"We just played well," Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco said after the win over the team Collegiate Baseball has as the country's top-ranked ballclub. "It's been a while since we've played like that, especially in all phases. There have been games where we've swung like that, but I think it starts on the mound and we haven't pitched well. We've given up a lot of runs, even in some victories over the last few weeks."
Rebel starter David Goforth (4-6) pitched six complete innings giving up only five hits and two runs, both earned. He struck out four and walked just one, which was a key to his success in this game.
Starter Colby Holmes (4-2) took the loss for the Gamecocks (37-9 overall, 18-5 SEC) only pitching 1.1 innings. But he was in good company for short stays in this one. USC sent seven different pitchers to the mound, but none could slow down a Rebel offensive attack that outhit Carolina 14-5.
"Overall, I felt great the whole day," Goforth said. "We as a pitching staff have been giving up a lot of runs. That's one thing Coach Bianco challenged us as pitchers, that we need to start winning the game on the mound. Those guys are going to keep scoring, but we need to go out there and put up zeros. "
Goforth also eluded to the first three innings where the Gamecocks threatened the most but still came up empty.
"For the first three innings it wasn't really there," Goforth said of his performance. "I felt better in the fifth and sixth."
"He's pitched well, even over the last four to five weeks," the eleventh-year Rebel head coach said after his team improved to 26-21 and 10-13. "Today I thought the cutter was good. But he threw some good changeups and it seemed throughout the day there were different pitches he counted on."
But it was also offensively that the Rebels were at their best. They started their scoring early with two runs in the first inning on a home run by Alex Yarbrough and added runs in the second, on a solo shot by Miles Hamblin, and third, on a Matt Tracy RBI single, for a 4-0 lead after three.
After USC closed the gap to 4-2, Ole Miss added to its lead with big innings coming in the sixth and seventh, scoring three rnus in both.
"It was just one of those days that everything went our way," said Yarbrough, 2-for-4 with four RBI. "I think we really attacked offensively. We got off to a good start and any time Tanner (Mathis) can lead off and get on base, it's amazing what does to our offense."
Freshman Austin Anderson started again at third base and was an impressive 3-for-4 with two RBI.
Brett Huber pitched the seventh and eighth in relief of Mayers, while Mike Mayers closed out things in the ninth, three up, three down.
Yarbrough talked after the game about what a win like this can mean to the team that's in a battle to be in the top eight in the conference to move on to the SEC tournament in Hoover, Ala. There are seven SEC regular season games remaining.
"It's huge," Yarbrough said. "You know a lot of teams in the (SEC) West won yesterday, so it was big to get a win today. Especially against such a great opponent. We've just got to build on this and come out with just as much energy and enthusiasm tomorrow."
Bianco summed up things shortly when asked about how big the win was for his team.
"They're all big."
Game three of this series is set for 1:30 p.m. Sunday.