Opposite Effect

FORT WORTH, Texas – Mike Bianco said Sunday's 5-3 Ole Miss loss at TCU was a lot like Friday night's 7-4 Rebel win. Except totally opposite.


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"Almost the mirror image of Friday where they get the big clutch double, we don't make a couple of plays in the field in the first, and we just let the first inning get away from us," Bianco said. "That was disappointing."

Actually it began in the top of the first as Ole Miss had its chances. Auston Bousfield doubled to right to lead off the game but was left stranded there three batters later.

But Bianco was referring more to the bottom of the first inning. After Brance Rivera singled, the Frogs were able to get down two bunts safely and load the bases with no outs. There was a Rebel error in the inning. But the ultimate good news for Ole Miss was it was only down 2-0 after the inning was over.

"Rivera did a great job leading off the game with a base hit," Bianco said. "But then they bunt twice, and we don't get an out, in situations where we knew they were bunting. Then there's a double play ball, a tough play, but a play that Andrew (Mistone) can make. It gets stuck in his glove, and we can't turn it. And (Alex Yarbrough) makes an ill-advised throw. So with all of that, they only are able to get two runs. But we just weren't able to shut them down in the first."

Offensively the Rebels didn't have an early answer. The Horned Frogs added a run in the fourth to lead 3-0 and appeared to be in control. But the Rebels came up with a big top of the fifth.

Zack Kirksey doubled to the right center wall to get things started. After Will Jamison grounded out to move Kirksey to third, Bousfield walked. After an Austin Anderson popup, Yarbrough singled past first base to cut the TCU lead to 3-1.

Stefan Crichton, the Frog starter, was pulled, and Brandon Finnegan didn't last long. Matt Snyder singled to score Bousfield. Tanner Mathis singled to score Yarbrough.

Preston Morrison, who went on to get the win, came in and got Will Allen to strike out. But the Rebels had tied it 3-3.

Mike Mayers came in to start the bottom of the fifth to relieve starter R.J. Hively. Mayers, who would get the loss, got two quick outs but then lost if briefly. He walked Brett Johnson, who moved to second and then third on wild pitches. Davy Wright walked and Michael Resnick doubled to score two runs. He then got Keaton Jones to strike out.

Ultimately the damage was done as Ole Miss wasn't able to get anything off Morrison or closer Kaleb Merck, who pitched the ninth. Not a single baserunner the last four innings.

Each team ended the day with eight hits.

Grinding Start

Rebel starter R.J. Hively went four innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on seven hits with four strikeouts and two walks.


Andrew Mistone
Patrick Ochs

"There's days you come out and you aren't 100 percent," said the senior. "I struggled with location early, and they took advantage of that. It was a battle throughout. I made a lot of quality pitches they either fouled off or they put in play. They found holes and throughout the whole four innings it was a battle and a grind."

Bianco felt Hively gave Ole Miss a chance and had a solid start for his first time out there this season.

"I thought he was gutsy," Bianco said. "He threw some good breaking balls, and I thought his fastball was really cutting and sinking. Really the reason he's out there is because he's a different look. He pitched in and out of some jams."

Learning Experience

Mike Mayers, the sophomore righty, said he'll learn from this.

"You've got to learn from your mistakes," he said. "You've just got to learn to trust your defense. I have a real good defense behind me, and you can't give people free bases. They get enough hits on their own, let alone give them free bases."

Mayers, who was scheduled to start game three had there not been a rainout Saturday, pitched the final four innings Sunday, striking out eight but allowing those two runs on just one hit with two walks.

He admitted he settled down as the game moved on.

"From every outing we take good things and bad things," he said, in the first game of his second college season. "I guess I'm a younger guy. You've got to learn those guys (on defense) will make plays behind you."

Mayers said he liked a lot of what he saw from the Rebels this weekend.

"I think we learned that everybody's going to do great," Mayers said. "The freshmen are going to dominate. There's speed in the outfield, and with Bobby (Wahl) on the mound on Friday, that gives you a chance to win every time out."

The View From There

Junior outfielder Tanner Mathis, 3-for-4 Sunday with an RBI, said the Rebels had their chances but couldn't keep the momentum up offensively after the fifth inning.

"We had a good fifth inning. We had like three two-out hits in a row. That's hard to get," Mathis said. "But overall we didn't win enough pitches offensively, and that's what it boils down to."

Mathis said the Rebels learned some things about themselves and look forward to the home opener Tuesday against Arkansas State at 3 p.m.

"The first weekend's always a big learning weekend," he said. "The guys in the pen threw great. Everybody threw great today. Everybody threw great Friday. Offensively I think we have a lot of guys who can really help us. This is one of the deepest teams I've played for; you can see how much depth we have. We can put anybody up in the lineup, and we all feel like they can get the job done."


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