Game Story By: Jeff Roberson
HOOVER, Ala. - In the best year of baseball for top teams in the Southeastern Conference, Ole Miss made another statement here Wednesday, routing South Carolina 10-4 to advance to a Thursday showdown with Vanderbilt. That game is set to begin at 4:30 p.m.
The Commodores (43-15) beat Texas A&M (41-14) Wednesday, and both Ole Miss and Vanderbilt are 2-0 here in two days. The two teams have not played each other this season.
Ole Miss (42-16) put two runs on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning off USC ace Clarke Schmidt and never trailed. The final blow, with the Rebels leading 7-4, came in the form of a three-run Henri Lartigue home run in the top of the eighth inning.
“We just played some really good baseball, and it always starts on the mound,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “David (Parkinson) gave us a great effort today, just tremendous against a very good South Carolina hitting team.”
Parkinson started and went 5.2 innings, allowing only two runs on five hits with six strikeouts and two walks.
“I basically wanted to hit my spots and see what they could do with it,” said the Rebels’ second starter each series the last half of the season, who is now 5-3 on the year. “Later in the game I actually felt a little bit better than I was (earlier). Late in the game I felt strong.”
“We made that change midway through the season (with Parkinson to a weekend starter), and he really has been tremendous,” Bianco said. “We were hopeful today he could give them a look. Last time we faced them we had three right-handers, and David was in the bullpen. They have a left-handed dominant lineup, and they do handle left-handers pretty well. I thought he was better as the game went on, his rhythm, his command. He was terrific today.”
South Carolina (42-14) was good to the Rebels with five errors in the contest. Three of those came in the first three innings as Ole Miss built a 5-0 through the top of the third.
Carolina cut into the UM lead with a couple of runs in the bottom of the third. But Ole Miss stretched it back out to 7-2 in the top of the fifth. After J.B. Woodman and Lartigue singled, Colby Bortles doubled to give the Rebels a five-run edge.
Then came the blast from Lartigue to basically solidify the victory.
Andy Pagnozzi relieved Parkinson and pitched to three batters. Will Stokes, who had pitched an inning and a batter the day before, finished the game with three innings pitched today.
Eight of the Rebels’ 10 runs against the Gamecocks came with two outs.
Some quotes from the postgame today:
Bianco on facing Vanderbilt for the first time this season, and his starter on the mound: “I know they have had another great year this year. I know how well they pitch. We’ll look at some of their games tonight and tomorrow morning and we’ll formulate who will be the better match for them. (Either James McArthur or Chad Smith).”
Lartigue on playing Vanderbilt for the first time this season: “We know they pitch it really well. Nothing changes for us. We play ourselves and the game, and we’ve just got to go out there, and pitchers need to make pitches and hitters need to have quality at-bats. That’s what we’ve been doing so far this week. Hopefully it pays off tomorrow.”
Bianco on J.B. Woodman: “He’s always been a superstar. He was a freshman All-American. Last year he had seven home runs, double digit steals. Hit around .275, .280. We love that guy. He’s been a star since he stepped on campus. His swing is more consistent. He’s such a talent, and such a smart kid. Great competitor. There are not many things, or anything, he doesn’t do well on the field. He’s superman.”
Bianco on his team’s 12 hits and 10 runs: “(USC starter Clarke) Schmidt wasn’t as good as he’s been all year. He’s had a tremendous year. I thought we had a great plan today. Coach (Mike) Clement had the guys ready to go. The left-handers – Henri and J.B. – saw the ball really well today. We challenged the guys. We’re having this terrific year, but we’ve got to beat the big boys. Proud of the way we played today against a very, very good team.”
Bianco on Cameron Dishon not playing so far in Hoover: “He’s healthy. I thought Kyle (Watson) deserved a shot. He’s a tremendous athlete, and he does so many different things for us. Unfortunately because of the outfield rotation, he hasn’t had the at-bats this year. I thought this was a good opportunity to run him out there.”
South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook: “You have to congratulate Ole Miss. They played a better game than we did today. We pride ourselves on pitching and defense, and that is what has gotten us to this point. Clarke (Schmidt) did the best he could. He just didn’t have his normal stuff. We didn’t help him out either.”