After surviving the single-elimination day of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, the sixth-seeded Rebels advanced to face third-seed Arkansas this morning at 9:30 a.m. for the second consecutive “breakfast game.”
Arkansas-Ole Miss will be televised on CSS. The game is matched up with today’s LSU/Alabama game. The losers play in an elimination game at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, while the winners will face off in the second game.
DAY 2 SCHEDULE (All games on CSS):
No. 3 Arkansas vs. No. 6 Ole Miss, 9:30 a.m.
No. 2 LSU vs. No. 7 Alabama, TBD
No. 1 Vanderbilt vs. No. 9 Texas A&M, 4:30 p.m.
No. 4 South Carolina vs. No. 5 Mississippi State, TBD
ON THE BUMP: Ole Miss (37-20 overall) will send sophomore right-hander Sam Smith (3-0, 3.28 ERA) to the mound.
As was the case for Game 1, head coach Mike Bianco didn’t disclose who would start until later in the day. Due to being on short rest, Bianco said he wanted to talk to his players and see how they felt before attempting to map out who would pitch (both start and in relief) from here on out.
“There were several guys that couldn’t throw today. (Aaron) Greenwood wasn’t available. (Brett) Huber wasn’t available. We need to get back to the hotel and make a plan as to who is going to start and who is going to come in after those guys.”
Smith had success earlier this year, allowing one run in five innings at Fayetteville, Ark., to open the Rebels’ SEC schedule.
On the year, Smith has struck out 28 batters against 18 walks in 57.2 innings. Opponents are hitting .281 off Smith.
The Hogs (35-19) will counter with Barrett Astin (4-4, 2.02). Astin allowed one run in 2.2 relief innings against the Rebels earlier this season.
On the year, the junior right-hander has struck out 63 against 19 walks in 75.2 innings.
WE PLAY TO WIN THE GAME, SORT OF: With a possible NCAA Tournament host site hanging in the balance — Arkansas is projected just on the outside of hosting currently with both Perfect Game and SEBaseball.com sending the Hogs to Manhattan, Ks., as a two-seed — Dave Van Horn’s squad is hoping to make a run.
Van Horn admitted on Monday’s teleconference that there are some limitations to what he’s willing to do.
“We want to win it. There’s no doubt about it. Anytime you step on the field you want to win the game, you don’t want to go home,” he said. “But I think you obviously don’t want to burn yourself out or hurt people and create sore arms and put yourself in a disadvantage if you’re playing in a regional the next weekend.
“We’re going to go out there and do everything we can to win Game 1 and then go from there. Obviously we’d like to be playing on Sunday.”
LOOKING AHEAD: Depending on how today’s first two games go, the Rebels will either face No. 2 LSU in the winners game, or No. 7 Alabama in the elimination game on Thursday.
Ole Miss hasn’t mapped out its starters quite that far yet, but Alabama and LSU will throw right-handed sophomores Spencer Turnbull (4-4, 3.61) and Aaron Nola (10-0, 1.99) regardless of the opponent tomorrow.
The Tigers gave Nola a rest last weekend against the Rebels, while Turnbull allowed two runs over six innings and took a no decision in the Rebels’ 4-3, 11-inning victory.
No. 6 OLE MISS REBELS (37-20)
LF Tanner Mathis (.273 BA/.407 OBP/.302 SLG)
3B Andrew Mistone (.320/.392/.383)
SS Austin Anderson (.301/.377/.404)
C Stuart Turner (.379/.449/.537)
CF Auston Bousfield (.271/.362/.367)
1B Sikes Orvis (.241/.333/.327)
2B Preston Overbey (.283/.327/.424)
RF Will Jamison (.279/.400/.402)
DH Will Allen (.237/.272/.325)
RHP Sam Smith (3-0, 3.28)
No. 3 ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS (35-19)
DH Joe Serrano (.280/.328/.341)
CF Matt Vinson (.287/.384/.394)
LF Brian Anderson (.349/.458/.527)
1B Dominic Ficociello (.254/.323/.348)
RF Tyler Spoon (.280/.349/.372)
3B Jacob Mahan (.291/.401/.373)
2B Jordan Farris (.237/.284/.398)
SS Brett McAfee (.269/.318/.343)
C Jean Ramirez (.188/.350/.250)
RHP Barrett Astin (4-4, 2.02)
OLE MISS 1, Arkansas 0 (Top 1): Tanner Mathis led off the game with an infield single and after two groundouts scored on a single to right by Stuart Turner.
ARKANSAS 1, Ole Miss 1 (Bottom 1): Matt Vinson struck a one-out single and with runners on the corners and two outs the Razorback center fielder scored on a single to right by Tyler Spooner. Sam Smith got a comebacker from Jacob Mahan to strand Dominic Ficociello at third base.
ARKANSAS 2, Ole Miss 1 (Bottom 10): After nine tremendous innings from Sam Smith and Aaron Greenwood, the wheels fell off in the 10th. After Greenwood loaded the bases on a double, single and intentional walk, the Rebels turned to left-hander Matt Denny. The freshman struck out Mahan for the second out, but bounced a pitch to Eric Fisher that got past catcher Stuart Turner, allowing Brian Anderson to score.
FINAL SCORE: Arkansas 2, Ole Miss 1 (10 inn.)
BY THE NUMBERS: Smith earned a no decision, allowing one run in six innings. Greenwood was just as impressive out of the pen, surrendering one run in 3.1 frames before turning the game over to Denny. … The Rebels collected just six hits as a team, with Austin Anderson tallying a single and a double. … Joe Serrano, Anderson and Ficociello each recorded two hits while Vinson recorded a game-high of three. … Barrett Astin earned a no decision despite allowing one run over eight innings, tying a career-long. Left-handed reliever Jalen Beeks improved to 6-1 on the year after throwing two shutout innings, allowing just one base runner.
PARTING VIEW: Below are post-game interviews with Bianco, Smith and Mathis, as well as Arkansas’ interview with Van Horn, Vinson and Astin:
Next up for the Rebels is a game against the loser of LSU/Alabama at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.
For more, pick up the print edition of Thursday’s Oxford EAGLE. (May 22, 2013)