Close Call

It was all about pitching and defense, Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said of Sunday's 2-1 Rebel victory over Miami of Ohio. And relief at the end.

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The Rebels held a 2-0 lead going into the top of the ninth inning. Closer Brett Huber came on but ran into trouble.

The first batter Ryan Brenner, on a 1-2 count, hit the ball and it bounced off Huber's leg. The Rebel pitcher raced toward the ball, scooped it up, and threw it to first baseman Preston Overbey.

Close play, but the umpire called Brenner safe. It was a start for the Redhawks in the ninth.

Matt Honchel then singled to move Brenner to third, followed by a Bryce Redeker single to score Brenner.

After Kevin Bower grounded out to Overbey, the play of the game was a lineout snag by Rebel third baseman Andrew Mistone of a well-hit ball by Alex Johnson. Mistone dove and grabbed what would surely have gotten a run home to tie the game and potentially scored the go-ahead run from second.

But with two down, Huber got John Crummy to ground out to second baseman Alex Yarbrough to preserve the win and claim the series for the Rebels.

Ole Miss won Saturday 11-3, and Miami won Friday 9-8.

"A great game, and well-played by both teams," said Bianco after his team improved to 9-2 this season and Miami fell to 4-5.

Bianco said his first two pitchers, Mike Mayers (who got the win and is 1-1) and Dylan Chavez, were solid. And Huber kept battling.

Mike Mayers
Bruce Newman

"Mayers was terrific, as was Chavez," he said. "And we played great defense. With Brett, they were kind of able to break through and get some hits. But he hung in there and took it, and was able to make some pitches and get out of the jam."

Huber, who earned his fourth save, said he caught up with Mistone afterward to make sure he knew he appreciated the effort – and the catch.

"He made a great play," Huber said. "Actually when the ball was hit it made a funky noise. I looked over and his face was in the dirt. He made a great play. I thanked him after the game and gave him a big hug."

The Redhawks outhit Ole Miss 8 to 6.

The Rebels got on the board in the second on a Jake Overbey RBI single that scored Preston Overbey who had walked and moved to third on a hit and run by Auston Bousfield.

It was the sixth before the Rebels would get another run. Yarbrough made the most of manufacturing something positive. He got hit by a pitch to lead off, stole second, moved to third on a groundout by Snyder, and scored on a fly ball to left by Mistone.

Mayers went seven complete, allowing no runs on four hits with five strikeouts and a walk.

"He's pitched just about as well as anybody on the staff," Bianco said. "Today was indicative of who he is and how he can pitch. Seven shutout innings; that's pretty dominant."

Chavez pitched the eighth and allowed a hit with two strikeouts.

Jake Overbey started at shortstop Sunday. Blake Newalu would have been there but had a stomach virus, according to Bianco.

"Normally we've been flip-flopping (Newalu and Austin Anderson)," he said. "Newalu would have started today, and we wanted to get (Jake Overbey) a start eventually. With a left-handed pitcher, we thought it was the perfect time for it."

Left-handed Miami starter Shawn Marquardt, who got the loss, pitched seven effective innings, allowing just two runs on six hits with two strikeouts and two walks. He faced 28 batters and the Rebels hit a lot of balls right at the Redhawk defenders.

Matt Rosinski, a right-hander, pitched the eighth and allowed nothing for the Rebels with one strikeout.

Ole Miss hosts Tennessee-Martin Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The Rebel starter has yet to be decided, according to Bianco, but will be either freshman right-hander Sam Smith or freshman right-hander Josh Laxer.

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