One In The Books

Matt Snyder's Red team beat Blair Wright's Blue team 10-4 Wednesday in the Red-Blue World Series/Pizza Bowl. "Coach" Snyder was all smiles and downright giddy after the game. But, really, what else is new?

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"It feels great to come into the SEC and (coach) a game like that," said the senior first baseman, never at a loss for words and in this case giving his best effort at postgame coachspeak. "I did some good recruiting. I had Bobby Wahl helping me. Me and him comraderated (we think he meant collaborated; ‘Look it up! Look it up!' Snyder exclaimed.).

"And Will Allen, also. We all talked about (the draft), and I'm real excited about (his Red team). I had a big board the day before the draft," Snyder continued. "It almost turned out to be exactly what I wanted. We had some guys (do well) out here today. Bobby Wahl looked awesome, the best I've seen him all fall. He was lights out. We could have put our gloves down on defense and just watched him pitch."

If it all indeed starts on the mound, it certainly started with Wahl in this one. The right-handed sophomore was on top of his game for the first four innings of the contest.

"I think I did pretty well," said Wahl with an understatement, allowing no runs and just one John Gatlin single, with four strikeouts, facing just one over the minimum – 13 batters through four innings. "I've been working since the start of fall to keep my velocity throughout four (innings). Coach (Carl) Lafferty's been helping me out great, really working with me in the bullpen. So it's been good. The big thing is hitting spots, working low, and trying to pitch to contact, too."

Wahl said there has been a real push from the talented younger pitchers who arrived this fall, and it's made the veterans step up their games.

"I really do feel like I've gotten a lot better," said the Springfield, Va., native. "All the young guys who have come in have served as great competition. They've been lights out. It's been good to see them doing well, too."

Here is the way the scoring went in game one, courtesy of Bill Bunting of Ole Miss athletics media relations:

Andrew Mistone is greeted by teammates after a home run Wednesday
Jeff Roberson

The scoring started in the fourth inning when Will Allen crossed the plate from second on a single to center field from Taylor Hightower. Allen doubled to reach base before coming home on the Hightower hit to get the Red team on the board.

The Blue team answered in the fifth when John Gatlin scored from third on a single to left from Jake Overbey. Gatlin reached when he was hit by a pitch and stole second to set up the score on the Overbey hit that tied the game at one.

The Red team broke things open in the sixth, using a two-run home run from Andrew Mistone to push out to a two-run lead. Allen scored on the play after reaching on a single. The Red team then added a third run in the inning when Hightower scored on a sac fly from Blake Newalu. Hightower reached on an error before moving to third on a double from Austin Sullivan.

A walk of Snyder and a single from Zach Kirksey started things in the seventh before Matt Snyder would score on a single from Allen and a sac fly from Mistone pushed Kirksey home to give the Red team a 6-1 lead.

That lead grew to 8-1 in the eighth inning when Snyder and Kirksey hit back-to-back home runs.

The Blue team responded with a three-run bottom of the eighth, using a three-run home run from Preston Overbey to cut the lead to 8-4. Tanner Mathis and Austin Anderson scored on the shot from Overbey.

The Red team wasn't done, however, pushing two more runs across the plate in the ninth, thanks to a pair of errors that helped keep runners in scoring position. Mistone doubled to left and took third on a fielding error by the cut-off man on the relay before coming home on a double to left from Auston Bousfield. Another fielding error on the relay allowed Bousfield to take third before scoring on a sac fly to center field from Sullivan and gave the Red team the 10-4 lead, which was the final score.

Junior right-hander Brett Huber started on the mound for the Blue team and went four innings, struggled early but allowed no runs. He walked three in the top of the first but got out of it with no damage. After that, he walked one in the third and still hadn't given up a hit. That changed in the fourth inning with Allen's leadoff double.

First-in pitchers were junior left-hander Dustin McWillams for the Blue team and freshman righty Hawtin Buchanan for the Red team. McWilliams pitched the fifth and sixth innings, and after walking the leadoff man in the seventh was pulled in favor of senior left-hander Jon Andy Scott. Buchanan went three innings before junior lefty Dylan Chavez came on to start the eighth.

Kirksey, who has had a solid fall at the plate and in the outfield, said as a senior he feels the need to lead. He also had positive words for a couple of freshmen outfielders.

"Guys like Will Jamison and Auston Bousfield are really, really talented," he said. "They're going to help us a lot this spring. Bousfield, I've never seen an arm like that. He throws out everybody. I think he's like eight for eight. It's crazy. That saves us runs. He's going to help us a lot defensively."

Wahl said the Pizza Bowl is a neat way to end the fall ball sessions.

"This is the greatest competition we've had all fall," Wahl said. "It's a big deal to us, and it's a great way to compete. We've actually looked forward to something, so it's good. It's fun."

Game two is set for 2:30 p.m. Thursday, weather permitting.

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