A Look Back

Ole Miss went 2-0 last midweek with wins against Memphis and Jackson State. Then the Rebels salvaged the weekend with a 2-1 win Sunday against Miami (OH). The series started shaky for the Rebels in the early stages of a 9-8 loss Friday night and ended a bit the same way with a wild ninth inning Sunday.

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Most would have predicted a sweep for Ole Miss prior to the weekend. And as it turned out, that would have been the case but for some Friday miscues, especially in a six-run third inning for the visiting Redhawks.

Most would also agree after watching this 9-2 team for 11 games, two of them wins since Friday night, four errors like game one against Miami aren't this team. That the Rebels answered with five runs in the bottom of the third Friday night and tied the game after five innings is more what we've seen this season.

They proved with six runs in the first two innings Saturday they'd put it behind them, and an 11-3 cruise-control victory was the outcome. The Rebels' 18 hits might have been as positive as the mental comeback in that one. They ran through five Miami pitchers that couldn't slow them down, with each of the five allowing at least one earned run.

Sunday was different. If Friday was more of a Sunday score, Sunday was more like a Friday night. When the pre-series info showed the only left-handed Miami starter, Shawn Marquardt, was their statistical best, it likely meant some trouble for Rebel hitters in the finale. That proved true.

Ole Miss had just six hits in the one-run win, but a lot of hard-hit balls went right at Redhawk defenders. In a lot of games there would have been three or four more hits, and likely another run or two, by that fact alone.

Andrew Mistone
Patrick Ochs

Brett Huber has four saves this season, but at least two of them could have gone the other way. But getting saves is the most important thing, not how they're drawn up.

Co-save for the Sunday game had to go to third baseman Andrew Mistone, whose one-out snag of a line shot hit his way with runners on second and third was arguably the play of the game. Mistone continues to be a valuable part of the Rebel infield this season. He also batted .400 in five games last week with a double and two RBI.

Freshman Jake Overbey got his first start of the season at shortstop Sunday and appeared mostly flawless there. He got the start because of Blake Newalu's stomach virus. As Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said postgame, since they'd been interchanging sophomore Austin Anderson and senior Newalu, he wanted to get Jake a start.

A 1-for-3 day with a RBI single to drive in his brother, Preston, from third was a key moment in what turned out to be a one-run victory. And a moment that might have gotten a bit lost in the postgame shuffle since it occurred in the second inning.

Dylan Chavez, the left-handed junior, continues to give the Rebels solid innings. He pitched the last inning of the Friday night loss with a hit but no damage. On Sunday, he pitched the eighth with a hit and two strikeouts and held the Redhawks where they were – with no runs on the scoreboard at the time.

He could have obviously finished the game in the ninth, but Huber had been warming up. And it was a chance to get the closer in to wrap things up in a tight situation. There will be more of those in the games ahead.

Chavez made three appearances on the week, allowing only two hits and holding opponents scoreless in 4.2 innings of relief work and striking out four batters. He got the win against Memphis, a relief appearance in the Rebels' 7-2 victory.

There were some other notables, none maybe more noteworthy than freshman catcher Austin Knight. Knight came in late in the Friday game and started the final two games of the series after Will Allen suffered an injury on Friday night.

Knight hit .375 for the week (3-for-8) with a run scored and an RBI and threw out three baserunners on steal attempts over the weekend.

R.J. Hively went six innings, struck out seven, walked one, and allowed two hits but no runs Saturday. The defense behind him was solid, and six runs the first two innings helped him move through the early part of that game.

Austin Knight
Bruce Newman

Mike Mayers was at his best and had to be Sunday, given the fact that Marquardt was almost as effective for the other side. Seven shutout innings on a Sunday, like Mayers had, will win the Rebels a lot of games.

Of note, with Mayers on the mound Sunday, no Redhawk runner advanced past first base in the seven innings he pitched.

The flip of Senquez Golson from right field to left and Tanner Mathis from left to right got better as the weekend went on. Bianco said Golson mentioned he felt more comfortable in left. His highlight-reel catch at the top of the wall Friday night, and running down a high fly in foul territory early Sunday that appeared almost out of reach, were further evidence Golson is special. He had a couple of hits each of the first two days before going hitless Sunday.

Freshman right-hander Chris Ellis pitched two innings Friday night and, after starter Bobby Wahl and reliever Casey Mulholland, was the first pitcher not to give up a run. Ellis continues to be one of the Rebels who has shown a lot of progress since the fall.

Alex Yarbrough and Mathis continue to lead as expected. Although Mathis was hitless Sunday, he was 5-for-8 the prior two days in the leadoff spot.

Yarbrough was 6-for-10 on the weekend with two doubles and five RBI.

Ole Miss hosts Tennessee-Martin Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in its only midweek action. Bianco said either Sam Smith or Josh Laxer, both freshmen right-handers, would start.

This weekend the Houston Cougars come to Oxford for three games – Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 1:30 p.m., and Sunday at 12 noon.

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