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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

LIVE: Ole Miss-St. John’s Game Blog

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — With the Rebels facing off against Big East Tournament champion St. John’s to open the Charlottesville Regional, Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco opted to mix up the lineup a bit and place freshman outfielder Tanner Mathis in left field.

The move, which will be Mathis’ first start since May 9 against Arkansas, pushes Taylor Hashman to right field, Matt Smith to first base and senior David Phillips to the dugout. Mathis will bat in the nine-hole, behind Kevin Mort.

OLE MISS lineup (38-22 overall):
CF Tim Ferguson
C Miles Hamblin
1B Matt Smith
DH Matt Snyder
3B Zach Miller
RF Taylor Hashman
2B Alex Yarbrough
SS Kevin Mort
LF Tanner Mathis
LHP Drew Pomeranz (8-2, 2.21 ERA)

ST. JOHN’S lineup (40-18):
CF Scott Ferrara
2B Matt Wessinger
SS Joe Panik
LF Jeremy Baltz
3B Greg Hopkins
RF Jimmy Parque
1B Paul Karmas
DH Sean O’Hare
C Joe Witkowski
RHP Kyle Hansen (8-1, 3.09 ERA)

DAY 1 ROUNDUP: For more from Day 1 of the Charlottesville Regional, click HERE.

FATIGUE COULD BE AN ISSUE FOR HANSEN: St. John’s did not announce freshman right-hander Kyle Hansen would start until Thursday. The late announcement was due mostly to the fact Hansen had pitched 8.0 innings against South Florida on Thursday, and then pitched 6.1 innings in the Big East Tournament’s title game on Sunday against UConn. On Thursday, SJ coach Ed Blankmeyer said he had evaluated Hansen and talked with the 6-foot-7 hurler before making his decision.

SCORING SUMMARY:
St. John’s 0, Ole Miss 2 (Bottom 2): Ole Miss started off the scoring in the bottom of the second. After Zach Miller reached base via a single through the left side, Taylor Hashman advanced him to second when he legged out a bunt single. A sacrifice bunt by Alex Yarbrough put the runners on second and third with one out. A groundout by Kevin Mort and a triple by Tanner Mathis (standing up, none the less) scored both Miller and Hashman.
St. John’s 0, Ole Miss 3 (Bottom 3): Ole Miss catcher Miles Hamblin added to the Rebels lead with a solo home run over the wall in right-center. It was his seventh home run of the season and third in the of the post-season (three in last five games).
St. John’s 0, Ole Miss 6 (Bottom 4): Yarbrough hit a no-doubt-about-it homer into the right field bleachers to add to the Rebels’ lead. Tim Ferguson joined in on the scoring later in the frame with a two-run homer into the pine trees beyond the wall in left-center. Ferguson’s ninth HR of the year also scored Mort.
St. John’s 0, Ole Miss 7 (Bottom 5): A sacrifice fly by Yarbrough with the bases loaded scores Matt Snyder from third base without a throw to push Ole Miss’ lead to 7-0.
St. John’s 3, Ole Miss 7 (Top 8 ): Big East Rookie of the Year Jeremy Baltz jumped all over the first pitch he saw from relief pitcher Eric Callender, placing it in the left field bleachers for a three-run homer. Baltz was the first batter Callender faced after entering the game in relief of starter Drew Pomeranz.
St. John’s 3, Ole Miss 10 (Bottom 8 ): St. John’s used four pitchers in the eighth as control became an issue. With the bases loaded, Jose Rodriguez, St. John’s third pitcher of the frame, walked Snyder, scoring Mathis. Hashman’s two-RBI single to right field scored Miller and Smith without a throw, pushing Ole Miss’ lead to 10-3 and putting pinch runner Jordan King on third.
St. John’s 4, Ole Miss 10 (Top 9): A deep sacrifice fly by Joe Panik with the bases loaded scored pinch-hitter Jimmy Brennan easily. A walk with the bases loaded to Greg Hopkins scored Robert Case and ended Callender’s night. Right-hander Rory McKean came on in relief with two outs and induced a groundout to end the Red Storm’s threat.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: Pomeranz earned the win for Ole Miss. The junior, who is expected to be selected within the first 10 picks of Monday’s MLB Draft, allowed two runs on seven hits and three walks in 7.0 innings while also striking out five. Pomeranz’s fastball was steadily in the low 90s and peaked at 93 miles per hour. The win improved Pomeranz’s record to 9-2… McKean, who pitched all of 0.1 innings, earned his first save of the season… Hansen fell to 8-2 on the year with the loss. Hansen, who pitched for the third time in 10 days, allowed six earned runs on seven hits in 4.0 innings. He also struck out three… Making his first start since the Sunday game of the Arkansas series on May 9, was 1-for-3 on the day with one run scored, one RBI, one walk and one triple. He was also picked off of first… Every Ole Miss starter tallied a hit against the Big Storm except for Matt Smith and Snyder. They still made their presences felt, however, walking three times between them and scoring one run each… St. John’s used seven pitchers in the game, with five tallying two outs or less.

QUOTE OF THE GAME:

Home runs hurt us early and walks hurt us late. — St. John’s coach Ed Blankmeyer on giving up three home runs early, and then, after Hansen did not walk a batter in 4.0 innings, piling up nine walks the rest of the game.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: While Pomeranz obviously was a big reason for the Rebels’ win tonight, the Player of the Game award goes to Mathis. The freshman, who had been playing strictly as a pinch batter/runner/fielder the last couple of weeks, made the most of his first start in nearly a month. The Louisiana native gives Ole Miss some much-needed speed in the spacious Davenport Field outfield. Also, did I mention he did not commit an error, nor did he strikeout.

IN THE HOUSE: After Game 1 drew an attendance of 4,130, Game 2 had an announced crowd of 3,434.

WHAT’S NEXT: Ole Miss will now play Virginia in the second game on Saturday at approximately 6 p.m. Ole Miss will start RHP Aaron Barrett (7-3, 4.03 ERA). Virginia, who has not officially announced a starter, will either go with LHP Danny Hultzen (9-1, 2.43 ERA) or RHP Robert Morey (9-3, 3.60 ERA). Hultzen pitched 5.1 innings in last year’s Oxford Super Regional against Ole Miss and allowed two runs on one walk and two hits while also striking out five. He registered a no decision in the game. Closer Kevin Arico, who is back as UVA’s closer, was hit with the Game 1 loss, surrendering a walk-off home run to Smith. This year Arico has a 2.93 ERA and is 1-1 with a team-high 16 saves. Morey started Game 2 of the Oxford Super Regional last year and allowed three runs on five walks and two hits while also striking out five in 5.0 innings. He would earn a no decision in the game, however, as former starter Andrew Carraway (who is also an alum of Walton High in Marietta, Ga…) would later earn the win by pitching 3.1 innings in relief.

AROUND THE COUNTRY: For a complete roundup of how other regionals fared (including links to various Game Trackers), click HERE(June 4, 2010)

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