BLOG: Hello again from Regions Park in Hoover, Ala., the site of the 2012 Southeastern Conference Tournament.
After losing to Kentucky 2-0 in their opener, the Ole Miss turned around and defeated Arkansas and preseason SEC Pitcher of the Year D.J. Baxendale 2-0 on Wednesday thanks in large part to the pitching efforts of Mike Mayers and Brett Huber.
Today, the Rebels will face one of the top pitchers in the country when they face off with LSU and right-handed junior Kevin Gausman at 9:30 a.m.
The game will also be broadcast on SportSouth and ESPN3.com.
With R.J. Hively suffering from tenderness, the Rebels will turn to right-handed junior Tanner Bailey to help extend their stay in Hoover.
Tuesday, Bailey allowed one hit over two scoreless innings against Kentucky in relief of Bobby Wahl.
On the year, Bailey is 2-1 with a 3.54 ERA. In 28 innings, Bailey has struck out 33 and walked just seven while limiting opponents to a .121 batting average.
Today will mark Bailey’s third start of the season. His first two starts couldn’t have been more different; Bailey threw four perfect innings in the Rebels’ 4-2 loss to the suddenly red-hot Memphis Tigers before not making it out of the first inning at Mississippi State seven days later.
In his lone relief appearance against LSU on May 5, Bailey allowed two hits and struck out two in Ole Miss’ 7-4 win.
Starting opposite of Bailey will be Gausman, a likely Golden Spikes Award finalist and possible top 10 selection in next month’s MLB Draft.
The Colorado native is 9-1 on the year with a 2.86 ERA. In 100.2 innings, Gausman has struck out 118 and and walked 23.
In his start against Ole Miss, Gausman allowed three runs on six hits in 7.2 innings in LSU’s eventual 4-3 win in 13 innings.
MORE SHUFFLING: Yesterday, the Rebels switched up the lineup by putting Zach Kirksey in left field, Tanner Mathis in right field, Sikes Orvis at designated hitter and sliding catcher Will Allen from the middle of the order to seventh. Today, Rebel skipper Mike Bianco inserted freshman Jake Overbey into the lineup at shortstop in place of senior Blake Newalu and will bat him ninth. Today will mark Overbey’s fourth start of the season and first against an SEC opponent. Overbey, who was drafted in the 10th round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies, is hitting .263 (5-for-19) in spot duty with a .417 OBP (four walks, six strikeouts) and a .263 slugging percentage (all five hits are singles). Overbey has been viewed as the third-string shortstop this year behind Newalu and Austin Anderson, but with Anderson in Oxford, Miss., due to a fractured finger on his throwing hand suffered against Arkansas State on May 15, Preston’s younger brother was elevated to backup. Newalu has recently come back from shin splints after missing the Tennessee series, and was 3-for-7 at Vanderbilt last weekend but is 0-for-7 this week against Kentucky and Arkansas.
SAY WHAT? Curious what was said following yesterday’s 2-0 win over Arkansas? Click HERE for quotes from Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn, Arkansas second baseman Bo Bigham, Ole Miss second baseman Alex Yarbrough, Ole Miss pitchers Mike Mayers and Brett Huber, and Rebel coach Mike Bianco.
BY THE NUMBERS: Ole Miss enters today’s game with the fourth-best team batting average (.234) and third-best ERA (.106). The Rebels are also one of three teams to not make an error. Individually, Matt Snyder is 5-for-7, putting him second behind Kentucky’s A.J. Reed, who was 4-for-4 against Ole Miss. Yarbrough is also on the leader board with a .429 (3-for-7) batting average. On the pitching side, Mayers’ eight strikeouts yesterday are tied with Chris Stratton for second-best behind Jonathon Crawford‘s nine in 5.2 innings against Auburn.
No. 1 LSU TIGERS (42-15 overall)
SS Austin Nola (.301 BA/.419 OBP/.425 SLG)
DH Grant Dozar (.262/.350/.456)
RF Mason Katz (.332/.425/.572)
LF Raph Rhymes (.470/.522/.570)
1B Tyler Moore (.265/.326/.376)
C Ty Ross (.303/.363/.406)
2B JaCoby Jones (.258/.312/.366)
3B Tyler Hanover (.287/.372/.364)
CF Arby Fields (.223/.291/.314)
RHP Kevin Gausman (9-1, 2.86 ERA)
No. 9 OLE MISS REBELS (35-23)
RF Tanner Mathis (.348/.448/.396)
2B Alex Yarbrough (.387/.441/.517)
1B Matt Snyder (.339/.407/.578)
LF Zach Kirksey (.291/.386/.661)
CF Auston Bousfield (.276/.351/.355)
DH Sikes Orvis (.256/.370/.385)
C Will Allen (.305/.335/.401)
3B Andrew Mistone (.234/.298/.289)
SS Jake Overbey (.263/.417/.263)
RHP Tanner Bailey (2-1, 3.54)
LSU 2, Ole Miss 0 (Top 1): The game didn’t exactly get off to a great start for Ole Miss as the top-seeded Tigers opened the contest with three consecutive singles by Austin Nola, Grant Dozar and Mason Katz. After Raph Rhymes lined out to first, Tyler Moore scored Nola on a fly to center field. Ty Ross followed the sacrifice fly up with a single up the middle, scoring Dozar.
LSU 2, OLE MISS 1 (Bottom 2): Auston Bousfield led off the bottom of the second with a double into the left field corner, advanced to third on a groundout by Sikes Orvis and scored on a single to center by Will Allen.
LSU 3, Ole Miss 1 (Top 3): Katz led off the third with a walk and advanced to second on a single by Rhymes. After Moore sacrificed both runners over with a bunt, Ross grounded out to second base to score Katz.
LSU 4, Ole Miss 1 (Top 6): Dozar extended LSU’s lead to 4-1 in the sixth by laying down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Tyler Hanover from third and advance Nola to second.
LSU 4, OLE MISS 2 (Bottom 6): After Zach Kirksey drew a one-out walk and then advanced to second on a wild pitch, he was brought home by a ground rule double off the bat of Bousfield.
LSU 9, Ole Miss 2 (Top 8): LSU put the game away for good in the eighth thanks to an RBI-double by Nola, a two-run double over Bousfield’s head by pinch hitter Jordy Snikeris and RBI-singles by Rhymes and Moore.
LSU 11, Ole Miss 2 (Top 9): The Tigers added insult to injury when Snikeris took Rebel relief pitcher Josh Laxer yard for a two-run shot over the left field wall.
Gausman earned the win, allowing just two runs on seven this and one walk while also striking out seven in seven innings.
Bailey fell to 2-2 on the year after allowing three runs on seven hits in three innings.
Hanover had four hits while Nola had three for LSU. Bousfield led Ole Miss with three hits, while Yarbrough tacked on two of his own.
With the loss, Ole Miss now heads home to Oxford, Miss., to await the NCAA selection show on Monday. (May 24, 2012)