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Friday, October 31, 2014

Ole Miss avoids elimination as Wahl earns win No. 10

VIDEO BLOG: RALEIGH, N.C. — It serves everyone right. Really since the field of 64 was announced, folks were discussing the possibility of N.C. State’s Carlos Rodon and Ole Miss’ Bobby Wahl facing off in a scout’s dream matchup. Well, must have jinxed it. 

After losing to William and Mary 4-2 on Friday, the Rebels (37-23 overall) were relegated to the first elimination game of the Raleigh (N.C.) Regional.

Binghamton (30-24) landed in the put-out game by falling to host N.C. State 4-1 to cap Day 1.

First pitch is set for 1 p.m. CT on ESPN3.com.

HITTING THE LINKS: Checkout the links below to get caught up on how the Rebels got to this point or click HERE to catch up on Ole Miss’ entire season (and HERE for all of the Oxford EAGLE’s photos):
OLE MISS SEASON STATS
5.24 Waguespack showing signs of promise
5.24 Alabama sends Rebels packing
5.27 BLOG: UPDATED: NCAA announces regional sites
5.27 BLOG: Rebels headed to Raleigh (N.C.) Regional
5.28 Will Wahl or Mayers start Game 1? Bianco hasn’t made a final decision yet

5.28 Rebels headed to Raleigh Regional
5.29 Bianco decides on Mayers as Game 1 starter
5.30 VIDEO BLOG: Rebels prepare for Raleigh (N.C.) Regional
5.30 Rebels need Mathis, Mistone to keep hitting
5.30 Raleigh Regional should be interesting
5.31 Regional provides Bousfield chance to hit reset
5.31 William & Mary not just happy to be in Raleigh
5.31 Rodon, Wahl could face each other Saturday
5.31 VIDEO BLOG: Rebs can’t get big hit, fall to Tribe
Vine videos of Doak Field at Dail Park: HEREHEREHERE and HERE.

Also, want to keep up with NCAA Tournament scores from around the country? Here’s the CWS Twitter feed.

ON THE MOUND: Ole Miss will turn to Wahl in today’s must-win game.

Wahl hasn’t thrown since giving up six runs in 2.2 innings at No. 2 LSU on May 18. In an attempt to rest the right-hander and also “get him back to his routine,” head coach Mike Bianco opted to rest Wahl at last week’s SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala. Wahl has had a somewhat difficult season in terms of getting jostled around with his start dates (Fridays mostly, except for Thursday TV games and then the MSU weekend where he threw one inning on Friday and then because of rain, turned around and pitched again on Sunday against the Bulldogs).

“It had nothing to do with William & Mary and a lot to do with the guy (Mike Mayers) sitting next to me and all the confidence we have in that guy. If you don’t have a guy that you think can win the game, I think it’s a much harder decision to make but at the end of the day you have to win,” he said. “At the end of the day, you don’t just have to win today, you have to win tomorrow and on Sunday, three in a row. If you lose you have to win four in a row. I don’t think it was that difficult of a decision. It even has less to do with Mike. If we play well, play a little better defense, Mike throws a few more balls in the strike zone or we bunch a few more hits together certainly there’s a little different feeling. We just didn’t play very well in all three phases. They played better than we did in all three phases.”

Wahl has struck out 76 against 42 walks in 90.2 innings. Opponents are hitting .189 off the All-SEC arm.

“You knew he’d have to pitch at some point. It wasn’t by design to pitch him in an elimination game, but I don’t think you feel comfortable now,” Bianco said. “Now you have to win pitches, win outs, win innings and we’ll start rising from there on out over the next couple of days and try to make a run.”

Binghamton will turn to 6-foot-9 Jake Lambert.

The right-hander is 7-2 with a 2.95 ERA. In 94.2 innings, Lambert has struck out 76 with 16 walks. He also has three complete games in 15 starts, but opponents are hitting .263 off of him.

Lambert is on a pretty stellar streak currently. The La Jolla, Calif., native has not allowed an earned run in 23 innings, spanning four starts. He also threw 17 scoreless frames and went 2-0 in the America East Conference. In his last outing, Lambert threw eight scoreless frames in AE championship game, a 4-0 win against Maine.

