Drew Pomeranz is normally very good and will be most of the time. He's that talented. But Friday night, coupled with a hard-to-get-to ball for Kevin Mort, which was a first-inning error, Pomeranz struggled in the first two innings.
It looked like some other games for the Rebels with different pitchers. Brett Bukvich vs. Alabama on a Sunday, Chris Corrigan vs. Mercer on a Saturday, Aaron Barrett vs. Vanderbilt on a Sunday. Games that the starter just wasn't able to get the other team out early, and the Rebels lost all the above.
But this Ole Miss team has been more than resilient and has normally bounced back from such games. I expect Phillip Irwin to be good again and for the Rebels to likely win today. They need to if they want to keep pace in the race for the Southeastern Conference.
Based on the other top teams in the league, Ole Miss still has a chance to win the conference title. Winning today and again tomorrow are keys.
That would be the halfway point of the league race, and Ole Miss would be in the thick of it at 10-5. But today is the focus, and winning this one is on the front burner.
We saw more of the same Friday night that we've seen all year, a team that won't quit even when it will take all they have to get back in it. Down 9-2 in the second, this team seems to understand that there are plenty of outs and at-bats to work their way back to a strong finish.
Evan Button even mentioned last night, after the Rebs ultimately lost 12-10, that he and other players had talked about how some of the fans left the stadium in that game and in another Friday night game three weeks ago when they roared back to beat Alabama.
"It shows a lot about our team," said Button concerning the comeback against the Gamecocks. "You don't ever want to leave the park, because you never know what's going to happen. Me and (Kevin) Mort were talking about it. Everybody was starting to leave and they did that against Alabama and we came back and won. We always think we're going to come back. That's why we always stay in the games."
And lately have won most of them. Over the last 10 games, the Rebels at 8-2 have the best record of all SEC teams in all games. The Rebels are two games back of Arkansas (10-3), which lost to Vanderbilt Friday night, in the SEC West and a game behind LSU (9-4), which beat Alabama in game one of that series. Georgia, leading the SEC East at 8-4, is playing two games at Kentucky today after a rainout last night.
Friday night needs to be a blip on the radar screen for the Rebels and not the beginning of a trend if an SEC title that last weekend at Arkansas in mid-May is still within reach.
"Our offense hung in there and made it a ballgame," Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco said. "(Rory) McKean did great and (David) Goforth did at the end to give us a chance. But it was just a little too much for us to overcome."
The good thing about baseball is they get another shot at a good start and a win this afternoon. At 24-9 and 8-5, getting back into the victory column immediately after the eight-game win streak was snapped Friday night is the goal.
Another Chance To Win
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