By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – A shaky second inning included a mound visit by Mike Bianco, but the speech was more about strategy than fire and emotion.
“You think I chewed their rear ends, don’t you? I probably felt like it but didn’t,” the Ole Miss coach said.
Whatever the content, Mike Mayers and his teammates took the message to heart and took Kentucky to the woodshed in an 11-5 win to even their SEC series Friday before a Swayze Field announced crowd of 7,676.
The winner of today’s 2:15 p.m. game will take the series unless rain forces a cancellation. The game, if played, will be televised by Fox Sports Net.
No. 18 Ole Miss (31-13, 11-9 SEC) collected 13 hits, three of them from Andrew Mistone, who missed the cycle by a home run and drove in five runs.
The 11 runs were the Rebels’ most in an SEC game and a welcome relief for Mayers. Ole Miss had averaged just 22⁄3 runs in his six SEC starts.
The Rebels jumped on Kentucky left-hander Jerad Grundy with four runs in the first but squandered nearly all of that good fortune the next half inning. Mayers allowed a walk and an infield hit to the first two batters.
One run scored on a balk when Mayers fell off the mound, another when first baseman Preston Overbey couldn’t catch a head-high throw from catcher Stuart Turner after Turner dropped a third strike.
Kentucky (25-17, 8-12) had Mayers wobbly in the second didn’t have the strength for the big push. He stayed in the game and recovered to throw four more scoreless innings. He lasted six innings with three walks, eight strikeouts and only one hit.