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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rebels get complete effort, top A&M

BLOG: Day 2 of the College Station (Texas) Regional will conclude with the Texas A&M Aggies hosting three-seed Ole Miss.

First pitch at Blue Bell Park is set for 6:35 p.m. As will be the case all weekend, the game will be broadcast on ESPN3.com.

———QUICK CLICKS: AN iPHONE’S TOUR OF COLLEGE STATION———

With some downtime before the game tonight, we took the opportunity to checkout College Station. Below is a quick iPhone tour of the day’s visits. First up are some pictures from the Bonfire Memorial (click the link if you’re unfamiliar with the memorial) on the Texas A&M campus:

Then we wondered over to Kyle Field, which is Texas A&M’s 83,000-seat tribute to football. The stadium is across the train tracks from Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. Here’s a quick video of the stadium:

Prior to lunch we wondered into Aggieland Outfitters, a Texas A&M apparel store. I learned (well, reaffirmed) two things there: 1.) Texas A&M is ready to join the SEC. 2.) The Aggies do NOT like Texas:

    

———HOW DID WE GET HERE?———

Ole Miss rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to defeat Texas Christian University 6-2 in Game 1 of the College Station Regional on Friday. The host Aggies followed up the Rebels’ win by topping Atlantic 10 champ Dayton 4-1.

In the game, ace Michael Wacha pitched 7.1 scoreless innings before handing the game over to Estevan Uriegas and Kyle Martin. Wacha struck out nine against three walks and five hits to improve to 9-1 on the year.

The top of A&M’s order did the bulk of the damage offensively against the Flyers. The top four spots in the order collected eight of the Aggies’ nine hits and were a combined 8-for-17 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Leadoff batter Tyler Naquin was 2-for-5 and third baseman Matt Juengel were each 2-for-5. First baseman Jacob House was 3-for-5.

Earlier today, the Flyers held a brief lead on the Horned Frogs before dropping the game 28-12 (!!!). The loss eliminated Dayton from the NCAA Tournament. TCU survives to play the loser of tonight’s Ole Miss-Texas A&M game on Sunday at 12:35 p.m. in the regional’s second elimination game.

