Bianco turns to McKean to start against LSU

By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal

HOOVER, Ala. – Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco did not immediately name a starting pitcher following the Rebels’ 10-7, 10-inning SEC tournament win over Auburn Friday.
Bianco retreated to the hotel to consider who might be available and decided on senior right-hander Rory McKean, who has pitched primarily in middle relief.
McKean did not throw against Auburn but pitched 12/3 innings against Alabama on Thursday.
Right-handers Trent Rothlin and Matt Tracy were both used against Auburn, Rothlin for an inning, Tracy for 12/3.
McKean is 4-1 with a 5.29 earned run average in 34 innings.
LSU’s pitching staff will be somewhat more rested. The No. 8-seeded Tigers had Friday off after defeating Florida and Vanderbilt over the first two days.
The Tigers will throw junior right-hander Ben Alsup (3-0, 4.33).
SEC tournament success
Ole Miss is now 25-22 in 13 SEC tournament appearances. The Rebels have reached the SEC tournament in nine of Bianco’s 10 seasons, compiling an 18-15 mark during that time. Today will mark the Rebels’ sixth time to reach the semifinals. They won the tournament championship in 2006 and played for it in 2005 and 2008.
Hamblin’s new streak
Catcher Miles Hamblin did not have a home run as he did in the first two games but did extend his SEC tournament hitting streak to three games with a two-out RBI single in the Rebels’ three-run seventh. A .225 hitter on the season, Hamblin is hitting .250 in the tournament with two home runs and four RBIs.
Hashman leads at the plate
Designated hitter Matt Snyder stormed back from his two-week absence because of shoulder soreness with a 7 for 9 weekend in the regular season series against Auburn. His 1 for 4 performance Friday made him 3 for 11 in the SEC tournament (.272).
Hashman is the Rebels’ leading hitter here, his 2 for 5 game Friday making him 5 for 12 (.416) with four RBIs.
Matt Smith was 4 for 8 with a double and three runs scored over the first two games but was 0 for 6 with three strikeouts against Auburn.
The Rebels’ 12 hits lifted their collective SEC tournament average from .254 to .265.