So, getting onto Lambert will — quite literally — be a tall task.

LEADING THE BEARCATS: Batting third for Binghamton is sophomore outfielder Jake Thomas. The 5-foot-10 left fielder is batting .374 with five homers, 10 doubles and a .529 slugging percentage. Thomas also boasts a .519 on-base percentage.

— — — STARTING LINEUPS — — —

NO. 2 OLE MISS REBELS (37-23 OVERALL)
LF Tanner Mathis (.276 BA/.408 OBP/.304 SLG)
CF Auston Bousfield (.262/.352/.356)
SS Austin Anderson (.299/.380/.407)
C Stuart Turner (.379/.447/.528)
3B Andrew Mistone (.315/.384/.379)
1B Preston Overbey (.281/.333/.422)
RF Will Jamison (.286/.401/.398)
DH Will Allen (.228/.262/.312)
2B Christian Helsel (.194/.280/.236)
RHP Bobby Wahl (9-0, 1.99 ERA)

NO. 4 BINGHAMTON BEARCATS (30-24)
CF Zach Blanden (.277/.371/.394)
3B David Schanz (.305/.357/.333)
LF Jake Thomas (.374/.519/.529)
2B Daniel Nevares (.314/.350/.445)
RF Shaun McGraw (.294/.381/.441)
1B Brian Ruby (.232/.327/.260)
DH Jordon Smucker (.232/.293/.376)
C Nick Pancerella (.198/.319/.219)
SS John Howell (.178/.311/.229)
RHP Jake Lambert (7-2, 2.95)

— — — SCORING SUMMARY — — —

OLE MISS 2, Binghamton 0 (Top 1): The Rebels ended Jake Lambert‘s scoreless streak. Tanner Mathis led off the game with a single and after taking third on a one-out single by Austin Anderson, the Rebel left fielder scored on a wild pitch. Anderson later scored on a single to center by Andrew Mistone.

Ole Miss 2, BINGHAMTON 1 (Bottom 3): Zack Blanden led off the bottom of the third with a double that skipped over the wall in right and later scored on a one-out single to center field by Jake Thomas.

BINGHAMTON 2, Ole Miss 2 (Bottom 6): Binghamton tied the game in the sixth on a sacrifice fly to left by Jordon Smucker that scored Daniel Nevares. The Bearcat second baseman led off the frame with a single.

OLE MISS 4, Binghamton 2 (Top 7): The Rebels responded immediately. After their offense had been quiet for five innings, the Rebels plated two more runs in the seventh on RBI-singles by Mathis and Anderson. Anderson’s single made him 4-for-4 on the day.

OLE MISS 8, Binghamton 2 (Top 8): Ole Miss blew the game open in the eighth. With the bases loaded, pinch hitter Sikes Orvis flew out to right, deep enough to allow Mistone to score. After intentionally walking Mathis to load the bases, Auston Bousfield drew a walk, scoring another run. Anderson, looking for his fifth hit of the day, instead scorched a ball off of Binghamton’s first baseman. The error allowed two more Rebels to score.

Ole Miss 8, BINGHAMTON 4 (Bottom 8): Ole Miss reliever Tanner Bailey, hindered by two errors in the frame, allowed the Bearcats to plate two more runs in the bottom of the frame to stay within striking distance.

FINAL: Ole Miss 8, Binghamton 4.

Ole Miss advances to face the loser of North Carolina State at William & Mary at noon CT on Sunday. Should the Rebels win they’d turn right around to play the winner at 5 p.m. CT.

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: After a rocky eighth inning saw the Bearcats score two unearned runs on two errors, Bailey put together a 1-2-3 frame in the ninth to preserve the victory.

