VIDEO BLOG: The bats finally came alive for No. 23 Ole Miss against visiting conference foe Alabama on Friday. Can the Rebels parlay Friday’s six-run shutout into its first series victory since taking three at Arkansas to open the SEC schedule?
Today’s game is set for a 4 p.m. start and will be televised on CSS.
Friday, the Rebels turned seven hits into six runs and pitched a two-hitter to earn the 6-0 victory over Alabama. The win marked the first time Ole Miss had scored six runs in a nine-inning game since beating Arkansas State 10-4 on March 27. During Ole Miss’ six-game losing streak, the Rebels scored a total of nine runs, six coming in last Sunday’s 7-6, 11-inning defeat to No. 2 Vanderbilt.
On the mound, Bobby Wahl and Aaron Greenwood turned in two of their best efforts of the season. Wahl allowed just one hit (over six innings) for the third time in his career to improve to 7-0, while Greenwood allowed one hit in the final three innings to earn his second save of the season.
ON THE MOUND: Today, the Rebels will turn to usual Saturday starter Mike Mayers. The junior right-hander has struggled a bit this season. Last week, Mayers allowed two runs (one earned) in 4.2 innings on six hits and a career-high six walks. In 21.1 innings against SEC foes, Mayers has a 5.06 ERA with 14 strikeouts and 13 walks. Opponents are also hitting .345 off of Mayers.
Alabama will turn to Justin Kamplain, making his first start of the season. The left-handed sophomore has a 4.45 ERA in 13 appearances this season. Against Ole Miss last season, Kamplain allowed two runs in seven innings to set up a 3-2 Tide victory.
MAKING HIS DEBUT: Former Ole Miss pitcher Phil Irwin is supposedly going to make his MLB debut Sunday for the Pittsburgh Pirates, according to Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco:
Last season, the former 21st-round selection of the Bucs had a 2.83 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 24 walks in 130.1 innings split between three levels.
———AROUND THE LEAGUE———
Ole Miss 6, Alabama 0
Mississippi State 3, Texas A&M 2
LSU 6, Arkansas 2
Kentucky 5, Tennessee 4
Auburn 4, Georgia 3
Vanderbilt 11, Missouri 5
Florida 4, South Carolina 3
Alabama at Ole Miss, 4 p.m. (CSS)
Mississippi State at Texas A&M, 12:30 p.m. (SportSouth)
Tennessee at Kentucky, 1 p.m.
South Carolina at Florida, 2 p.m. (ESPN2)
Georgia at Auburn, 3 p.m.
Missouri at Vanderbilt, 4 p.m. (ESPNU)
LSU at Arkansas, 6 p.m. (Cox)
Alabama at Ole Miss, 1:30 p.m.
Mississippi State at Texas A&M, 1 p.m.
Tennessee at Kentucky, noon
LSU at Arkansas, 1 p.m. (Cox)
Georgia at Auburn, 1 p.m.
Missouri at Vanderbilt, 1 p.m.
