A few more odds and ends from last night …
Mike Mayers was brilliant for 6.1 innings. He's really become more consistent in getting deeper into games, but there are still gaps to fill in. He wasn't going to go much past 6.1 innings and 121 pitches, at least not with the same effectiveness in scattering just four hits, two earned runs.
The bullpen brought a mixed bag of results. When you bring your closer in the game you're hoping he can finish even when you go to him a little earlier than you might in usual circumstances.
Brett Huber wasn't available to pitch on Friday because of some arm soreness, Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said.
Huber never looked really sharp last night, but it's hard for hitters to get clean hits against him.
He entered the game with one out in the seventh and the Aggies with the potential fourth run at second base. Huber walked the first batter he faced, the nine-hole hitter.
He then got a strikeout against a very good, aggressive leadoff hitter in A&M's Tyler Naquin. He was down 2-0 in the count when he got a fly ball to end the inning.
Huber allowed the first to men in the eighth to reach with a single and walk. He followed that with a strikeout, a nice on-the-run catch by Will Jamison in right, allowing one runner to advance to third, and a swinging strikeout on a full count to end the inning.
After Huber retired the first batter in the ninth with a ground out, it looked like he might close the deal, but that was Hively, who was very efficient with the only two batters he faced, using just eight pitches.
Huber threw 45 pitches in 2.0 innings. He might be available today, but that would be stretching what he usually does on a regular weekend.
Hively hasn't thrown many pitches, but he's thrown back-to-back days, and that could limit his effectiveness.
That being said, expect Bianco to pull out the stops to try to win tonight at 6:35 if at possible. Winning the first two games in a regional is a huge advantage, and that's why he went to Huber and Hively early last night.
“Mathematically, it is not even close. There is still work to be done. We will enjoy this game tonight but we know we have to come to play tomorrow. The difference, and the reason you go to Huber early and Hively, is that if you win this one you only need to win one more. If you lose this one you have to win three. We were going to do whatever we had to do to win this game.”
It wouldn't be shocking to see something unusual for this game, like maybe Bobby Wahl (118 pitches Friday) warming up and closing a game with a short appearance.
After knocking off the 1 and 2 seeds in the regional, the Rebels, who spent the previous two weeks in an offensive funk, are feeling very confident right now.
Tanner Mathis: “It feels great. That was our goal the whole time, to come in here and play our best baseball of the year. Coach told us all season that our best baseball is in front of us, and he was right. We have put together some great innings and some great at-bats by a lot of people. All the hard work is finally paying off for us, and we have been real lucky the last couple games.”