Ole Miss is still trying to find its way offensively again, but the pitching has been stellar basically all season.
Saturday afternoon it was Brady Feigl who stepped up and delivered a masterful performance in a 5-0 Rebel victory over Furman. Friday night Ole Miss won 2-0.
Before focusing on the pitching, here’s a breakdown of the Rebel offense in this one: 3 hits, 2 walks, 1 hit by pitch, 1 strikeout, 2 left on base. And that was it. But there were the five runs; that mattered the most.
After Colby Bortles walked in the second inning, Michael Fitzsimmons homered to give Ole Miss plenty of runs at that point as it turned out. That’s because Feigl was lights out almost all the way through eight innings. Will Stokes came on to finish things up in the ninth. By that time the Rebels had those five runs and were about to be 10-5 on the season.
They’ll continue to search for more offense. The lineup Saturday, in addition to Fitzsimmons at first base, included D.J. Miller in left field. But he went 0-for-3. Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said Friday night that the staff, led by hitting coach Mike Clement, had worked hard to shorten some swings and make some other adjustments to try to get the Rebels back to doing what they were last month.
After six starters in the lineup failed to get a hit, the answers are not all there yet. Sunday’s game against Furman (8-6) at 1:30 p.m. will be their next opportunity.
But on the mound David Parkinson Friday night and Brady Feigl Saturday appeared to be as sharp as they’ve ever been. And that’s why Ole Miss, along with its defense, was able to win both games.
The game was played under cloudy skies with temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s throughout after a rainy morning in Oxford. That it only took two hours to play was a blessing for those in it and those sitting outside watching it.
However Feigl said it was the perfect day for a pitcher, with the wind blowing in and cold conditions. And he proved that in a big way.
Ole Miss starting pitcher Brady Feigl
On when he knew it was going to be a good day pitching: “After the first inning, once you get going you can just mix all three pitches in there. You just ride it from there and let it go.” On his offspeed pitches: “Coach (Bianco) preached getting ahead early to be able to dump that slider in there and get them going. That helps a whole lot.” On Fitzsimmons’ homer: “Anytime the offense puts up two, it’s like a breath of fresh air. Fitz put a great swing on it to be able to get that ball out on a day like today. He must have crushed it.” On his lengthy outing and working out of a little jam in the eighth: “That was the biggest thing. Coach always preaches don’t leave a mess on the field when you’re done. Get out of your messes and come out on your own terms. That’s his biggest preach.”
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco
On Feigl’s day: “Much of the same message with Parkinson (Friday night) was with Brady (Saturday). Here’s a guy that we talk about maybe having the best stuff on the team but an opposing BA around .330. It doesn’t add up. But when you really dissect it, there are a lot of balls early in the count. Too many counts where he’s 2-0, 2-2, 3-2. They see too many pitches of that 92 mile an hour fast ball and get better swings off. One of the things we talked about was making better first-pitch strikes. I lost count but he was eight of nine of the first hitters with first-pitch strikes. So he was in good position. After that maybe not as good the next time through. But still really, really good. When he pitches like that it’s really tough. They just didn’t get a lot of good swings off him.” On his message to the team offensively: “When things aren’t going well you get back to the statistics and the batting average and the hits. ‘Oh my gosh it’s another game’s fifth inning and we’ve only got one hit’ and you forget to play the game. Just try to play the game. When you don’t play well, that’s what you wear on your chest and it’s wrong. When you’re winning, nobody cares. That was the message. We’ve got to get out of the statistics and play well. Not a great day but we did hit some balls good. We did some things. We’re trying to bunt a little more. When you score five runs, you’re going to win a lot of baseball games.”
OXFORD, Miss. – (Ole Miss SID) One night after an Ole Miss starting pitcher tossed 8.0 scoreless innings, another Rebel followed suit Saturday afternoon. Redshirt-sophomore Brady Feigl struck out 10 in the longest outing of his career to help the baseball Rebels (10-5) shut out Furman 5-0 at Swayze Field.
Feigl (2-1) nearly matched the numbers of Ole Miss ace David Parkinson from Friday night, going 8.0 innings and allowing only three hits and one walk. The Chesterfield, Missouri, native retired 24 of the 28 batters he faced, while reaching double digits in strikeouts for the first time in his career. For the second consecutive day, Will Stokes secured the shutout by keeping the Paladins (8-6) off the scoreboard in the final inning of play.
In his second career start at first base, redshirt-sophomore Michael Fitzsimmons homered for the first time this season. His two-run home run in the second started the Ole Miss scoring. While opportunities were few and far between, the Rebels took advantage of them with five runs on three hits. Each of the first five hitters in the lineup scored a run.
Despite being held scoreless, Furman saw a solid outing from Grant Scheurmann. The left-handed starter went the distance, allowing five runs (three earned) on three hits and two walks over the 8.0 innings of work. Ole Miss made contact off him all day long, only striking out once as a team.
The Rebels jumped on board early thanks to a two-run homer by Fitzsimmons in the bottom of the second. One inning later, two more runs came across to give Ole Miss a 4-0 lead. Ryan Olenek and Tate Blackman started the scoring frame with a single and a hit by pitch, respectively. Colby Bortles nearly left the yard, but his fly ball was caught on the warning track in right-center field and allowed Olenek to advance to third. With runners on the corners, the pair of Rebels pulled off a double steal to add another run. Blackman slid safely into second, and Olenek scooted home on the throw down. With Fitzsimmons still at the plate, a sharply hit ball went right through the third baseman’s legs to bring Blackman home and double the Rebels’ advantage.
With a comfortable lead, Feigl went into cruise control. The redshirt-sophomore made quick work of the first 10 hitters he faced before Landon Kay ripped a single to left in the fourth. The blemish didn’t affect Feigl though, as he retired 12 of the next 13 Paladins.
In the top of the eighth, consecutive groundball base hits gave Furman a little life for the first time in the contest. Nonetheless, Feigl shut the door with a strikeout before a groundout to third ended the inning.
Ole Miss added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth for the game’s final five-run difference. Golsan led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a passed ball. Back-to-back flyballs, the latter a sac fly by Blackman, brought Golsan around the bases to make it 5-0. Stokes finished the job with a scoreless ninth to solidify another shutout.
With the series finale tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., the Rebels will look to claim their third weekend sweep of the season. Freshman Greer Holston will make his second career start, while the Paladins will counter with senior Matthew Quarles.