Mike Bianco’s game plan coming into last night seemed to be “Don’t change anything from Thursday”. For the second consecutive night, a Rebel pitcher had a no-hitter in the 5th inning. The offense reached base more times than Vanderbilt did once again. The problem is, they stranded 12 and were 1-10 with RISP. Can we really win a game when Alex Yarbrough, Matt Snyder, and Will Allen combine to go 1-14? No, we can’t. Let’s look to today’s game as Mike Bianco has his emergency stopper on the hill today.
RJ Hively will be making his final regular season appearance in a Rebel uniform today. The senior is 5-4 with a 2.64 ERA and is fresh off the Eckersley sweep (a win and a save in a series). Out of the three weekend starters, he has the best control and the most strikeouts per inning. He needs to send them down in quick order and limit the middle of the ‘Dores order. The 3-4-5 spots for Vandy went 7-11 yesterday, compared to the 1-14 that our 3-4-5 put up. Hively been up for the task in the past so today should be no different.
Kevin Ziomek will go for Vanderbilt today as they look to give Ole Miss their first sweep of the year. The lefty from Massachusetts is 3-6 with a 5.02 ERA this season. While possessing a high 80’s fastball, Ziomek relies on a sharp late 70’s slider and a slow 12-6 curveball. He can tend to leave his slider a little flat up in the zone, something that has killed him this year. Ziomek has given up 63 hits in 66.1 innings including 9 doubles and 5 home runs. With that being said, that does not mean that he gets it over the plate very regularly. The sophomore has walked 32 and hit 12, a loss of control that is new to him. The Commodore bullpen has pitched just 2.2 innings, something that needs to go up drastically today. We have to get some early runs against Ziomek today and chase him before the 6th. The Rebels just need to figure out where the big hits are going to come from today.
Vanderbilt had lost 8 of its 9 series openers coming in, and they won. Ole Miss had won the last 5 games that Mayers started, and we lost. Something has got to give today, and your guess is as good as mine to what it is. Timely hits and good defense will win or lose this game for Ole Miss as those two things buried us yesterday. The Rebels are in 9th place in the SEC currently, a place as unenviable as can be. Let’s dig ourselves out of it in Game 3, first pitch is set for 2:00 at Hawkins Field.