By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
RALEIGH, N.C. – The Wahl Watch ended Saturday, and so did Binghamton’s season.
In what may have been his final appearance at Ole Miss, projected first-round draft pick Bobby Wahl pitched for the first time in two weeks and did so successfully – albeit in a somewhat different manner – as he helped the Rebels stay alive in the Raleigh Regional with an 8-4 win over No. 4 seed Binghamton before 2,069 fans at Doak Field.
No. 2 seed Ole Miss staved off elimination and advances to face William & Mary at noon CST today in another elimination game. The winner will face top seed North Carolina State later today.
Binghamton (30-25) erased a 2-0 deficit with single runs in the third and sixth innings. Ole Miss went back in front in the seventh and took command in the eighth with four runs. Austin Anderson was 4-for-5 to lead the Rebels (38-23).
Wahl had not pitched since the final day of the regular season at LSU when he lasted a season-low 22⁄3 innings.
He went into the Binghamton game with an opponents’ batting average of .189, but Binghamton had eight hits and hit .296 against him.
Wahl went seven innings – 100 pitches – and gave up only two runs, because he minimized his walks, just two, which have sometimes been a problem.
Wahl improved to 10-0, just the third Ole Miss pitcher under Mike Bianco to win 10 games in a season.
“The year that Bobby’s had, as inconsistent as we’ve played throughout the year, he’s been about the most consistent thing on this team,” Bianco said.
“I felt good. In any big game I like to take the ball and give the team a chance to win,” Wahl said. “I didn’t have my best stuff today, but everybody on our defensive side played great, and Austin had a huge day.”
Pre-regional speculation centered on a possible matchup between Wahl and North Carolina State left-hander Carlos Rodon in Saturday’s second round. William & Mary nixed that plan with its 4-2 win over the Rebels in Friday’s opener.
Bianco said he never considered anyone but Wahl to throw against Binghamton.
“After him not pitching last week, and the way we played yesterday, I knew the pressure would be on today. The kids would feel it, and you have to win today to move on,” Bianco said.
Wahl was nearing the end of his day when the Rebels regained the lead for him in the seventh.
Tanner Mathis – who was 2-for-4 – and Anderson had RBI hits in the inning. Ole Miss had 13 hits in the game.
“We faced arguably one of the best pitchers in the country,” Binghamton coach Tim Sinicki said. “We did a good job of putting ourselves in positions to score runs early in the game. We just didn’t come through with the hit when we needed to.”