Second Straight Shutout

As long as Ole Miss wins, it doesn't matter how to David Goforth. Good thing, too.

The Rebels (12-4) beat David Lipscomb University 3-0 Saturday, and once again Goforth did not get a win in the record book. He's 0-2 this season with four Saturday starts. Each game he's pitched well enough to win.

Last year he only recorded one win. So in a way he's used to it. The mature Goforth, in his fourth season at Ole Miss, says it's all about the team.

"I'm just glad we ended up getting the win," said the Neshoba Central High product. "Honestly, I just come out and try to give our team a chance to win and keep putting together quality starts."

Goforth, who pitched 6.2 innings with five hits, a walk and four strikeouts, admits it's a bit strange to have pitched so well and still not have a personal win. But, hey, that's baseball, as they say.

"We've joked about it in the dugout. It's getting a little odd," said the fourth-year junior with a 2.42 ERA currently, having allowed just seven runs in the 26 innings this season. "If it keeps happening like this and we keep winning, that's fine with me."

Teammate Tanner Mathis, whose RBI single in the seventh inning scored two runs and broke a scoreless tie, agreed they'd like to get Goforth a win at some point, along with getting one for the team.

"We can't get that guy one to save our lives," Mathis said. "I feel bad for him, but you have to take wins however you get them, scoring in the seventh or eighth or sometimes in the first, just depending on when that big inning is. Hopefully next time we'll score some runs for him."

Rebels were aboard at second and third when Mathis got his important base hit. The Rebels were in need of something positive to happen offensively.

"Their coach went out there to visit with their pitcher, and Coach (Mike Bianco) called us up and said look for a hit and run," Mathis said. "He said I won't give it to you first pitch. He threw me a ball, and (Bianco) looked at me and gave it to me.

Hamblin makes the play at the plate
Courtesy: Bruce Newman
"I just told myself hit a ground ball through the hole and try to get something in the outfield," Mathis continued. "So I shortened up and stayed back on it just long enough to chop it over the (second baseman's) head."

With a three-run lead, Jake Morgan, who did get the win to move to 2-0, relieved Goforth and faced seven batters in the final 2.1 innings with no hits and a strikeout.

"Morgan is really starting to feel it," Bianco said. "His velocity today was 90-92. He continues to pound the zone. His stuff is really coming. He threw a slider today at 84 and several sliders at 82."

Goforth said it was likely his best day of the season so far.

"I felt really great out there," said Goforth of going 6.2 innings before belng relieved by Morgan. "This was the one game this year I really felt I had all four pitches working. I felt I had great command of all four pitches, and the biggest thing was to be able to pump it in the strike zone."

"Goforth was tremendous again for the fourth week in a row," Bianco said. "Super proud of his effort."

Bianco said Goforth is one of those pitchers who can handle all the statistical props going to the team.

"He's pitched great, unbelievable and with a lot of guts," he said. "You just have to keep doing that. He understands all that and wants to go out and pitch well. He's been lights out every single game and has deserved to win. Because he is who he is, I know he realizes that today we won because of him."

The Rebels' third run of the game also came in the seventh as Matt Snyder drove in Alex Yarbrough with a base hit after the Rebel second baseman had reached on a double.

One of the game's key plays came in the top of the first inning as Matt Smith threw a strike from right field to home plate to an awaiting Miles Hamblin who tagged Bison runner M.L. Williams. The leadoff batter had reached on a single and moved to second on an error. Richie Goodenow singled to right, and Smith corralled the ball and threw home to Hamblin who made the tag.

That early in the game, who would have known it's importance? But it obviously turned out to be big.

Mathis said it is nice to have some offensive success as a team after struggling through some recent games at the plate.

"You're always trying to score as many as possible," he said. "It's tough sometimes. We hit the ball hard it seems like all game. But they finally fell for us in the seventh."

Lipscomb starter Connor Sinclair (1-2) got the loss, one of four pitchers in the game for the Bison.

Sunday's game is at 1:30 p.m. LHP Austin Wright is scheduled to start for Ole Miss, while Lipscomb (7-8) is set to send RHP Dannie Strable to the mound.

Ole Miss won the series opener 8-0 Friday night.

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