Miller makes the most of his five innings

Zach Miller returned to the lineup from nearly a two-week hiatus due to a hamstring injury and efficiently performed without any fear of tweaking the muscle. In fact, trotting was all the freshman was forced to do.

Miller batted twice in his five innings of work and each time drilled a pitch over the right-field wall for a home run. His final line of two hits, two runs and three RBI was a major factor in the Rebels 9-8 13-inning victory over Georgia.

The second-baseman had been on the bench for nearly two hours when Logan Power knocked in Zack Cozart with the winning run at 10:30 p.m., but Miller could easily still be considered the MVP of the night's event.

"It's crazy," Miller said. "It was exciting, but it feels really good to come out here and help us get a big Friday night win. I got a couple good pitches to handle and made the most of it. Definitely a fun night."

Miller admits it was the first time he has ever hit two home runs in a game, and the back-to-back long balls couldn't have come at a better time. The first was a two-run shot that extended the Ole Miss lead to 4-0.

The 364-foot line shot cleared the wall as Miller gave a fist pump as he rounded first. For an encore, a solo shot headed over the same part of the wall but traveled 19 feet farther. That capped the Rebels' largest lead at 6-0 before Georgia began scrapping back.

"I hadn't played in about two weeks because of my hamstring, but it feels fine now," Miller said. "It was cold weather so I had to stay loose, but I am good to go. I stretched a lot, and I was able to give the team a spark. That is what is awesome about the night. Just glad to be back."

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco acknowledged Miller's nice night and also explained the logic behind pulling the right-hander for pinch hitter Fuller Smith in the sixth inning.

"Zach did a great job of hitting the ball the other way and hit it well," Bianco said. "That is part of it. (And on Smith) Fuller has really been swinging the bat well and when they brought the righty in and especially with the way the wind was blowing out to right. Fuller is a great defensive player, and I just thought it was the right move."


Relievers have to rely on short memories, and that is exactly what Scott Bittle exhibited on Friday night.

The embattled closer has been effective the last few outings and did not let a single bad pitch define his outing against Georgia. Bittle's second toss of the night was poorly located and ended up in the area behind the outfield, giving UGA its first lead, but that would be all the Bulldogs would get off the sophomore.

Bittle sat down the next 11 straight and struck out five during 3.2 innings of work. He kept Georgia at bay and allowed the Rebels to hang in during a portion of the night where the offense struggled.

"Bittle gives up the home run, but boy does he show some guts," Bianco said. "He comes back after the things that have happened to him this year, he battled and struck out five. He was dominant after that (the home run) and stopped their momentum. That was such a major part of the game."

The reliever seems to have the same confidence now that was evident during the nonconference portion of the schedule when he obliterated offenses and picked up seven saves in the process. The bullpen is stable or even dominant thanks to a confident Bittle and healthy arms in Cody Satterwhite and Justin Cryer.

"It was a good night other than that one pitch," Bittle said. "It hurt, but you just have to forget about it and move on. By the next batter, the home run was over so thinking about it won't help you out with the next guy. I was able to rebound and not give anything else up."

OM Spirit Top Stories