Missouri holds out its ace, but then folds

OXFORD – Missouri coach Tim Jamieson gambled by holding his ace but didn’t think he’d get a 2 of Clubs performance from his No. 2 pitcher.
Tigers starter Nick Tepesch gave up three hits and three walks, and his one-inning outing was further complicated when his defense didn’t turn a double play on a chopper near second early on.
No. 3 seed Western Kentucky, the co-champion of the Sun Belt Conference, turned a six-run first into an 11-5 win over the second-seeded Tigers to advance to today’s 5 p.m. game at the Oxford Regional.
Jamieson’s thinking was that his No. 1 pitcher, right-hander Kyle Gibson, would start today’s game, but with the Tigers (34-26) in the loser’s bracket, Jamieson was ambiguous about his plans.
“We’ll see. We don’t even know who we’re playing,” he said at the postgame news conference. “We will look for what we feel gives us the best chance to win.”
Jamieson wanted to match Gibson (10-3, 3.47 ERA) against Ole Miss on the second day. He could try his luck with another pitcher today and hold Gibson again if that matchups work out that way.
Cregar’s homecoming
– Oxford native Chad Cregar was a quiet 0-for-4 in his homecoming, but he walked and scored in the first inning when Western Kentucky took control.
Cregar struck out twice and had three put-outs in right field.
He played at Swayze Field several times as a high school and community college player. This was his third appearance as a Division I player. Cregar had a two-run home run when Western won 8-5 here last year.
Pomeranz in the dance
– Ole Miss lefty Drew Pomeranz has now started two NCAA tournament games but earned his first decision against Monmouth.
Pomeranz started the Rebels’ elimination game as a freshman last year, working 4 1-3 innings against Bethune-Cookman. He allowed one run on seven hits with seven strikeouts last year at Miami.
Rebels and Hilltoppers
– Ole Miss and Western Kentucky have met five times previously with the Rebels holding a 3-2 advantage. The Hilltoppers, however, have played spoiler against the Rebels in an Oxford Regional before.
They defeated Ole Miss 1-0 in 2004, the first school’s first regional home game. The loss dropped the Rebels into the loser’s bracket, and they were eliminated by Washington the next day.
The teams split a mid-week series in Oxford last year.

Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal

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