Doak Field Downfall

RALEIGH, N.C. - It ended up as the worst of scenarios for a team hoping to win game one of a NCAA Regional and make it easier on itself heading to day two.

Now second-seeded Ole Miss has the hardest of jobs after its 4-2 loss at N.C. State's Doak Field to third-seeded William and Mary. It has to come through the losers' bracket to get out of here and head to a Super Regional.

But it does have an ace in the hole – make that its true ace, Bobby Wahl. The junior All-American right-hander is scheduled to start against the loser of the contest between top-seeded North Carolina State and fourth-seeded Binghamton who play Friday night.

That could be Binghamton, but not likely. Third seeds win on day one a lot more than four seeds do.

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco, long an advocate for sending your best pitcher to the mound for the opening game of a Regional, changed his normal position and sent No. 2 starter Mike Mayers to the mound against the Tribe. And from the get-go, Mayers didn't have it.

The normally reliable Mayers walked the first batter of the game on four pitches, and although things got better for him and William and Mary was scoreless through four innings, Mayers lost it again in the fifth inning.

The team lost its way in the fifth inning as well. William and Mary scored four runs on no hits, with four Mayers walks and two Andrew Mistone errors at third base.

And that was enough for the Tribe to move on in the winners' bracket.

"Obviously disappointed in the way we played today," Bianco said. "The big inning was the fifth with four walks and two errors. They scored four runs without a hit."

It didn't look at first to be anything out of the ordinary as the top of the fifth began. Ryan Williams popped up to Preston Overbey at first in foul territory. But then Derek Lowe reached on a throwing error by Mistone.

Mayers then came unglued as far as his effectiveness. He walked Ryan Brown to put runners on first and second with one out. A groundout was the second out of the inning when Willie Shaw moved runners to second and third. Still there was no damage as far as runs yet. But that was about to happen in a big way.

After a Bianco visit to the mound, Mayers then walked Michael Katz and Ryan Lindemuth back to back to make it 1-0 Tribe. Ryan Hissey then walked and another run was in. It was 2-0 William and Mary.

Even though the Rebel offense was being handcuffed, at least in the scoring department, by Tribe starting left-hander Jason Inghram, things only got worse for Ole Miss. Jonathan Sarty then strolled to then plate and sent a ball toward Mistone that got past the usually sure-handed third baseman as two more runs came home.

Aaron Greenwood entered the game for Mayers at that point. Up 4-0, Jackson Shaver struck out looking.

Disaster inning for Ole Miss.

Mayers ended his 4.2 inning stint with six walks and three strikeouts, four unearned runs for the Tribe on three hits in 24 batters faced. But no hits in the devastating fifth.

"I felt fine warming up, but I went out there and struggled to find my fastball command obviously," Mayers said. "In that one inning (the fifth), it didn't matter what I did. As a veteran it's my job to fix it up and figure it out and get us out of that big inning."

Greenwood went four innings with no damage and pitched well. Jeremy Massie went the final third of an inning to finish things up.

The Rebels got runners to second and third base numerous times and had chances to score runs, both before and after the big fifth for the Tribe. The Rebels were an ineffective 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position on the day. They stranded 10 in the contest.

But William and Mary left 11 on base as the Rebels' pitching was effective for the most part, except that one inning, of course.

Ole Miss got one run in the sixth and one in the seventh to cut the W&M lead to two. And that was that.

"I thought it was a good, hard-fought game," said Tribe first-year head coach Jamie Pinzino. "I'm glad we were the team that came out on top. I thought Jason was good today. He kept those guys off balance with his offspeed stuff. We really minimized our mistakes from a pitching and defense standpoint. That gave us an opportunity to win."

And in the other camp, it was precisely what cost the Rebels a chance to move on in the winners' bracket.

Inghram went eight innings, allowing two runs on eight hits with three strikeouts and a walk. Matt Wainman, who has eight saves this year and is another left-hander, closed things out in the ninth.

But not before two were aboard with two outs and Stuart Turner was at the plate. But his fly ball to left ended the game at that point.

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