FINAL: Ole Miss 6, Texas A&M 3
The Rebels move to tomorrow's regional championship game at 6:35 p.m. where they will face the TCU-Texas A&M winner.
If the Rebels lose tomorrow the second championship game will be played Monday evening.
Ole Miss continued its Texas trend of timely hitting, much as it did Friday against TCU in the opener.
The Rebels, down 2-0, scratched across a run when Tanner Mathis scored on a wild pitch, then got a 2-out basehit from Auston Bousfield to tie the game.
Matt Snyder had a 2-run double in the fourth to make it 4-2, and Mathis and Snyder both had RBI hits to extend the lead in the sixth to make it 6-2.
Mathis was on base five times and finished 3-for-3 with three runs scored and an RBI. Snyder was 2-for-5 with three RBIs, and Bousfield also had two hits.
As you've read here before, offense had to improve and back the solid starting pitching to give the Rebels a chance in this regional. That's happened through two games.
Where it goes from here remains to be seen. R.J. Hively hasn't pitched much, but he's pitched in two straight games now. He got the save tonight, preserving an outstanding effort by sophomore Mike Mayers, who had a career-high nine striekouts, scattered four hits, gave up three runs, two earned, in 6.1 innings.
After the Aggies cut the lead to 6-3 in the seventh, Brett Huber stranded an inherited runner. He pitched into and out of trouble in the eighth. Huber got off to a good start in the ninth when he got a ground ball for the first out. He followed that with a walk and a hit batter, and Bianco went to Hively, who needed just eight pitches to record two outs - a pop-up that he caught and a ground ball - to end the game.
Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco had high praise for Mathis.
“He makes us go, and we've got four behind him that can really hit. Snyder with the big double with the bases loaded, the 2-out hit from Bousfield … Offensively we were terrific against a very, very good pitcher, but all that goes for naught if we don't get the effort on the mound.”
Bianco said A&M starter Ross Stripling was as good as any pitcher Ole Miss had seen this year. Stripling allowed six runs, five earned, the six runs matching his season high. Oklahoma State scored six against him earlier this month. Stripling went into the game 10-3 with a 2.90 ERA.
The Rebels' struggles to score runs in the last week of the regular season and the SEC tournament have been well-documented, but Texas A&M coach Rob Childress said he wasn't surprised to see them turn a corner here.
“When you look at the bodies, the histories of those players … they know they can hit. It's in there. When we did a good job of making pitches, they fouled them off. When we made mistakes, they didn't miss. They did a good job against TCU's pitchers, and obviously they did a good job against Ross.”
The starting pitcher for the Rebels tomorrow is TBA.
Settling in at Blue Bell Park and intent on trying the ice cream tonight as the scoreboard thermometer reads 96 degrees in this cooler part of the day.
Awaiting lineups. We'll post them when we get them.
The first elimination game was a marathon as TCU rallied to oust Dayton 28-12. TCU led 19-9 as the ninth inning began.
The Rebels are hoping for a solid performance from Mike Mayers and more offensive production to avoid tomorrow's 12:35 elimination game against TCU.
RF Tyler Naquin .385
3B Matt Juengel .304
1B Jacob House .314
C Troy Stein .316
DH Mitchell Nau .232
LF Brandon Wood .263
SS Mikey Reynolds .300
CF Krey Bratsen .223
2B Scott Arthur .269
RHP Ross Stripling 10-3, 2.90, 118 IP, 16 BB, 110 SO, .221 Opp BA
RF Tanner Mathis .349
2B Alex Yarbrough .389
1B Matt Snyder .327
LF Zach Kirksey .288
CF Auston Bousfield .281
DH Sikes Orvis .255
C Will Allen .302
3B Andrew Mistone .236
SS Jake Overbey .192
RHP Mike Mayers 5-3, 3.52 84.1 IP, 26 BB, 60 SO, .225 Opp Ba