Confident Cryer

Justin Cryer went seven innings against Vanderbilt in the Rebels' 7-4 loss last Saturday morning. It was his longest outing of the season, actually his longest since high school four years ago.

Cryer entered and calmed things down after Cody Satterwhite left the game sick following another shaky start and after the normally reliable Rory McKean couldn't hold the Commodores at bay.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior righthander was projected in the preseason to be the Rebels' closer, but that role became Scott Bittle's. Cryer‘s 20th appearance of the season could easily be called his best.

Although the Rebels lost to Vandy, it was Cryer's seven-inning outing that allowed Ole Miss to have a shot in that day's first contest.

The Leesville, La., native allowed no runs on two hits with three strikeouts and no walks. As the Rebels get ready for NCAA Regional play beginning Friday against Missouri at 11 a.m., Cryer is more upbeat about himself than he's been all season.

"It was good," he said. "It was a good confidence booster for me and the team. To actually go out there and throw two, three, six, seven innings and show that I can do it and be effective throughout that period was positive."

Cryer said it hasn't been quite the season he'd anticipated, but now is the time to shine.

"I would like to have pitched more, but I've been out there in some tough situations where I needed to eat up outs," he said. "The big thing for me is to be confident whenever I go out there and make the most of my opportunities. I'm fresh and ready. I've only thrown 27 innings and seven of them were last weekend."

Postseason tournaments normally have some pitchers step up as Cryer did. The seven innings were his longest to pitch since he was a senior in high school, and that was the spring of 2004. Then came a redshirt season followed by a season of sitting out after Tommy John surgery. He pitched in 15 games last year, and this year was supposed to be his year.

There's still time and last Saturday was a start.

"Being able to throw strikes and keep the ball down allowed me to keep going back out there inning after inning," Cryer said of his lengthy stay vs. Vandy. "This is what we play for, the postseason. It's a chance for us to play better, and I believe we played our best baseball all year last weekend. We believe that will carry over into a Regional this week. I've got a lot of confidence. We've got a lot of confidence."


Chase Parham is in Miami to cover the NCAA Regional for the Ole Miss Spirit. He will report tonight from today's practice and press conference at Mark Light Stadium/Alex Rodriguez Park.

Ole Miss practiced at Florida International University Wednesday after the Rebels arrived in Miami.

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