Lack of Concentration

PEARL - Mike Bianco used the term lack of concentration. Alex Yarbrough referred to it as well. And this was Mississippi State that Ole Miss was playing.

The Rebels lost to the Bulldogs 6-1 Tuesday night and never seriously threatened to win the game. Ole Miss (23-15) now heads to Auburn for a Thursday through Saturday series hoping they find more concentration in a Southeastern Conference game that counts in the standings.

The Rebels are in a three-way tie for first place in the SEC West with Alabama and Arkansas, and in a tie for fifth overall in the league with those same two teams.

"A disappointing night for us," said Bianco, whose team had won the last two Governor's Cup contests. "It was more what has happened to us over the last two or three weeks where we shoot ourselves in the foot too many times. Really dumb errors. Lack of concentration errors.

"I don't know if it's lack of focus or what, but it's disappointing," he concluded.

Bianco said the focus was never the same after a dropped fly ball in the fifth inning. Fifth-year senior Matt Smith's drop of a Cody Freeman fly ball to right field allowed Jarrod Parks to score – all the way from first base.

Yarbrough was 2-for-4 to lead the Rebel offense
Bruce Newman
That made it 4-0 Mississippi State (23-14). There were plenty of at-bats left, but as Bianco and Yarbrough both said, the Rebels weren't effective in the latter innings.

"It kind of knocked the wind out of our sails," Bianco said. "We didn't have a lot of good at-bats after that. Just a disappointing night."

Yarbrough, the best Rebel on the night statistically with two of Ole Miss' six hits, said the Rebels were not at their best.

"After we got down 4-0, we stopped having some of the same good at-bats," he said. We kind of let them dictate the way we played. We've got to keep the aggressiveness up the whole way through. It's more of a mindset than anything. We've got to raise the concentration level."

State got two runs in the first. An error on pitcher Matt Tracy on a squeeze bunt attempt by Cody Freeman scored C.T. Bradford from third, and a groundout by Wes Thigpen got Parks home.

In the second MSU added another run as Jonathan Ogden led off with a triple. A groundout by Daryl Norris scored Ogden.

After Smith's dropped fly ball in the top of the fifth made it 4-0 Bulldogs, MSU added two runs in the seventh inning to make it 6-0 and it could have been worse. Relief pitcher Mike Mayers got the final out of the frame with the bases full of Bulldogs.

Ole Miss got its lone run in the eighth. A freshman Austin Anderson ground out to second got freshman Will Allen home after he had tripled.

MSU had nine hits and also had three errors, like the Rebels.

Starter Kendall Graveman (4-0) got the win for MSU. Starter Matt Tracy (3-3) got the loss for Ole Miss. In addition to Mayers, R.J. Hively and Trent Rothlin got into the game on the mound for the Rebels.

Ole Miss and Auburn play on ESPNU at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

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