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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rebs avoid sweep, cruise past MSU 12-3

BLOG: Tonight’s game against Mississippi State was quite different than the past two.

Facing its first series sweep since 2003, the Rebels mounted 15 hits en route to a 12-3 victory over the Bulldogs at Oxford-University Stadium.Ole Miss wasted no time, scoring six runs (three earned) on former Tupelo standout Chris Stratton (5-6).

Stratton was chased after recording just two outs (both strikeouts). It was his shortest start of the season.

On the other hand, Ole Miss left-hander Austin Wright (5-4) was “electric” in the words of MSU outfielder and former Oxford Charger Brent Brownlee.

Wright allowed two runs on four hits and two walks in 6.1 innings. He also struck out a career-high 10 in what Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco called his biggest performance of the season (taking into account everything that was on the line regarding the series with in-state rival MSU and holding out hope for Hoover).

Speaking of Hoover, Ole Miss now owns a 12-15 conference record and is ninth place in the overall SEC standings, .5 GB of Alabama for the last spot to Hoover.

Here’s a rather in-depth breakdown of where the Rebels stand per RebelGrove.com‘s Chase Parham:

“The Rebels (28-23) will finish the regular season at Arkansas, needing to beat the Razorbacks to qualify for the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Four of the six Western Division schools will make the event in Hoover, Ala. As of now, Arkansas and Auburn are 13-13, Mississippi State is 13-14, Alabama is 12-14, Ole Miss is 12-15 and LSU is 10-16. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head. The three-way tiebreaker is each team’s record against the other teams in the tiebreaker. The Rebels have lost series against each West team they have played this season.”

Alex Yarbrough and Matt Snyder led the Rebels with 4-for-5 and 3-for-4 performances. Yarbrough had one RBI and scored four times, while Snyder hit a two-run homer over the MSU bullpen in right field and had three RBIs to go with two runs scored. He also walked once.

Snyder’s home run was his seventh of the season, tying him with Yarbrough for the team lead.

NEWS AND NOTES: Following the game Bianco said his team was in need of a spark defensively, which led to the big switch-a-roo (Yarbrough at third, Austin Anderson at shortstop and Blake Newalu at second). Both Newalu and Yarbrough have never started at third and second respectively.

The change had pretty good results, especially considering the trio found out after breakfast this morning. Yarbrough made his first assist (5-3) on the first ball he saw at the hot corner, then made his first error at 3B (and sixth of the season) on the very next one hit to him. Newalu made two putouts and one assist, while Anderson had one assist.

—Injured senior Matt Smith hit Wiffle balls today, which points to enough progress where he could play in some capacity next weekend at Arkansas. Smith also caught fly balls on Friday. When batting, Bianco said Smith will probably end up having to wear extra padding to protect the recent stitch work on his left hand stemming from surgery on his third metacarpal.

—Also, junior right-hander R.J. Hively is expected to pitch for Ole Miss on Tuesday against Southeast Missouri State. The game was a late addition to Ole Miss’ schedule following two rainouts.

FILM ROOM: Below are a couple of videos of Snyder, Yarbrough and Wright — respectively — talking about tonight’s game.

 (May 14, 2011)

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