Changeup Victory

The first order of business in these type midweek games is to get a win, and Ole Miss certainly did that with an 11-5 victory over Arkansas State. But that's not all.

This is the time of year to move some players around, try some things, make some adjustments. In Tuesday night's game, Mike Bianco and staff did that.

Jeremy Travis was in right, and Logan Power was in center. Taylor Hashman led off the batting order and played left.

Tim Ferguson was at second, and Zach Miller made his first appearance as a Rebel at third.

The veteran second baseman said third wasn't so bad. He looked quite comfortable out there, too.

"I didn't know really until yesterday that I was going to start at third," said Miller, who said he'd never played third base in his life. "It's definitely different, but the goal is to catch every ground ball and get them out, regardless of whether I'm at second or short or third."

Miller, a junior in his fourth season, said there are some adjustments to make at third.

"But I've been here a while, and so I know just about every position for the most part," he said. "Coach just told me to go out there and relax. He said just make a play a let it grow on you."

It was almost that same thing for starter Drew Pomeranz, given his layoff from pitching in a live collegiate game. The sophomore lefty saw his first action of the season, pitching two innings and allowing a run on two hits with three strikeouts and two walks.

The Red Wolves got on the scoreboard in the first as Pomeranz walked in a run.

"I was rushing my delivery in the first inning," he said. "The umpire was squeezing me a little bit, but I should have attacked the zone a little harder and been more consistent. In the second inning I settled down and was dumping my curve ball in there for a strike and spotting up my fast ball and felt a lot better."

Bianco said it was good to get Pomeranz on the field.

"I'm sure he was disappointed to give up a run (in the first inning), but he struggled to get his breaking ball into the zone in the first inning. The second inning he was able to do that. His fast ball looked tremendous. He'll be ready to go this weekend."

Phillip Irwin (1-0) relieved Pomeranz and got the win, pitching four innings, allowing a run on four hits with two strikeouts.

Nathan Baker, David Goforth, and Scott Bittle also saw mound time before this one was through. Baker and Bittle were almost unhittable while Goforth struggled.

Baker went an inning, allowing no runs on one hit with two strikeouts. Goforth only got through two-thirds of an inning (three runs, four hits, one walk, one strikeout) before giving way to Bittle (1.1 IP, no runs, one hit, one strikeout).

Starter Jett Jones, the first of four ASU pitchers in the game, got the loss.

Ole Miss, which improved to 4-3 on the season, answered the ASU top of the first inning with two runs in the bottom of the first. Logan Power doubled to drive in Hashman and Matt Smith who had both walked.

After ASU got a run in the top of the third, the Rebels answered again with four in the bottom of the frame. The big blast came from Travis, who sent one into the home team bullpen with a couple of Rebels aboard to make it 6-2.

Ole Miss added a run in the fifth and four more in the sixth. A Smith two-RBI triple followed by an RBI ground out by Power gave Ole Miss an 11-2 lead after six complete.

Arkansas State, now 2-4, added three in the eighth to round out the scoring. The Red Wolves outhit the Rebels 12-9 in the contest.

"A good game, one that I thought offensively we did a terrific job, even though we didn't get as many hits as we have been," Bianco said. "But we were very efficient. Some good base-running. We were able to steal some bases. The difference was some great at-bats, a good at-bat by Power in the first to get a couple of runs across, and two tremendous at-bats by Travis."

Bianco said the Rebels still have work to do in some areas.

"We still have to play a little cleaner defense and make a few more pitches," he said.

They get that chance in three days. The Rebels host Vermont for three games this weekend. It's the last weekend series before Southeastern Conference play begins at Vanderbilt next weekend.

Gametimes against the Catamounts are Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 1:30 p.m., and Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

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