 ———TAKING THE MOUND———
GIG’EM: The Aggies will send Ross Stripling (20-3, 2.90 ERA) to the mound. Today will mark the senior right-hander’s 48th career start for Texas A&M. Stripling has been nothing if not consistent during his four-year career at Texas A&M and currently ranks third all-time in the Aggies’ record books with 31 wins (No. 1 and 2 are Mark Ross and Mark Thurmond, who each collected 34 wins from 1976-79). Earlier this year, Stripling threw the 11th no-hitter in A&M history, blanking San Diego State 1-0 on May 12. Against the Aztecs, Stripling walked just one against seven strikeouts in the 106-pitch performance. The start before (a 7-2 win over Texas Tech), Stripling collected a career-high 13 strikeouts. In his most-recent start, Stripling allowed five runs in eight innings in the Aggies’ Big XII tournament loss to Kansas on May 25.
Overall this year, Stripling has struck out 110 (and 330 in 346 career innings) against just 16 walks in 118 innings and has held opponents to a .221 batting average. Thursday, Stripling and Friday’s starter Michael Wacha were each selected as second-team All-Americans by Louisville Slugger. Outfielder Naquin was also named a Louisville Slugger third-team All-American, marking the second consecutive year the Aggies have had three players honored named Louisville Slugger All-Americans. HERE is the listing for all three teams.
ROAD REBELS: Taking the mound for Ole Miss will be sophomore right-hander Mike Mayers. The Ohioan is 5-3 on the year with a 3.52 ERA. In 84.1 innings, Mayers has struck out 60 against 26 walks and opponents are hitting just .225 off of him. In his last outing, Mayers blanked Arkansas for seven innings and lifted the Rebels to a 2-0 victory in the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
———STARTING LINEUPS———
TEXAS A&M AGGIES (43-16 overall)
RF Tyler Naquin (.385 BA/.462 OBP/.543 SLG)
3B Matt Juengel (.304/.385/.374)
1B Jacob House (.314/.375/.482)
C Troy Stein (.316/.393/.434)
DH Mitchell Nau (.232/.292/.417)
LF Brandon Wood (.263/.348/.417)
SS Mikey Reynolds (.300/.413/.400)
CF Krey Bratsen (.223/.314/.279)
2B Scott Arthur (.269/.322/.300)
RHP Ross Stripling (10-3, 2.90 ERA)
OLE MISS REBELS (36-24)
RF Tanner Mathis (.349/.448/.396)
2B Alex Yarbrough (.389/.441/.523)
1B Matt Snyder (.327/.395/.558)
LF Zach Kirksey (.288/.388/.644)
CF Auston Bousfield (.281/.356/.367)
DH Sikes Orvis (.255/.352/.362)
C Will Allen (.302/.335/.396)
3B Andrew Mistone (.236/.302/.296)
SS Jake Overbey (.192/.323/.192)
RHP Mike Mayers (5-3, 3.52)
———SCORING SUMMARY——— 
TEXAS A&M 2, Ole Miss 0 (Top 3): The Aggies took a 2-0 lead in the third thanks to a double to right field by Tyler Naquin that scored shortstop Mikey Reynolds and a throwing error by Ole Miss starter Mike Mayers in the next at-bat that scored Naquin. A&M third baseman Matt Juengel hit a nubber down the first base line and looked like he’d be out, but Mayers threw it away trying to nab him at first. Both runs were scored with two outs.
OLE MISS 2, Texas A&M 2 (Bottom 3): Ole Miss wasted no time responding. After loading the bases in the second but getting nothing to show for it, the Rebels cashed in on three hits a wild pitch and an error in the third. Right fielder Tanner Mathis and second baseman Alex Yarbrough led off the frame with back-to-back singles and after first baseman Matt Snyder grounded out, Mathis scored from third on a wild pitch by A&M RHP Ross Stripling. Center fielder Auston Bousfield then scored Yarbrough on a bloop single to right field.
OLE MISS 4, Texas A&M 2 (Bottom 4): Snyder extended Ole Miss’ lead to 4-2 with a two-run double off the base of the wall in right-center. After third baseman Andrew Mistone and Mathis crossed home, Yarbrough tried to score from first by sliding under A&M catcher Troy Stein, but was tagged out. Mistone reached base on a throwing error by Juengel, while Mathis hit a double into right field that was fiercely contested by the A&M fans and even brought skipper Rob Childress out of the dugout to argue.
OLE MISS 6, Texas A&M 2 (Bottom 6): A&M’s third error of the game once again came back to bite it. Mistone led off the frame by reaching on a throwing error by Reynolds. After a successful sacrifice bunt by Ole MIss shortstop Jake Overbey, Mistone scored on a double off the bat of Mathis that skipped past diving A&M center fielder Scott Arthur. Mathis then came around to score on a single up the middle by Snyder.
Ole Miss 6, TEXAS A&M 3 (Top 7): After limiting the Aggies to just three hits over six innings, Mayers was pulled after his 121st pitch was hit for an RBI-double past a diving Mistone and into the left field corner. Ole Miss reliever Brett Huber made things interesting by walking Arthur, A&M’s nine-hole hitter, but the right-hander was able to strike out Naquin and get Juengel to fly out to center to end the threat.
———HOW THE GAME WAS WON———
In the eighth, Huber surrendered a hit and a walk to lead off the frame, but buckled down to get two strikeouts and a deep fly ball to center to end the frame. The Ole Miss junior went back out to the mound in the ninth, looking to earn his 27th career save, which would put him all alone atop Ole Miss’ leaderboard. After a groundout, however, Huber issued a walk and hit the next batter. Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco opted to turn to Game 1 closer R.J. Hively. It took the senior just eight pitches to get a pop out and a groundout to first to end the game and pick up his fourth save.
Mayers improved to 6-3 on the year, allowing three runs (two earned) over 6.1 innings while striking out nine against three walks… Stripling was hit with the loss to fall to 10-4 after surrendering six runs (five earned) in 7.2 innings. Stripling also struck out a game-high 10… Reynolds led Texas A&M with two hits, while Mathis was a perfect 3-for-3 with three runs, one RBI and two walks to up his batting average to .357… Snyder and Bousfield each had two hits.
———MEET LADY LUCK———
Some folks asked what the deal was with the stuffed lady bug on the railing of Ole Miss’ dugout, so I asked during the post-game press conference. As it turns out, the stuffed animal has a name: “Lady Luck.” Apparently Mathis won it at a Golden Corral in Houston. He said he paid about $2.50 in order to win the animal. For the complete audio, check out the video of Ole Miss’ post-game interview below.
———LETS TALK ABOUT IT———
Here’s Ole Miss RHP Mike Mayers, coach Mike Bianco, OF Tanner Mathis and RHP R.J. Hively discussing the win:
Here’s Texas A&M’ infielder Mikey Reynolds, coach Rob Childress and pitcher Ross Stripling discussing the game:
———BACK AT IT———
Ole Miss (37-24 overall) will return to action Sunday night to face the winner of Texas A&M (43-17) and TCU. The two Texas-based squads will face off in an elimination game at 12:35 p.m. Following the Texas A&M game, Bianco said he had not decided who would take the mound for the Rebels in the Sunday night cap. He said it wasn’t gamesmanship, he just hadn’t decided.

 (June 2, 2012)

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