The whole world played witness to our mediocrity last night. Well, those who get ESPNU. Technically those who get ESPNU and were not watching the Miami Heat’s dismantling or any of the plethora of Thursday prime time gold. For Mike Bianco’s sake, let’s hope that not too many people actually saw that game. Regardless today is a new day and one that can see the Rebels make a push for the 5 seed.
On the hill for Vanderbilt will be Sam Selman. The 6’3 junior is 8-3 with a 4.03 earned run average in 13 appearances. Do not by a prisoner of the stats as he is a promising pro prospect. With a mid-90s fastball, a hard slider, and a changeup that drops off the table, he can be lethal. Despite how volatile his stuff is, where the ball ends up tends to fluctuate from time to time. Sometimes it is too over the plate (52 hits), sometimes it is in the dirt (32 walks), and sometimes it is being thrown around the horn (65 strikeouts). You have to think that Cliff Godwin is going to have a talk with his hitters today about being more patient and extending counts. Selman goes as hard as he can for 5 or 6 innings and the Rebels need to shorten that.
Mike Mayers is on the hill today and is crucial to tying the series. A 4.04 ERA and a 4-2 record don’t do Mayers justice either. Ole Miss has won the last 5 times he has started and when he teams up with Hively, they are a nightmare for the opposition. Like Wahl, Mayers is susceptible to walking the yard if he wants to. He has also had a tendency to give up the long ball, something he does not need to fret about with this Vanderbilt team. If he can keep the ball over the plate and give his team 5 or 6 good innings of work, then the Rebel chances improve mightily.
I hope that my hesitance to give a prediction is excusable as it has not come to the fruition that I’d like this week. This game’s importance cannot be understated and let’s hope that sense of urgency resonates within the ball club. Game time is set for 6:30 tonight in Nashville, Tennessee.