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (22-14 overall, 8-5 SEC)
CF Georgie Salem (.286 BA/.364 OBP/.306 SLG)
3B Kenny Roberts (.256/.374/.326)
RF Ben Moore (.282/.378/.420)
C Brett Booth (.286/.400/.397)
2B Kyle Overstreet (.278/.363/.341)
1B Austen Smith (.261/.328/.378)
SS Mikey White (.248/.342/.271)
LF Andrew Miller (.209/.333/.239)
DH Chance Vincent (.179/.233/.179)
LHP Justin Kamplain (0-0, 4.34 ERA)
No. 23 OLE MISS REBELS (24-10, 5-8)
LF Tanner Mathis (.227/.387/.252)
SS Austin Anderson (.304/.392/.384)
CF Auston Bousfield (.276/.359/.373)
C Stuart Turner (.419/.471/.607)
3B Andrew Mistone (.265/.341/.308)
2B Preston Overbey (.272/.297/.377)
1B Sikes Orvis (.280/.360/.350)
DH Will Allen (.258/.293/.347)
RF Lance Wilson (.150/.227/.150)
RHP Mike Mayers (2-4, 3.20)
OLE MISS 2, Alabama 0 (Bottom 6): Alabama got the most out of southpaw Justin Kamplain that it could have expected. Making his first start of the season, Kamplain blanked Ole Miss through a 5.2 innings, more than doubling his season-long. With two outs in the sixth the Rebels finally broke through against Kamplain. With center fielder Tanner Mathis on third and two outs, Alabama opted to intentionally walk catcher Stuart Turner to get to third baseman Andrew Mistone. The move backfired as Mistone singled the first pitch he saw into center field, scoring Mathis without a play. The single ended Kamplain’s night but the next two Tide pitchers didn’t fare much better. After right-hander Tucker Hawley walked second baseman Preston Overbey (his third of the game, matching his season total) to load the bases, Alabama turned to left-hander Jon Keller. The second Tide southpaw of the frame walked first baseman Sikes Orvis, scoring the Rebels’ second run of the game. Designated hitter Will Allen grounded out to Keller on a 2-1 pitch to end the frame.
Ole Miss 2, ALABAMA 2 (Top 7): Alabama responded by jumping on Rebel starter Mike Mayers in the seventh. The Tide’s third single of the frame, from second baseman Kyle Overstreet, scored third baseman and Meridian native Kenny Roberts from third. With one out, the Rebels turned to right-hander Tanner Bailey to put out the fire. Bailey induced a fly out from first baseman Austen Smith and struck out short stop Mikey White, but the ball squirted away from Turner, allowing White to reach safely with the bases loaded. Alabama left fielder Andrew Miller made the Rebels pay for the blunder, working a full-count walk to score the game-tying run.
OLE MISS 5, Alabama 2 (Bottom 8): Allen put the Rebels back ahead with a two-run single up the middle, scoring Turner and Mistone. Austin Knight, pinch hitting for Will Jamison, made the most of his opportunity by tallying an RBI-single to left to add to Ole Miss’ lead.
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: Ole Miss closer Brett Huber pitched a perfect ninth to preserve the Rebels’ 5-2 victory and in doing so earned his eighth save of the season. . … It doesn’t happen often, but following the post-game huddle, Mayers walked over to the media waiting to talk and said he was excited to talk to us — and for good reason. Mayers earned a no decision for Ole Miss after allowing two runs (one earned) in 6.1 innings. Mayers struck out four, but the most important stat was his zero walks coming off of a career-worst six-walk performance against No. 2 Vanderbilt. Rebel coach Mike Bianco credited Mayers’ turnaround performance to putting less pressure on himself. … Alabama reliever Jon Keller was hit with the loss after surrendering three unearned runs on two hits and four walks in 2.1 innings. … While Ole Miss scored five runs, they were only able to squeak out four hits. Allen was 2-for-4 with two RBIs; Mistone and Knight had the other Rebel hits. … Ole Miss batters drew nine walks, four of which came from Overbey, who entered the game with just three on the season. … The victory marked Ole Miss’ first series clincher since taking two of three at Arkansas to open SEC play. It’s also Ole Miss’ first Saturday victory since sweeping Lipscomb March 8-10.
BACK AT IT: Ole Miss will look to earn its first sweep since said Lipscomb series Sunday. First pitch is set for 1:30 p.m. Ole Miss will start right-handed sophomore Sam Smith (2-0, 4.40). Alabama, which hasn’t been swept since dropping three at No. 5 Louisville March 8-10, will send right-handed sophomore Spencer Turnbull (4-1, 2.22) to the mound.
PARTING VIEW: Below is our post-game interview with Mayers:
(For more from Saturday’s game, checkout Monday’s print edition of the Oxford EAGLE.) (April 13, 2013)