Rebels reign, now deal their ace

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Ole Miss beat rival Mississippi State twice at Swayze Field on Saturday, by scores of 3-0 and 10-8, in a series that barely got started Friday before rain put things on hold. And now the Rebels (35-16, 14-12 SEC) have the luxury of sending ace Bobby Wahl to the mound for today’s 1 p.m. finale.
Wahl (9-0, 1.20 ERA) threw one inning on Friday before the rains came, and coach Mike Bianco decided it best to hold him until today.
“We decided that last night but didn’t want to announce it and get ahead of ourselves,” Bianco said. “It’s great to have your ace out there, and there’s not a guy we’d rather run out there on any of the days.”
Mike Mayers (4-4), the normal Saturday starter, drew the Game 1 assignment when play resumed and tossed seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits to the No. 21-ranked Bulldogs (36-15, 13-13). It was his longest SEC outing of the season.
Mayers said getting slugger Hunter Renfroe to ground into a double play with the bases loaded in the third inning was “a real turning point for me. … I’ve been the guy to give up a run or two in that situation, so that was huge for me, and obviously huge or our team to get out of.”
Auston Bousfield had three hits and a career-high five RBIs in Game 2 to lead an 11-hit Ole Miss attack.
Bousfield had only four RBIs over his previous 24 games, and he now has 23 on the season. His bases-loaded triple in the first gave the Rebels a 3-2 lead, and his two-run double in the fifth made it a 6-3 edge.
“Me and coach (Cliff) Godwin have just been working on the cages, trying to simplify my swing, a little less movement in my swing, keep my head still,” Bousfield said.
Ole Miss was the first team to score double digits on MSU this season. The Bulldogs kept fighting back in Game 2, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth. They finished with 17 hits, including four from Alex Detz.
This is a big setback to MSU’s hopes of hosting an NCAA regional. The Bulldogs entered the weekend one game ahead of Ole Miss in the standings and are now one game behind.
“I thought our kids were way too anxious to play these games and didn’t let the game come to us at all,” Cohen said. “We did not do some basic things on the field to help us win a baseball game.”
brad.locke@journalinc.com