By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Offensive struggles continued for Ole Miss on Saturday, as Vanderbilt pitcher Tyler Beede settled in after a shaky start and got strong relief help in the back end.
The No. 2-ranked Commodores pushed across runs in the third and fifth innings and won 2-1 before a crowd of 10,851 at Swayze Field.
Ole Miss starter Mike Mayers, as Bobby Wahl did on Friday night, struggled with walks but pitched himself out of trouble enough to keep the Rebels in striking range.
They just didn’t strike, managing only five hits. No. 17 Ole Miss has scored just three runs in its last 42 innings of play.
The Rebels made solid contact against Beede early but couldn’t round the bases. They were ready for his fastball, but as the game went on he varied his pitches more.
“We didn’t have much to show for it, and Beede kind of caught fire and showed why he’s so good,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said.
Coming off a 3-1 loss on Friday, the Rebels have lost an SEC series for the third straight weekend since opening with two wins at Arkansas. Game 3 is at 1:30 today.
With runs a struggle, missed opportunities are magnified such as Will Allen hitting into a double play with runners at the corners to end the second, Will Jamison being thrown out trying to take second on a ball clearly not far enough away from the Vanderbilt catcher in the third or the Rebels’ failing the drive home a runner from second base with less than two outs in the fourth and fifth innings.
The Rebels’ lone run came when Sikes Orvis’ two-out hit in sixth scored Austin Anderson.
That meant Ole Miss (23-8, 4-7 SEC) was just a clutch hit away from tying or taking the lead in the late innings but managed just one hit and one walk against the Vanderbilt (28-4, 10-1) bullpen over the last three innings.
The best late chance came after Anderson’s leadoff single in the eighth. Cleanup hitter Stuart Turner was up next. He struck out for the third time, and Anderson, breaking on the pitch, was caught stealing.
“We came out knowing Beede had a good fastball, and we were ready to jump on that,” Orvis said. “After that they started working more backward in the count. It was a good job on their part, but we’ve got to make the adjustment.”