BY THE NUMBERS: Wahl wasn’t his sharpest — Bianco said the Rebels’ ace was once again fighting a blister — but the junior right-hander was able to avoid trouble for much of the game. Wahl allowed two earned runs on eight hits and two walks while also striking out two to improve to 10-0. Wahl became just the eight Rebel pitcher to earn double-digit wins in a single season, joining Jamey Price (11 in 1995; 10 in ’94), Rick Zibilich (11 in ’77), Cody Satterwhite (11 in ’06), Jim Pittman (10 in ’72), Darren Musselwhite (10 in ’88), John McNeese (10 in ’95) and Pete Montrenes (10 in ’01). … Binghamton starter Jake Lambert fell to 7-3 after allowing four runs on nine hits in 6.1 innings. Lambert also struck out eight without walking a batter. … Mathis’ average continues to climb. After going 2-for-4 with three runs scored, the senior is now hitting .284. … Anderson led the Rebels with a 4-for-5 showing. The one time he didn’t record a hit, the ball ricocheted off Bearcat first baseman Brian Ruby and bounced around in foul territory, allowing two runs to score. Mistone, Preston Overbey and Will Allen each had two hits for Ole Miss…. Zach Blanden was 4-for-5 for Binghamton.

WHO’S NEXT?: Ole Miss now awaits the loser of N.C. State and William & Mary. Although Bianco said he never considered a pitcher other than Wahl to face Binghamton, he did hold off on naming a Game 1 starter. In contention are Sam Smith, Chris Ellis and Jacob Waguespack.

“Not exactly sure. Obviously Sam will throw in one of the games,” Bianco said post-game. “I haven’t decided. Going to talk to the coaches when we get back. Might decide who we play but I’m not sure that will be the ultimate factor.”

Smith (3-0, 3.11 ERA) has struck out 33 against 19 walks in 63.2 innings, but opponents are hitting .279 off of him. In his most-recent outing, Smith allowed just one run on six hits against Arkansas in the second game of the SEC Tournament. His six innings tied a career-long. Smith has 14 appearances, all starts.

Ellis (1-2, 5.57) opened the year as Ole Miss’ third starter but due to an injury — combined with Smith’s emergence and his own struggles — he has thrown sparingly out of the pen. Ellis has struck out 16 against 11 walks in 21 innings (13 app., two starts) but has allowed opponents to hit .348 off him, the highest mark on the team of anyone with more than nine innings of work. Ellis’ last appearance, on May 18 at LSU, he surrendered one run on five hits and one walk in 2.1 innings.

Waguespack (0-1, 3.46)  has been reliable for three innings at a time for Ole Miss. The freshman right-hander has appeared in just six games (his debut coming on April 9 against Mississippi State in Pearl). In his last two outings, Waguespack has made it through three scoreless innings before things fell off. To date, he has allowed six runs (five earned) in 13 innings while striking out nine and walking five. Opponents are hitting just .196 off the 6-foot-6 Prairieville, La., native.

THAT’S WHAT HE SAID:

“Been terrific. He has been as consistent as anybody the entire season. There’s been games like today where he’s really hot and can carry us. We need him. We need need all the bats.” —— Bianco on Anderson.

“There haven’t been a lot of guys who have won 10 games in our program. (Cody) Satterwhite is the last one in ’06 and before that was (Pete) Montrenes in ’01, so in 13 years I’ve had three guys. … The year that Bobby has had, 10-0, sub-2.00 ERA and against the competition we’ve played throughout the year, he has been about the most consistent player on this team. Just a terrific, terrific year.” —— Bianco on Wahl earning his 10th win of the season.

“No. After not pitching last week and the way we played yesterday, I knew the pressure would be on today and I knew that the kids would feel it today. We have to win today to move on. We gambled a little bit and it didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to be, but when it’s all said and done I’m not sure we have another guy who could have won today so I’m glad we had him.” —— Bianco, asked if he considered starting anyone other than Wahl against Binghamton.

“We are who we are at this point. There’s nothing you can do at this point but play hard and play your best. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll play a little cleaner.” —— Bianco on the if he’s concerned about the team’s two errors late in the game.

“I felt pretty good today and before the game. Obviously it’s win or go home and Coach B. just told me be aggressive. It helps when you’re seeing the ball well, especially for our seniors and Bob, who might not be back next year. I just wanted to lay it on the field, be aggressive and lay it on the field.” —— Anderson on overcoming a stomach virus that kept him out of Thursday’s practice.

PARTING VIEW: Below is Ole Miss’ post-game press conference with Anderson, Wahl and Bianco:

 (June 1, 2013)

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