One Down

FORT WORTH, Texas – You often hear about a team playing a complete game. Possibly the best way to evaluate the season-opening 7-4 win by Ole Miss against TCU is to simply say the Rebels played well in all phases.

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There was no disagreement from Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco, whose 22nd-ranked team by Baseball America got off to the start it hoped.

"We really played well, especially on opening night on the road against a very good team," he said of TCU, ranked 15th by Baseball America but 10th by Collegiate Baseball.

Then he began to break down some areas of the contest, beginning with starting pitcher Bobby Wahl.

"I thought Bobby was really tough out there, a guy who didn't have his best stuff out there. Just didn't have his best stuff. Fast ball velocity was up and down. Slider velocity was up and down. But he made pitches when he had to and he hung in there.

"Defensively we certainly showed how athletic we can be in the outfield. We made some great plays. (Auston Bousfield) continues to amaze with throwing all the guys out at the plate. (Will) Jamison made a great play in the outfield as well. An errorless game by us."

But Bianco really liked what he saw on the "other" side of the ball for the Rebels, as his team outhit the Frogs 10-8 on the night.

"I thought tonight was more about offense against a very good pitcher in (Andrew) Mitchell. I thought we just won more at-bats than they did tonight. Just some quality at-bats, some stuff that doesn't go down in the box score. It's not the highlight stuff.

"But two HBPs by (Andrew) Mistone. Two-out hits by (Alex) Yarbrough and (Matt) Snyder, and a bunt by Jamison. A hit and run by (Blake) Newalu early in the game. I just thought out guys really competed hard. We're not going to face a lot of guys better than (Mitchell)."

Auston Bousfield
Patrick Ochs

Much attention was given to Wahl coming in as he had only started one game last season as a freshman with 18 appearances. He admitted, as Bianco said, that he wasn't his best against the Horned Frogs.

"I definitely had my ‘C' game tonight," the personable right-hander admitted. "My fast ball wasn't jumping like I wanted, that's for sure."

Wahl went five complete, allowing two earned runs on five hits with two strikeouts and two walks to get the win. He then acknowledged his defense for its efforts.

"I want to thank all those guys in the outfield and the infield," Wahl said. "Jamison with that huge catch at the wall, and Bousfield with two throw outs that put the momentum in our favor. It was awesome to see that."

Bousfield said his two throw outs from the outfield – a relay in the first and a throw home in the fourth - were a part of his game he's worked on for a long time.

"Hopefully I'll have a few more of those," he said. "They were fun. Hopefully I can keep it up."

The Rebels led 1-0 early but had a chance for more. Jamison laid down a terrific bunt to load the bases in the top of the third inning after Preston Overbey and Blake Newalu each singled.

But a Tanner Mathis hit into shallow left center allowed the center fielder to throw home to get Overbey out. Still the bases were loaded. Bousfield grounded out to get Newalu home, but Alex Yarbrough struck out to end it.

Immediately TCU took advantage as Wahl walked Davy Wright and hit Keaton Jones, the No. 8 and 9 hitters for the Frogs. After a sac bunt by Brance Rivera moved runners to second and third, Kyle Von Tungeln got a base hit to score a run, followed by a fly ball to center by Jason Coats.

That made it 2-1 TCU and after a double by All-American Josh Elander put runners at second and third, Mistone at third base made a nice play to first base on a tough ball hit his way by Zac Jordan to end the inning.

Yarbrough heads home after 2-run blast to right
Patrick Ochs

After the Rebels tied it 2-2 in the fourth, Yarbrough launched a two-run shot over the right field wall to break a tie game, score Jamison who had singled, and give Ole Miss a 4-2 lead.

"I had missed a few fast balls my first at-bats," Yarbrough said. "He left me one a little bit over the plate, and I got my foot down a little earlier and was on time for that, because I thought it was coming. It was awesome."

The lead went to 6-2 in the seventh on back to back RBI singles by Yarbrough and Snyder.

TCU trimmed it to 6-4 in the bottom of the seventh as reliever Dylan Chavez gave up a couple of runs before Sam Smith came in to face Elander with a man aboard and got a fielder's choice to end the frame.

A leadoff home run to left by Mistone ended the game's scoring.

Brett Huber was called on to close things out in the ninth and got two quick outs. But a walk and a hit batter made things a bit shaky before Coats struck out swinging to end it.

Mitchell got the loss for TCU, while Huber picked up the save.

Bousfield said the Rebels need to remember it was the first of three games this weekend, and there is more work to be done.

"It was a great team win," he said. "We played really well. We're just trying to win every pitch."

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