Arkansas State gave their all against Ole Miss in the midweek game, but it wasn’t enough. An early lead for the RedWolves was spoiled by a couple of crooked numbers in a row for Ole Miss. After Arkansas State clawed back into the game with an explosion of their own, Ole Miss had to keep the run scoring pressure on to grab the edge in a shootout, 15-12.
This game served as a bullpen showcase for the Rebels. 9 different arms pitched in this one as Bianco tries to solidify the pecking order in the pen and avoid any disasters similar to Game 3 of the Mississippi State series. Cody Adcock started the game, Josh Mallitz won the game, Derek Diamond is credited with the save, and plenty of others had their chance to make their mark.
Adcock went 2 innings allowing 3 hits and a walk. A solo homerun in the 1st inning was the only scoring off of him before Mallitz took over. Mallitz allowed a run in the top of the 3rd inning but is credited with the win because the Ole Miss bats came alive in the home half.
Austin Miller and Jackson Kimbrell each pitched a solid inning before Mitch Murrell’s turn came in the 6th. His 3 earned runs and 1 recorded out was almost as hard of a day as Braden Forsyth’s. Forsyth allowed 5 runs and recorded just 1 out which gave Arkansas State new life. The 8 run inning brought the RedWolves within 1 run before Cole Baker righted the ship.
Baker wasn’t spectacular, but he accomplished what was asked of him and allowed no runs in 0.2 innings of work. Tyler Myers finished off the 7th inning that Baker started and pitched the 8th as well. After earning a run in the 8th, and allowing back-to-back singles to start the 9th, Derek Diamond was called on to finish the mission.
Diamond was effective in his save. 4 batters faced; 3 outs recorded. In total, the Rebel arms faced a whopping 52 batters in this one and allowed every Arkansas State batter to reach base. In fact, all but the 1-6 Shortstop reached base at least twice.
The RedWolves trotted out 7 different pitchers, but it was not to showcase their bullpen. They wanted to pick up a statement win. The Rebel bats were just too much for a thin Arkansas State pitching staff.
Nobody on the Rebs had a multi-strikeout game while plenty of them had multi-hit games. Justin Bench (4-4, 2 RBI, 2 runs) stood out in this one as well as Ben Van Cleve (4-5, 2 RBI, 3 runs). The Rebels scored 15 runs on 18 hits but left 12 runners on. They managed to not leave the bases loaded in this one, but they did leave a runner in scoring position in 6 of the 8 innings they came to bat.
With the pecking order, hopefully, firmed up, a trip to College Station, Texas is next. The Rebels need to win this series to be on the host site short list on Monday. If they pick up a sweep, they are guaranteed to make the short list and will be the center of the national media ahead of the weekend series against Vandy next weekend. If the Rebels lose this series (or worse, get swept) it might be the final nail in the regional host coffin.