Ole Miss hammers Vanderbilt for spot in semis of SEC baseball tourney
Thursday night in Hoover, Alabama, No. 10 Ole Miss defeated No. 6 Vanderbilt, 12-9, to improve to 3-0 in the SEC Baseball Tournament and 43-16 on the season.
The Rebels advance to Saturday’s semifinals and will play No. 1 Texas A&M, a 13-3 winner over Vanderbilt Friday.
Ole Miss got off to a quick start against the Commodores, scoring 10 runs in their first six trips to the plate—including four runs in both the 2nd and 4th inning.
The middle of the order–consisting of J.B. Woodman, Henri Lartigue and Colby Bortles–is now a combined 17-for-35 (.486) with 14 runs, 18 RBI, seven doubles, one triple and two home runs in the SEC tournament.
Freshman pitcher James McArthur had a quality start for Ole Miss, going 5 1/3 innings and allowing just two earned runs. The 6-foot-7 right-handed pitcher, who worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the 2nd inning, improves to 6-1 on the season.
McArthur commented afterwards that he was able to get ahead in pitch counts and was able to attack the strike zone. “The message was the scouting report,” he said. “We just had to go after these guys and try to get ahead. The bats were going and when you have a lead like that it’s easy to go out there and really attack the zone.”
Connor Green, Andy Pagnozzzi, Brady Feigl and Wyatt Short all saw action out of the bullpen with Short recording the final out in a non-save opportunity.
Rebel centerfield and slugger J.B. Woodman continued his offensive onslaught with an SEC-leading 14th home run of the season. It was his ninth homer in his last 16 games.
Ole Miss catcher Henri Lartigue continued his offensive tear going 3-for-5 with an RBI and scoring three runs. It was his second consecutive three-hit game; he has 12 games with at least three hits, which is a team high.
Defensive highlights included a wall-banging catch by right fielder Kyle Watson and stellar defensive performances by center fielder J.B. Woodman and shortstop Errol Robinson.
After the win, Ole Miss Head Coach Mike Bianco remarked about the Rebel offense and defense. “I think they are seeing the ball well and swinging the bat with a lot of confidence. It’s not just a few guys; it’s a lot of different people. Today, I thought the whole game was about the timely hit. We got guys on and were able to score. Fortunately, we were able to get off the field with their players still on base. We were able to make a pitch and not let the whole ballgame blow up on us.”
The Rebels return to action Saturday, May 28 at 12 noon and hope to secure a National Seed in the NCAA Baseball Tournament. A National Seed would allow Ole Miss to host games at Oxford-University Stadium/Tom Swazye Field throughout the first two rounds of the tournament.