Watching Ole Miss work its way through two SEC tournament games without having used R.J. Hively it’s natural to assume he’ll start tomorrow’s elimination game – the Rebels’ second in two days – against LSU.
He probably will, but Mike Bianco stopped short of naming Hively the starter earlier today following the 2-0 win over Arkansas.
“RJ’s got some tenderness. We’ll check him. He’s been getting better each day, but we’ve leaned on him a lot the last couple weeks of the season. It has nothing to do with gamesmanship. It has to do with how he feels in the morning,” said Bianco, noting that he has “leaned on” Hively a good bit since moving the senior right-hander to the bullpen.
Hively is 5-5 with a 2.88 ERA. Since moving to the bullpen he has three saves and a win in relief.
He’s also made two starts during that time, winning against Tennessee and losing against Vanderbilt.
Hively took the loss in the 13-inning game against LSU, the series opener. He was brought in with an opportunity to get the save but gave up a home run in the eighth inning. He then threw four scoreless before LSU manufactured a run in the 13th.
In the same game Ole Miss had decent success against LSU ace Kevin Gausman, at least by Gausman’s standards.
Gausman went 7.2 innings, and the Rebels managed three runs on six hits.
Gausman, a righty, is No. 5 on Baseball America’s list of the top 100 draft prospects.
He’s 9-1 with a 2.86 ERA in 14 starts this season. He’s thrown 100.2 innings with 23 walks, 118 strikeouts. He’s allowed a total of three runs, both earned, in his last two starts, complete-game wins against Vanderbilt and South Carolina.