Lifting His Game

It almost seems like Andrew Mistone has been here a long time, and it's been less than two seasons at third base.

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Last year he wowed everybody with his highlight plays and only made three errors. This year he hasn't been quite as spectacular at third but has still had a solid year, with only six errors and some clutch plays.

At the plate, Mistone's batting average has risen from .243 last year to .297 currently. Basically Mistone has done what you hope for players in a program, and that's improve from one year to the next.

"Andrew coming into his junior year (2012), we felt he would be a good addition offensively," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "We didn't expect his defense to be as good as it was. I don't want to say it was a surprise. But it was an outstanding year for him."

Mistone and the Rebels are 31-14 this season and host Saint Louis University today at 6:30 p.m. in their final regular season non-conference game.

Bianco said that while Mistone has continued to be solid on defense again this year, it's at the plate where he has moved his game up a level.

"Watching him throughout the fall and working with Coach (Cliff) Godwin, I could see it," he said. "And now you look at it, he's been in the middle of the lineup basically the whole year. He's been one of the most consistent guys we've had in the lineup."

Mistone, who was 7-for-12 against Kentucky last weekend, said he's tried to do the same things he's always done, just do them better.

"My approach didn't change at all," Mistone said. "It's the same thing, try to see the ball deep, hit the ball opposite field, to come in, react in. I saw the ball well last weekend, got some good pitches to hit, and capitalized on it."

He was a home run shy of the cycle Friday vs. UK, hitting a RBI single, RBI double, and three-RBI triple. Mistone hit .533 for the week (3 games vs. the Wildcats and a game at Arkansas State last midweek) with 3 multiple-hit games, an .800 slug percentage and .588 on base percentage.

Andrew Mistone
Bruce Newman

Mistone hit better toward the end of last season. He seems to ne warming up again this year as May arrives. Maybe for a southern California player, warm weather is a positive factor.

"You feel a lot looser when it's warm, I'll tell you that," he said. "But hitting's all the same. You have to go up there and do the same things. But you feel more loose when the weather heats up.

"But I'm really just seeing the ball well and trying to keep it simple, swing at pitches I know I can drive into the gap and get base hits on, not try to swing at their pitches they want me to swing at in the dirt. Just get pitches to hit and react toward that."

Saint Louis enters the contest 30-13 and is coming off a series loss at Richmond over the weekend. The Billikens dropped a one-run game to the Spiders on Friday and a two-run game on Saturday before claiming a 2-0 win Sunday to salvage the series.

Last season SLU won a school record 41 games and was the regular season Atlantic 10 champions.

Saint Louis hits at a .292 clip as a team with 27 home runs and 234 RBI though 43 games. Grant Nelson leads the way with a .350 batting average, three home runs and 19 RBI. Alex Kelly is the top run producer with seven home runs and 33 RBI and a .315 batting average. Mike Vigliarolo is behind Kelly with six home runs, 32 RBI and also hits at a .315 clip on the year.

Joe Powell is 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA through 14 outings; foes hit .317 vs. Powell with 19 K, 15 BB. As a staff, Saint Louis holds a 3.60 ERA with 299 strikeouts, 155 walks and a .266 opponent BA.

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