Goforth's Support

David Goforth, normally even keel, was smiling more than usual Monday at media interviews. And for good reason.

He recorded only his second win the past two seasons and first this season as Ole Miss beat LSU 16-3 Saturday in Baton Rouge, La.

"If you can't find a way to win with 16 runs, I think I just need to hang it up," said the Rebel right-hander, now 1-4 on the season and 2-10 the last two seasons combined.

When the Neshoba Central alum came off the mound to end the sixth inning of game two of the series, the Rebels led 7-2. When it was time for a Rebel pitcher to head to the mound in the seventh, in this case freshman reliever Bobby Wahl, the Rebel lead had grown to 16-2.

Wahl gave up a run after he came in but struck out four. Blair Wright finished things up the final two frames for the Rebels.

But it was Goforth's day, thanks to a Rebel offense that was the best it has been all season. And also to continued solid pitching from the fourth-year junior starter, which has actually been the case almost every time he's been on the mound in 2011.

Goforth, with a 3.32 ERA this year in seven appearances, all starts, said another veteran teammate assured him the Rebels would score some runs for him in this one.

"Honestly, (Matt) Tracy told me in the hotel (before the game) on Saturday, ‘we're gonna get you 10 today.' I told him ‘all I need is five.' You might want to save some (for Sunday)."

How prophetic. The Rebel offense was next to nil Sunday in a 8-2 LSU win.

Goforth said he tries not to worry about run support. His performances this season prove he's telling the truth.

"You can't let that affect you. That's something you can't control," he said. "You just have to keep going out there every weekend and doing the things you can do. Try to pitch to the best of your ability, try to keep the team in it, and try to give ourselves a chance to win. That's basically what I've been doing the whole time."

Biding his time. Waiting for the offense to pick up when he pitches. Capturing that elusive first win of the campaign.

Goforth said maturity plays a part.

"Some of the games I was in and some of the things that happened, that would have been it. I would have blown up," he said of prior years. "That's one thing I think I've done well so far this year and that's holding the big inning down. Whatever happens to just continue to battle and compete. And just stay out of that big inning."

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said Goforth was due and deservedly so.

"He's pitched terrific. You talk about the ultimate team guy and a guy who has really handled it. Nobody deserves it more than David. Never complains. No bad body language, and he's gone through a lot over the last year and a half. To pitch as well as he has, and to come into the dugout and never say a word, he deserved that Saturday."

David Goforth
Associated Press
Bianco also said there was some thought to changing starters, with the team struggling to win on Saturdays, even though Goforth was pitching well and had the stats to prove it.

"But I don't know who else to put there," he said, "especially with some of the injuries we've had with Hively and Wahl. Tracy is an option, but you lose a hitter. So weighing all the options and as well as (Goforth's) pitching, it's hard to change.

"We talked about it going into the Tennessee series. I talked to David about it early that week. If (Bobby) Wahl and (R.J.) Hively didn't feel good after they had pitched (in a midweek game against Samford), then I probably would start Tracy and put (Goforth) in the bullpen because we needed some people in the bullpen. Jake (Morgan) wasn't going to pitch. Thankfully those guys (Hively, Wahl) are OK."

Goforth said his confidence has been up all season, and his approach to a game never wavers.

"Every Saturday I go out, I expect to win," he said. "That hasn't changed."

But his won-loss record has now, and for the better.

Baseball Notes

*** Bianco said closer Jake Morgan's shoulder continues to improve the past two weeks, but the senior isn't ready to pitch again yet.

"Jake Morgan is getting better. Obviously not as quickly as we hoped. But we started a little different throwing with him. He was throwing every day for a while. We kind of plateaued out last week. So we gave him a couple of days off. He feels a little better actually throwing off the mound than he does on flat ground. That's good to hear.

"He threw (Sunday) and said he was probably 70-80 percent. He'll take today off and toss again tomorrow. We're trying to get a little further, and we have. Just not probably what we hoped for but still moving forward."

*** Two other pitchers who were injured earlier this season and have come back to pitch are Hively, a juco transfer, and Wahl, the freshman. Wahl has gotten more innings, but Hively continues to work his way back.

"They've done well. Bobby was lights out (at LSU). He struck out four in one inning. We had a wild pitch/passed ball. He hit 96 and was like 91-94 and looked as good as he's ever looked here. He's really coming on.

"Hively, too. He just has had probably one less outing. But he continues to throw the ball in the strike zone, throws a good slider and fast ball. That's good and adds to the depth of the bullpen."

*** Jordan Poole crashed into the wall and made a terrific out in the final inning at Southern Mississippi last Wednesday night. Bianco said he continue to improve.

"They did some more testing today. He went to see a doctor today, and they did some of that in Baton Rouge. He won't be able to play Tuesday night, but they think if he continues to improve, he'll be fine for this weekend (against Georgia).

*** Ole Miss plays Memphis at Autozone Park Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Senior RHP Matt Tracy (3-1, 3.41 ERA) will start for the Rebels.

Memphis enters the game 16-11 and had a 4-1 mark against SWAC teams in its last five games. The Tigers swept Alcorn State last weekend and during last midweek split with Mississippi Valley State.

Ole Miss (19-10) beat Memphis 4-2 the first midweek of this season in Oxford.

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