Postgame video to come.
The ULL offense was as good as advertised, but the Cajuns had plenty of help along the way in this one.
Mike Bianco was very careful in his postgame comments to balance the credit for the Cajuns – when you punish a team’s mistakes the way they did they deserve a lot of credit – while pointing out a sub-par outing for his team.
“The key tonight, again I said you’ve got to be careful. I don’t want to take anything away from them. They beat us. They got 11 hits. I felt we gave them too many opportunities, and that’s what we talked about all week, to limit their opportunities. If you do that, obviously you have a much better shot,” Bianco said.
The Ole Miss offense was OK but not dynamic. The Rebels had five runs on 10 hits.
Maybe the game plays out differently for Ole Miss on offense had the Rebels not found themselves in such a big hole because of the pitching.
Chris Ellis struggled to find the strike zone. He gave up only one hit, but had three walks and a hit batter in 2 1-3 innings.
Ellis downplayed the idea that Auston Bousfield’s dropped fly ball – which allowed the Cajuns to score their first run – affected him.
That came in the second inning when Ole Miss was ahead 3-0. ULL got only one run from that, and Ellis struck out the next guy to get out of the second.
But he was not the same pitcher after that.
“It didn’t really affect me at all. Some things happen. That will probably never happen again in his career. They scored one run. We had a two-run lead at that point. I struck out the next guy, so it seemed like it was fine, that it didn’t affect me in any way,” Ellis said.
Clearly something affected Ellis.
Even in the strikeout to end the second he threw a pitch that hit the back stop on the fly. His third inning went walk-HBP-walk before a ground out drove in a run.
It was the only out Ellis would get in the third.
The next batter, Tyler Girouard, got every bit of an Ellis pitch and launched a home run out of the park in right field.
That finished Ellis and brought on Jeremy Massie.
Bianco said he thought Ellis, “kind of lost command there and lost a little bit of his composure. It happens, but it hasn’t happened to him all year.”
Ole Miss (44-19) had 10 hits, two each from Braxton Lee – who doubled and tripled – and Bousfield.
Sikes Orvis had a double and nearly had an opposite field home run but was caught near the top of the fence, best I could tell from people who apparently saw replays, by ULL left fielder Caleb Adams.
Bousfield says he’s confident the Rebels will bounce back tomorrow night at 8 in a game that will either extend their season at least one more day or end it if things don’t go well.
“We’ve bounced back all year. I don’t expect anything less from us. I think we’ll be ready to go tomorrow,” he said.
Bianco also expects a more solid showing from the Rebels, but tonight he was clearly disappointed by the way Ole Miss gave ULL (58-8) chances to get around the bases.
“We drop a fly ball, they score a run. We walk a guy, hit a guy, walk a guy to start the next inning. Those three guys score. Then we balk a guy in. Then we don’t field a bunt and give them an extra baserunner, so not only does that give them a baserunner, but it’s one less out when that home run was hit. You can’t do that against most teams but certainly not against that offense.”