Ready To Pitch

Mike Mayers was set to pitch Sunday, but Ole Miss needed him a day early. What did the sophomore righty do? He shut down No. 1 Kentucky's offense as the 10th-ranked Rebels evened the series with a dominating 9-3 win. It was UK's first home loss of the season after 21 wins.

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Mayers picked up the win in his first Saturday start, after R.J. Hively, the usual Saturday starter, couldn't go. Hively is expected to start Sunday.

"The good news is, we've got him for tomorrow," Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said of Hively, who may have needed one more day of rest for his arm than usual. "I think he's a great match for them."

Working 7.1 innings and allowing only three runs on eight hits with a walk and a strikeout, Mayers said he already knew there was a chance he might pitch Saturday, but it wasn't confirmed until late morning.

"I knew there was a possibility yesterday," Mayers said of maybe moving from Sunday to Saturday this weekend. "I officially found out probably about an hour and 45 minutes before the game."

Mayers said once it was "game on" for him and Bianco told him he'd start, he was ready.

"We do a good job preparing all week," Mayers said. "Once I found out I was starting (Saturday), Coach (Bianco) went over the lineup with me and everything. So I felt good today."

And it showed.

Bianco confident in Mayers:

Bianco said he alerted Mayers Friday night there was a possibility he might move up a day. And he said the Ohioan responded as he knew he would.

"I told him (after the game) how proud I was of him," Bianco said. "Sometimes you break the routine and they start to second-guess, how do I feel, I won't have another day's rest. But he never flinched from the time we told him (Friday) night it was a possibility. And of course today he was terrific."

Mayers had started every Sunday game this season, except the season-opening weekend when he was scheduled to start Sunday but the Saturday game was rained out. Hively started the Sunday game in Ft. Worth, and Mayers relieved him and actually got the loss that day.

Mayers headed to Lexington with a 4.05 ERA in 40 innings pitched.

Matt Snyder
Bruce Newman

Snyder pays attention:

Matt Snyder had a grand slam and a solo home run in the contest as he was 2-for-3 with 5 RBI and 2 runs scored.

His coaches spoke, he listened, and he responded.

"I was just really excited when they were walking (Alex) Yarbrough," Snyder said. "I knew the bases would be loaded with two outs. Before the game Coach (Cliff) Godwin and Coach Bianco talked to us and were telling us we needed somebody to come up with a big, two-out, bases-loaded hit. The guys got on board in front of me, and Yarbrough with the walk, it couldn't have happened without all that. It felt good."

The Rebels lost 3-2 Friday night but statistically Ole Miss won the game – everywhere except the scoreboard, that is. Snyder said Saturday was important for the Rebels in many ways.

"It was good to come out here today and prove to the guys on the team we can compete with anybody in the country and can win against anybody in the country," Snyder said. "Yesterday was one of those games. You never know what could have happened if some things didn't turn out the way they did. Today we wanted to make sure we came out here and definitely got a good win."

How it happened:

Ole Miss scored first on Saturday when Andrew Mistone came home from third on a wild pitch. Mistone opened the fifth inning with a double laced down the third base line. He then moved to third on a sac bunt from Zach Kirksey before scoring on the wild pitch on the first pitch to Blake Newalu.

The Rebels kept things going with a single from Newalu and a Mathis walk before Kentucky would notch its second out with a strikeout of Auston Bousfield. A double steal put both runners in scoring position, and that's when the Wildcats elected to intentionally walk Yarbrough and bring Snyder to the plate. The left-handed hitter then hit a 2-2 count over the wall in right field to clear the bases and put Ole Miss on top 5-0.

Back-to-back singles from Will Allen and Preston Overbey put two more men on base, and both scored a batter later when Mistone came up for the second time in the inning and doubled off the wall in right field. The Rebels led 8-0 after the fifth.

Snyder extended the lead in the sixth inning, hitting his second home run of the day with a solo shot to left center that put Ole Miss on top 9-0.

Kentucky answered in the bottom of the sixth when Thomas McCarthy hit a solo shot over the wall in left center with two outs. The Wildcats couldn't get any more runs as the Rebels led 9-1 after six innings of play.

The Wildcats cut into the lead again in the eighth inning when A.J. Reed hit a two-run shot to right field to make it 9-3 in favor of the Rebels. McCarthy scored on the play after notching a one-out double in the previous at bat. Ole Miss then turned to the bullpen for right-hander Chris Ellis.

Ellis was able to keep the Wildcats off the board in the ninth as the Rebels got a pair of nice snags on fly balls to left field, including a sliding one that saw Mathis glide under the ball, before a strikeout ended things to give Ole Miss the 9-3 win.

Ole Miss (21-9 overall, 6-5 SEC) and Kentucky (29-3, 8-3) wrap up the series at 12 noon CT Sunday.

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