BLOG: Ole Miss will conclude its home schedule today looking to sweep the Tennessee Volunteers for the first time since 2006.
First pitch on this overcast Mother’s Day is set for 1:30 p.m.
HELLO HIVELY: When Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco opted to move R.J. Hively to the bullpen it was with the intention of having him close out either Friday or Saturday and then turn around and start on Sunday. The way the last couple of series have played out, that initial game plan hasn’t been available. After three weeks, Bianco and the Rebels finally had a weekend play out like they wanted. Hively pitched two scoreless innings Friday to earn his third save of the season. Following Saturday’s 11-inning win, one in which Mike Mayers, Tanner Bailey and Brett Huber pitched, the team announced Hively would indeed start today with the Rebels looking for their first conference sweep of the season.
Hively is 4-4 with a 2.84 ERA. In 66.2 innings, the senior right-hander has struck out 79 and walked 15. Opponents are hitting just .215 off of him.
Tennessee will counter today with Joseph Vanderplas. The left-handed freshman has appeared in just three games previously and is 0-0 with a 14.73 ERA. In 3.2 innings, the Fairfax, Va., native has allowed eight runs (six earned) on nine hits and one walk while also striking out three. Opponents are hitting a more-than-healthy .450 off of the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Vanderplas.
MR. 300: Tennessee entered this weekend with one regular hitting above .300. After going 1-for-9 in Friday and Saturday’s games, Vol second baseman Will Maddox is now hitting .297. Nick Powell, a reserve, is hitting .385 but only has 13 at-bats on the season. By comparison, Ole Miss second baseman Alex Yarbrough enters today’s game .401 (81-for-202).
LYNN-SANITY IN THE PROS: Former Ole Miss ace Lance Lynn is looking for an MLB-best seventh win today against the Braves.
TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS (24-26 overall, 8-18 Southeastern Conference)
2B Will Maddox (.297 BA/.375 OBP/.380 SLG)
SS Zach Osborne (.264/.327/.320)
1B Davis Morgan (.286/.344/.373)
DH Drew Steckenrider (.244/.385/.433)
CF Chris Fritts (.250/.362/.372)
RF Steve Weaver (.214/.333/.250)
LF Chris Pierce (.269/.374/.347)
C Ethan Bennett (.198/.306/.368)
3B Zach Luther (.237/.323/.266)
LHP Joseph Vanderplas (0-0, 14.73)
OLE MISS REBELS (33-18, 13-13)
LF Tanner Mathis (.343/.449/.379)
3B Andrew Mistone (.237/.302/.295)
2B Alex Yarbrough (.401/.450/.545)
1B Matt Snyder (.346/.412/.618)
C Will Allen (.338/.371/.438)
DH John Gatlin (.333/.488/.455)
CF Auston Bousfield (.274/.345/.346)
RF Preston Overbey (.268/.326/.370)
SS Austin Anderson (.233/.347/301)
RHP R.J. Hively (4-4, 2.84)
TENNESSEE 1, Ole Miss 0 (Top 1): Tennessee once again jumped ahead early. UT shortstop Zach Osborne scored from third on a double by center fielder Chris Fritts that dropped over Preston Overbey‘s head in right field.
OLE MISS 1, Tennessee 1 (Bottom 1): Tennessee allowed Ole Miss’ first two batters to reach base via error and after Alex Yarbrough walked to load the bases, Matt Snyder was called out via an infield fly before Will Allen flew out to deep center field to score Tanner Mathis from first. John Gatlin popped up to end the frame with two Rebels still on base.
OLE MISS 3, Tennessee 1 (Bottom 2): Auston Bousfield led off the bottom of the second with a triple and scored on a single to left by Overbey. The Rebel right fielder later came around to score on a single up the middle by Andrew Mistone.
Ole Miss 3, TENNESSEE 2 (Top 5): Zach Luther scored from third on Mistone’s second throwing error of the game. Will Maddox then got caught in a rundown between third and home to end the frame.
OLE MISS 4, Tennessee 2 (Bottom 8): Allen hit a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Mistone and pushed Ole Miss’ lead to 4-2.
———BY THE NUMBERS———
After pitching 3.2 scoreless innings in relief of Hively, right-hander Aaron Greenwood was pulled in favor of junior Brett Huber with a Volunteer on first base and two outs. Huber got a fly ball to right field to end the game and earn his ninth career save.
Hively improved to 5-4 on the year by allowing two unearned runs on four hits and one walk in five innings. Hively also struck out five in his first start since moving to the bullpen four weeks ago.
UT starter Joseph Vanderplas was hit with the loss, allowing three runs (two earned) in 1.2 innings.
With the win, Ole Miss improves to 34-18 overall and 14-13 in the SEC, which places the Rebels in fifth place in the league.
The sweep also make Ole Miss’ first SEC sweep since taking three from Kentucky at home in 2011.
Next up for Ole Miss is a midweek game at Arkansas State Tuesday before closing out the regular season at Vanderbilt this weekend.
(May 13, 2012)