Guessing In The Gables

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Following five home runs in the SEC Tournament, Michael Guerrero felt he was just beginning to get off his best swings. Less than a week later, Guerrero joined the rest of his teammates in trying to explain what happened Friday against No. 2 seed Missouri.

The Tigers' Aaron Crow bewildered three-seed Ole Miss by consistently throwing three pitches for strikes and complicated Guerrero's day by striking out the junior on three occasions. The Rebels' best opportunity to scratch back into the game came in the sixth inning when Guerrero strode to the plate with two runners on.

After swinging at two pitches breaking out of the zone, the Nesbit native stood frozen at a fastball that tailed back and hit the inside corner. At-bat over, opportunity lost.

"The guy kept you guessing," said Guerrero, who was hitless. "He's a good pitcher. He was throwing every pitch for a strike. There wasn't much we did today that was successful."

"I agree with Michael," shortstop Tim Ferguson said. "He (Crow) threw a slider a lot when we expected fastball first pitch. I would chase it, and then he would back door a slider. All the pitches were working."

Lynn Battled With Blister

Lance Lynn isn't one to use excuses, but trainer Tony Barnett accompanied Mike Bianco to the mound during the seventh inning, thus revealing that something may have been affecting the junior Friday.

The right-hander hung in and fought, but the first inning foreshadowed that Ole Miss was in for an up-hill afternoon. Lynn developed a blister on two of his fingers and struggled with feel on his breaking pitches.

That was evident in the opening frame when Lynn hit two batters with misguided curve balls and walked another.

"I couldn't locate anything early," Lynn said.

Then in the seventh, the blister worsened and forced Bianco to make a change.

"It finally popped in the seventh inning," Lynn said. "I couldn't even grip a baseball anymore. You can feel it. It was on both fingertips. One of those things that you have to fight through."

Lynn now has 110 strikeouts this season, eight behind Scott Bittle and 17 fewer than Missouri's Crow.

Pomeranz Gets Nod in Must Win

Ole Miss will lean on freshman Drew Pomeranz Saturday in an elimination game at 12 p.m. (ET).

The southpaw is 4-3 with a 4.30 ERA this season. Pomeranz last pitched seven days ago against Kentucky in the SEC Tournament, where he received a no-decision.

If the Rebels win, they play Sunday at the same time. Another win, and Ole Miss would need to defeat the other remaining team twice – once Sunday and again in an ‘if necessary' game Monday night.

"We've had our backs to the wall all year, so I guess we're going to come out tomorrow and have to play better baseball than today," Guerrero said.

Ole Miss last faced elimination in a regional during 2004, when three-seed Washington knocked out the host Rebels, 7-2.

Fire Away

Missouri's Ryan Lollis swiped a bag early in Friday's game, but that would be the only successful steal for the Tigers. The Rebels' Brett Basham regrouped and gunned down Jacob Priday and Andrew Thigpen later in the game.

The two Missouri baserunners were the 25th and 26th occasions where Basham has thrown out an opposing runner attempting to steal this season. The 26 throw outs are tops in the SEC and the most by a catcher under Mike Bianco.

Basham has started all 62 games in 2008, throwing out close to 30 percent or runners trying to steal and allowing only six passed balls. The junior has also picked off three runners.

Shea Robin is second in the SEC with 17 runners thrown out, however, the Vanderbilt catcher has had less than half as many chances as Basham. Robin and Basham have the same number of passed ball, but the ‘Dores' backstop has played 10 fewer games.

OM Spirit Top Stories