Coaches in all sports sign junior college players with the hope that they’ll get a quick impact from an athlete with a little more seasoning than one who has come straight from high school.
It doesn’t always work out that way, and it didn’t work out that way for R.J. Hively. Some juco guys blossom in their second seasons, and that’s what’s happening with Hively.
Pitching was an unknown for Ole Miss going into this season, the uncertainty based largely on the fact that Hively, who from an early point in preseason work looked destined for a weekend role, struggled in 2011.
Much of the struggles were due to arm soreness, which he talks about in the story. But there’s a sense of maturity about Hively, a fifth-year senior, now that’s helping him achieve at the college level like he has not achieved any time previously.
Hively was on a roll before the Florida series and turned in another quality start against the Gators, giving Ole Miss a chance to win with a 5.1-inning outing from which he left with a 3-2 lead.
They’ll need another strong day from Hively Saturday at Kentucky, which has been one of the top offensive teams in the SEC this season.