances.
Item two on the agenda is for starting pitching to remain consistent. That’s happened too. Mike Mayers and Sam Smith had strong outings and now will have plenty of time to rest before being called on in a regional, which won’t be before the second game, which means they have nine or 10 days’ rest before pitching again.
Also important is how how handle Bobby Wahl. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him pitch in relief today, especially if the Rebels have a lead and a chance to win. A win would be the second for Ole Miss here, which never hurts. Wahl could in essence pitch his weekly “bullpen” workout, meaning he’d pitch fewer innings than in a real start in which he’d be expected to go as long as he could. Then he too would have more than a week’s rest before his next start.
Offensively, it’s an “is what it is” thing. No stars are about to emerge and power the Rebels through a regional bracket. There may be a couple of good individual performances, and hopefully those would be strung together for maximum effect.
The personality of this team has been clearly established. Starting pitching is its strength, and those starters need to be supported with good pitching on the back end.
So far from two games in the SEC tournament the Rebels can leave here with encouragement on both fronts. We’ll see what happens in their third game here in a bit.