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Saturday, November 22, 2014

No. 17 Rebels swept at home for first time since 2010

BLOG: The No. 17 Rebels find themselves in unfamiliar territory heading into today’s 1:30 p.m. series finale against No. 2 Vanderbilt.

For the first time this season, Ole Miss will be looking to stave off a three-game sweep.Friday and Saturday’s losses were largely carbon copies of one another:

Game 1: No. 2 Vanderbilt 3, No. 17 Ole Miss 1
Game 2: No. 2 Vanderbilt 2, No. 17 Ole Miss 1

Saturday, like Friday, Ole Miss had its chances but was unable to capitalize on them. Known as one of the great SEC pitchers, VU starter Tyler Beede proved just way in the Commodores’ 2-1 win. Although he walked five guys in a two-inning span late in his start, Beede was able to pitch around trouble, get out of jams and and preserve the lead to improve to 8-0 on the season.

“I thought he went to his changeup and breaking ball more. The first couple of innings he threw a lot of fastballs and we were ready for it but once he kind of got to maybe the third inning it seemed like he threw more changeups and breaking balls,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “He has pitched well and has done a great job but he’s gotten himself into a lot of walk issues and he obviously didn’t have that problem today.”

Added Ole Miss first baseman Sikes Orvis, who was 2-for-2 and drove in the Rebs’ lone run: “Beede has a good fastball so we were ready to jump on that and I guess after that they started going to working backwards in counts. Good job by them, we just have to make the adjustment. I guess you can say he’s effectively wild. We knew coming in he has walked a bunch of guys, but he also has good stuff to fill it up so we just knew to trust our zone; if it was over the plate try to put a good swing on it and if not, take the freebies.”

As was the case heading into the weekend, when the Rebels were shutout in back-to-back games at Florida, Ole Miss is maintaining sticking to the system and what led them to the best start in program history.

“You have to keep your head up. It’s disappointing obviously as a baseball player when you’re not doing much offensively and then you swing it like we did the first two innings,” Bianco said. “You can’t have that woe-is-me attitude. You have to continue to compete, continue to fight and that’s what we  have to do offensively. We have to make something happen.”

How important is today’s game?

“It’s always important to come out and compete,” Orvis said. “We know if we come out and play like we can and keep doing what we’re doing balls will eventually fall and we’ll get some runs across the plate.”

ON THE MOUND: After entering the weekend with today’s starter listed as “TBD,” Vanderbilt went ahead and announced Saturday evening that left-hander Philip Pfeifer (2-0, 3.86 ERA) would take the mound in Game 3.

Last week against Tennessee, Pfeifer allowed five runs on one walk and six hits in three innings.

After Chris Ellis got his first start in weeks last weekend at Florida, Ole Miss will turn to Sam Smith (2-0, 3.51) once again. Smith’s last appearance was March 24 against Texas A&M. Starting the backend of the Sunday doubleheader, Smith allowed a season-high four runs on one walk and five hits in four innings. Smith also didn’t strike anyone out for the first time this season.

BACK TO HELSEL, WILSON: With southpaw Pfeifer on the mound, Ole Miss will revert to Friday’s starting lineup, which featured former middle infielder Lance Wilson making his Ole Miss debut in right field and freshman corner infielder Christian Helsel making his first start at first base.

On Friday, Helsel was 1-for-3 with and made six putouts; Wilson was 0-for-3 with two putouts.

“We haven’t scored. It was a chance to get some other guys in the lineup and guys that deserve opportunities. (They’re) some right-handed guys who I thought would be better matches,” Bianco said after Friday’s 3-1 loss. “I thought both of them did terrific, especially Helsel. It’s your first SEC start — first college start — and for it to be against a No. 2 ranked team in the country and to play first base, a position you’re not used to, I thought he was terrific today.”

——— AROUND THE LEAGUE———

FRIDAY’S RESULTS
Vanderbilt 3, Ole Miss 1
Mississippi State 7, Florida 3
LSU 11, Kentucky 1
South Carolina 5, Tennessee 4
Missouri 4, Georgia 0
Arkansas 6, Alabama 0
Auburn 6, Texas A&M 4 (10 inn.)

SATURDAY’S GAMES
Vanderbilt 2, Ole Miss 1
Mississippi State 2, Florida 0
Georgia 6, Missouri 5
LSU 9, Kentucky 1
Alabama 5, Arkansas 0
South Carolina 12, Tennessee 8
Auburn 10, Texas A&M 5

SUNDAY’S GAMES
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss, 1:30 p.m. (ESPN3.com)
Florida at Mississippi State, 1:30 p.m.
Kentucky at LSU, noon (CSS)
Missouri at Georgia, 1 p.m.
South Carolina at Tennessee, 1 p.m.
Auburn at Texas A&M, 1 p.m.

