Must-Win Secured

Sunday for Ole Miss baseball was as close to a must-win as a team can have. And they won it. They showed some toughness, too.

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It's more of what Mike Bianco had been hoping to see from his team. He mentioned it after last Tuesday's 10-0 loss to Southern Mississippi. His team had to get tougher, he said.

The way the Saturday game at Alabama had ended with a dramatic loss, Sunday was an opportunity for the team to test that. They also proved they can come back to win.

"Our first comeback win after six innings," Bianco said after his team's second 16-hit performance of the weekend, this time a 8-4 series-clinching victory. "So a team that's really had a great year offensively, it's amazing that here we are in game 24, and it's our first comeback win. I'm proud of the way we swung it, especially at the end."

One tough pitcher so far has been Dylan Chavez. He recorded two wins – Friday and Sunday – and continues to be efficient just about every time he pitches.

"I just treat (SEC teams) like any other opponent," Chavez said. "I just try to do what I know works and that's to pound the zone and attack with my offspeed pitches. Pound low in the zone and just attack hitters with my best stuff. That's all I try to do."

The junior left-hander said the Rebels, now 17-7 overall and 3-3 in Southeastern Conference play, knew what was needed in the finale.

"It was huge," Chavez said of the Rebels taking the series on Sunday. "It was big to get us back on the winning track. We know we can win SEC weekends, and today was proof of that for us."

Bianco said it was good to see the hitters appear confident again.

"I like the way we hung in there," he said. "It's no secret we haven't swung well lately. We swung it pretty good on Friday night. But we really haven't been ourselves now for about 10 days. Not talking about that many hits, but the swings. Once we tied it up (Sunday), the swings were totally different. We haven't seen those swings, even on Friday night. A confident swing."

The Rebels even sported new Sunday attire. Instead of the road gray uniforms, they wore a blue top they normally wear in batting practice.

"We were going to wear the gray, but Mike (Mayers) wanted a little lighter top," Bianco said - it's the starting pitchers who are normally given the nod to decide the color and the uniform to wear. "These are super thin and super light. So instead of wearing the canvas grays, we wore the lighter tops."

Matt Snyder, with a double and a home run, said he was comfortable in them.

"These things are cool. The temperature's perfect for them," he said. "It was a nice, hot day today. They breathe really well. The gray ones don't breathe very well. I like the way these look."

Snyder agreed Sunday was a key win for Ole Miss as the Rebels head toward another important weekend with top-ranked Florida visiting Friday through Sunday. That's after a midweek home game against Jackson State Tuesday night. The Rebels have had recent series wins, taking two of three games at home, against Georgia in 2009 and South Carolina in 2011 when those teams were ranked No. 1 in the nation.

"We definitely needed this one just because of the momentum and the confidence that keeps everybody in there," Snyder said of the Alabama series, especially the Sunday finale. "We've got the No. 1 team in the country coming to Oxford. It's going to be a great weekend. We've always done really well against the No. 1 teams in the country when they come to play us. We'll practice hard and play hard on Tuesday and go out there this weekend and do everything we can to win the series."

Matt Snyder from Jeff Roberson on Vimeo.

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