Grinding It Out

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Drew Pomeranz didn't give up a hit until Ross Wilson's first-pitch single to left to lead off the fifth inning. When that inning was done, so was the Rebel ace in this one.

But the junior left-hander got a little help from his friends as first Matt Crouse and then Eric Callender and Brett Huber were able to take the Rebels the rest of the way in a 5-4 victory.

"Last week my pec was bothering me, but this week it felt great," said Pomeranz, who walked seven in the game with nine strikeouts and a hit batter. "I was just so ready to get out there and just get after them, I think I was rushing to the plate a little bit. I think you could see when I lost it at times I wasn't pausing. I wasn't picking up my leg. I was just falling toward the plate. That's been a problem for me this year. Once I figure it back out, that's when I pick my leg up and gather myself and get everything to the plate."

Pomeranz said he had absolutely no pain of any kind on this night.

Ole Miss improved to 36-15 on the season and 16-9 in SEC play. Alabama fell to 29-21 and 10-15.

The Rebels outhit Alabama 10-5 and Pomeranz only allowed one hit during his time.

Drew Pomeranz

"Pretty good game for us on Friday night," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "Obviously Drew wasn't sharp, but his velocity was back up. One of those nights where it was tough for him to find his rhythm. The ball was exploding out of his hand. You can see why he's such a high prospect. Even with all the walks, they could only manage one run and one hit in five innings. There were a couple of times it looked like he was going to find it and get in rhythm. But his pitch count got up, and we asked him to give us just one more in the fifth.

"I thought Crouse did a good job and filled up the strike zone. Same with Callender. Of course Huber at the end handled the pressure. He's been so terrific at the end of games."

Ole Miss got two runs in the first, jumping on Alabama left-handed starter Adam Morgan. Tim Ferguson doubled to drive in Kevin Mort who had walked. A Zach Miller fly ball to left got Matt Smith home after the Rebel right fielder had reached on a single and moved to third on Ferguson's double.

Ole Miss added three more runs in the third while chasing Morgan in the process. Smith led off with a double to the left-center gap. Ferguson sent one deep and into the parking lot beyond the left field fence to make it 4-0. That sent Morgan to the showers, and the Crimson Tide brought in righty Jason Townsend.

Zach Miller welcomed him to the contest with a double to the left corner. After Alex Yarbrough reached on a fielder's choice and the first out, Taylor Hightower singled and Mike Snyder walked to load the bases. Miles Hamblin flew out to center field to get Yarbrough in from third.

Things stayed that way until Alabama got a run in the bottom of the fourth. But the Tide still didn't have a hit. Their run was a bases-loaded walk to Taylor Dugas.

The Tide got three runs in the seventh, and a relay from Smith to Mort at third base ended the inning as Cody Trotter tried to stretch one into a triple.

Alex Yarbrough

A couple of late and uncharacteristic errors by second baseman Yarbrough left the door open.

But a line out to Yarbrough to end the eighth, and a ground out to him to end the game lifted his confidence for Saturday and helped his team to victory in this one.

"Lot of weight on my shoulders," said a smiling Yarbrough after this one. "You've gotta get back to the basics. I just told myself to relax, work through it, keep my feet moving, stay down and work up. And it worked out.

"We were able to grind this one out," Yarbrough continued.

Huber, with his tenth save of the year, went the last two innings, facing seven batters, striking out three with no hits or walks.

Morgan (5-4), the first of four Alabama pitchers used, got the loss.

Game two of this series is at 3 p.m. Saturday and will be shown live on ESPN2.

Right-hander Jimmy Nelson (5-2, 4.59 ERA) is on the mound for the Tide. Right-hander Aaron Barrett (7-2, 3.14 ERA) is the starter for the Rebels.

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