———STARTING LINEUPS———

No. 2 VANDERBILT COMMODORES (28-4 overall, 10-1 SEC)
2B Tony Kemp (.385 BA/.486 OBP/.500 SLG)
3B Xavier Turner (.324/.441/.351)
1B Conrad Gregor (.267/.418/.352)
CF Connor Harrell (.281/.407/.500)
RF Mike Yastrzemski (.301/.391/.451)
SS Vince Conde (.294/.386/.477)
DH Tyler Beede (.000/.000/.000)
C Spencer Navin (.270/.444/.311)
LF John Norwood (.357/.400/.571)
LHP Philip Pfeifer (2-0, 3.86 ERA, .267 B/avg.)

No. 17 OLE MISS REBELS (23-8, 4-7)
LF Tanner Mathis (.234/.375/.252)
SS Austin Anderson (.322/.400/.409)
CF Auston Bousfield (.293/.371/.398)
C Stuart Turner (.390/.444/.590)
3B Andrew Mistone (.271/.350/.318)
2B Preston Overbey (.297/.324/.416)
DH Will Allen (.250/.289/.304)
1B Christian Helsel (.231/.333/.308)
RF Lance Wilson (.176/.263/.176)
RHP Sam Smith (2-0, 3.51, .287)

———SCORING SUMMARY———

OLE MISS 1, Vanderbilt 0 (Bottom 1): The Rebels jumped on Vanderbilt in the first, but it could have been worse for the ‘Dores. Left fielder Tanner Mathis led off the game with a walk and after Austin Anderson reached on a throwing error by VU pitcher Philip Pfeifer, center fielder Auston Bousfield sacrificed both runners into scoring position. Vanderbilt intentionally walked catcher Stuart Turner to load the bases for Andrew Mistone with one out. The move worked out about as well as VU could have hoped; Mistone barreled a ball up to right-center, scoring Mathis easily. Rebel third base coach Cliff Godwin sent Anderson, who had tagged up at second, hoping to catch the ‘Dores snoozing but the gamble backfired as the Ole Miss shortstop was thrown out by several feet on the relay throw.

VANDERBILT 1, Ole Miss 1 (Top 2): Catcher Spencer Navin tied the game 1-1 with a single to left field, scoring right fielder Mike Yastrzemski. VU shortstop Vince Conde was thrown out trying to advance to third on the play to end the frame.

OLE MISS 3, Vanderbilt 1 (Bottom 2): Designated hitter Will Allen put Ole Miss back ahead 2-1 with an RBI-double to right-center, scoring second baseman Preston Overbey. After being sacrificed to third, Allen scored on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze by Lance Wilson.

VANDERBILT 5, Ole Miss 3 (Top 4): Vanderbilt broke through in the fourth to the tune of four runs on four hits and one error. After Ole Miss starter Sam Smith allowed the first three ‘Dores to reach on a walk, single and bunt single, Ole Miss turned to sophomore right-hander Scott Weathersby. The former Oak Grove High standout couldn’t get the job done either, however, as VU scored three runs on a two-run single by Conde and a sacrifice fly by John Norwood. A fielding error with freshman left-hander Matt Denny on the mound scored Vanderbilt’s fifth run of the game.

VANDERBILT 6, Ole Miss 3 (top 5): Conde singled up the middle to score first baseman Conrad Gregor with one out to push VU’s lead to 6-3.  Yastrzemski tried to tag and score from third on a fly out to left by DH Rhett Wiseman in the next at-bat, but was thrown out at the plate on a bang-bang play.

Vanderbilt 6, OLE MISS 4 (Bottom 5): Ole Miss got one run back in the bottom of the frame on an RBI-single by catcher Stuart Turner, scoring Anderson.

Vanderbilt 6, OLE MISS 6 (Bottom 9): After several quiet innings and missed chances the Rebels tied the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth on a groundout by Preston Overbey and a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch by Mathis.

VANDERBILT 7, Ole Miss 6 (Top 11): In the 11th the ‘Dores ended up taking the game, and completing the sweep, thanks in large part to an Ole Miss blunder. After VU center fielder Connor Harrell reached on a one-out double he advanced to third on a passed ball by Ole Miss’ Turner. The Rebel catcher raced to his right, scooped up the ball and tried to gun Harrell at third, but the ball skipped away from Mistone, giving VU the go-ahead run.

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: After Vanderbilt fought to retake the lead in the top of the frame, Commodore closer Brian Miller closed out the game by retiring Preston Overbey, Allen and Jake Overbey in order.

BY THE NUMBERS: Ole Miss closer Brett Huber was hit with the loss to fall to 2-1 on the season after pitching 2.2 innings in relief. … Miller improved to 5-0 on the season, allowing two runs in 3.1 innings. … Stuart Turner snapped out of his offensive funk for the Rebels, going 4-for-5 with a walk, RBI and run scored. He was Ole Miss’ only batter to record multiple hits. … Navin led VU with four hits, while Harrell, Yastrzemski and Conde each had three. … The three-game sweep marks the first time the Rebels have been blanked at home in a series since Auburn took the 2010 series finale in Oxford.

Ole Miss returns to action Tuesday in the annual Governor’s Cup against Mississippi State in Pearl. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. (April 7, 2013)

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