Poised Pomeranz Produces

Eli Manning and Patrick Willis, both veterans of college and pro sports, may have wowed the crowd with their ceremonial first pitches, but Rebel true freshman Drew Pomeranz took over after that and gave them an even more impressive show.

Ole Miss beat LSU 7-1 in game two of their three-game series, and the Rebel left-hander was all but unhittable on this day. Through seven innings the Tigers had just two hits and had scored no runs, An inning later when he was done, Pomeranz's line read one run on four hits with five strikeouts and three walks.

By then, the Rebel offense had put seven runs on the board, and closer Justin Cryer simply came in and finished the game three up, three down as Ole Miss (24-11 overall, 9-5 SEC) took the series. The Rebels won game one 2-1 on Friday night.

The pitching performance was similar to the one that Lance Lynn had provided the night before when he two-hit the Tigers (21-13, 5-9) through eight innings before giving way to reliever Scott Bittle.

Pomeranz's performance on Saturday was made even more dramatic in that it came in front of the second largest crowd in Oxford-University Stadium history – 9,412.

The always low-key left-hander was exactly that after what was a headlining day in his young career.

"I just went out there and tried to hit my spots, and tried not to do too much with my pitches," said Pomeranz, 3-1 on the season and in a weekend starting role for only the third Saturday in a row. "I settled down some after those first couple of innings. I was just trying to keep it down and do my best out there."

The Rebels, leading 1-0 after a Logan Power triple scored Fuller Smith who had doubled, got out of a sscond-inning jam. With the bases loaded and two outs, LSU lead-off hitter Ryan Schimpf popped a ball up that drifted into foul territory past third base and was held in play by a strong crosswind. Rebel shortstop Sean Stuyverson moved all the way over into foul territory to make a terrific catch and hold the Tigers at bay.

The Rebel offense then tacked on two more runs on the bottom of the second. After Jeremy Travis reached second following a throwing error on Tiger shortstop D. J. LeMahieu, Zach Miller got to first base on a wind-aided popup that nobody could catch in the infield. Stuyverson sac bunted the two to second and third. Brent Basham then squeezed Travis home for a 2-0 UM lead. Fuller Smith singled up the middle to score Miller to make it 3-0.

The Rebels completed their damage of the Tigers in the sixth, putting up four more runs. Miller doubled in Travis who had singled for a 4-0 advantage. After Stuyverson walked, Basham sac bunted Stuyverson and Miller to second and third respectively. Fuller Smith was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Tiger starter Blake Martin was replaced with reliever Louis Coleman.

Power then singled to score Miller and Stuyverson. Cody Overbeck got a base hit which scored Fuller Smith. Ole Miss led 7-0, and the Tigers were basically done on this day.

The lone LSU run came in the eighth. Micah Gibbs, with a lead-off double, scored by moving to third on a Chris McGhee ground out and came home on a Michael Hollander ground out.

The Rebels outhit the Tigers 9-4.

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said Pomeranz continues to impress and pitch effectively.

"He really handled it well, and he's pitched well three weekends in a row," Bianco said. "The Alabama game (two weeks ago) was probably the most difficult conditions where he pitched through two rain delays and then came back on Sunday to pitch the suspended game. Then last weekend (against Vanderbilt) he was phenomenal as SEC Freshman of the Week. And then to hold LSU to one run through eight innings was another great feat for him."

And on a day filled with emotion, Pomeranz, as usual, kept his in check.

"I pretty much keep it inside," he said. "I don't show that much emotion."

Bianco said however he handles it, Pomeranz is effective.

"He's got the talent," Bianco said, "and to pitch in this atmosphere with more than 9,000 people and a lot riding on the game, it just shows you not only does he have the talent but also the mentality and composure to handle it."

Bianco said Pomeranz had pitched well even before becoming a weekend starter.

"He's always wanted the ball," Bianco said. "The joke around the coaching staff is that he would stand next to (assistant coach Carl) Lafferty (in the bullpen) and say ‘I'm ready to go in' anytime it got close. So when you have a freshman doing that and wanting the ball, then he is ready."

Game three Sunday is set for 1:30 p.m. Ole Miss will send junior RHP Cody Satterwhite (3-1, 4.38) to the mound, while LSU will start senior RHP Jared Bradford (6-3, 3.91).


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