Drew's Back

STARKVILLE – Sometime in the second inning Friday night, Drew Pomeranz became himself again. At that point, Ole Miss, eventual winners in the opener 4-2 over Mississippi State, were headed to victory.

Pomeranz went 6.1 innings of one-run, five-hit baseball with 11 strikeouts and just one walk. Last weekend he walked nine LSU Tigers in three-plus innings.

"The first inning I felt like I did against LSU," said the junior lefty. "In the second inning it clicked, and I figured out what I was doing. I felt so much better."

So what was Pomeranz doing?

"I was just doing something with the ball in my glove (before he threw each pitch). It was throwing my rhythm off just a hair. I wasn't keeping the ball in my glove (right before he delivered a pitch), which was causing my arm to drag just a bit. Once I kept everything still, it made everything click back into rhythm. I knew it was something stupid like that. I laughed at myself about it."

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said it was good to see the old Drew back.

"Pomeranz was tremendous, and around the second inning he kinda found his rhythm," he said. "You could just tell. It just hits another gear for him. That was him out there. He took control of the game."

The Rebels improved to 31-13 on the season and 12-7 in Southeastern Conference play. Mississippi State is now 20-21 and 5-14.

In that top of the first, Tim Ferguson walked followed by back to back singles from Kevin Mort and Matt Smith to load them. But Matt Snyder struck out, Zach Miller popped up, and Alex Yarbrough grounded out, and the Bulldogs dodged a huge early bullet.

State then got a run in the bottom of the first off Pomeranz as leadoff batter Nick Vickerson singled Luke Adkins singled to put runners at the corners. Even though Connor Powers hit into a double play, Vickerson scored from third.

The Bulldogs threatened to get more at that point but didn't. Russ Sneed walked and Cody Freeman singled. But Pomeranz got Jet Butler to strike out, and the home team led 1-0 after one.

A rain delay of an hour and five minutes interrupted the proceedings with MSU still up 1-0 after the top of the third.

Pomeranz said he was heading back out there, "even if we didn't start back up until tomorrow."

A two-out solo home run just fair inside the left field foul pole by Taylor Hashman tied the game in the top of the fourth.

"The wind was blowing and I thought it might hit the pole," Hashman said. "But it snuck in there."

That's the way things stood for a while in this one.

In the top of the eighth the Rebels finally got some runs, scoring three as State pitching and defense struggled. Hashman, the first batter faced by State's first reliever of the night, Caleb Reed, walked in a run as the bases were loaded on his at-bat.

Matt Snyder had walked, Zach Miller reached on an error by the MSU shortstop, and Alex Yarbrough reached on a successful bunt when Bulldog starting pitcher Tyler Whitney field the ball but threw over his first baseman's head to load them up before departing.

After Hashman's walk, MSU changed pitchers again, this time going with Chad Girodo. Taylor Hightower popped up to the MSU first baseman, then Miles Hamblin swung big but bounced one down the third base line that nobody could get. Miller scored on the play to make it 3-1.

With the bases loaded , Ferguson flew out to left which scored Yarbrough from third to make it 4-1. Mort then fly out to end the inning.

After Luke Adkins walked to start the bottom of the eighth, Brett Huber relieved Tracy for the Rebs. Connor Powers flew out to center field. Sneed struck out. Freeman hit a ball to deep left, but the ball hit the glove of Hashman at the wall and was ruled a hit, which scored Adkins to make it 4-2.

Butler then walked to put Bulldogs on first and second. Huber then got pinch hitter Ryan Collins to strike out looking.

After the Rebs failed to score in the top of the ninth, Huber gave up a single and then got three Bulldogs to strikeout to end it.

Tomorrow's game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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