Miller, Cryer contribute to weekend wins

It didn't take Zach Miller long to recall the last time he hit two home runs in a game.

"Never," said the 5-foot-7, 175-pounder redshirt freshman from Houston High near Memphis.

He has now. Starting at second base Friday night in the Rebels' 13-inning 9-8 win over Georgia, Miller sent two over the right field wall.

The next game he played was Sunday. The Rebels won again, this time 9-0 to take two of three games from the Bulldogs. Miller, starting at second again, was 2-for-3 with an RBI.

When Justin Henry is in left field, Miller and Evan Button have been the second basemen, depending on the opposing pitcher. If it's a lefty, we've seen Miller, who bats right; a righty and it's been Button, who bats left.

Miller is one of those kids whose demeanor doesn't change much at the ballpark, whether it's practice time or game day. He's always got a focused look and outlook, and he's able to bring that to the plate. A 4-for-5 weekend in the SEC proves he's got what it takes.

But he brought that reputation with him from high school. He helped Houston to a state title in 2005 as a senior and was an all-state pick. He redshirted at Ole Miss last year and in the summer had a solid season for the Thomasville (N.C.) team in the Coastal Plain League.

Thomasville won the league championship, and Miller played in 45 games with 35 starts. He had nine doubles last summer. He had two home runs all summer.

Friday night he had that same number in just two at-bats.

The Rebels had 12 hits on Sunday, but surprisingly they were all singles. With nine runs it was an efficient day for the Rebel offense, even with 13 runners left on base.

"We just tried to make contact," Miller said. "If we keep doing that, we'll hit balls in the gap and get extra base hits. It just didn't go that way for us today."


Rebel reliever Justin Cryer came in on Sunday in relief of Nathan Baker and did a solid job. After starter Baker gave up a walk and a hit to start the Bulldog seventh, Cryer entered and pitched the rest of the seventh and all the eighth, giving way to Cody Satterwhite to close out the contest.

Sunday shutouts are rare in SEC play. The trio of Baker, Cryer, and Satterwhite was as effective a one-two-three punch as you'll see in a Sunday situation in this league.

"Being a part of middle relief, you're going to face some situations and come in when it's kind of a jam," said Cryer, who actually walked the first batter he faced to load things up with no outs and his team leading 5-0. "The first guy (Georgia DH Matt Robbins) kept battling and battling, and I ended up walking him. The baseball gods then helped me out with a pop up, and then Cozart was just too good on that double play. That got me and Baker out of a jam at that point."

And their team, too. Cryer gave up nothing in the eighth before Satterwhite came in to do his thing in the ninth.

"Baker stepped in and did well," Cryer said. "He was outstanding. You couldn't ask for more from a freshman. Then I felt good coming in and throwing strikes. I think that's why the coaches like me, to come in and fill it up and do what they ask me to do. Throw strikes and let the defense work."

"We haven't pitched well on Sundays," Bianco said after the shutout. "Three Sundays in a row in SEC play we struggled on the mound. Today was much more of what you like to see."

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