HOOVER, Ala. — University of Mississippi baseball coach Mike Bianco said what a majority of people at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium were thinking.
“The talk after the game is how terrific Mike Mayers was, (and) I don’t know if we have another guy who can do what Mike just did,” Bianco said.
Mayers, who threw 105 pitches Thursday in a 7-1 loss at LSU, gave up just six hits and an unearned run in a 4-1victory against the University of Kentucky (30-25) on Tuesday morning in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.
The junior wasn’t concerned about being on short rest. Bianco also wasn’t worried about Mayers’ ability to recover from a long outing less than five days ago. Mayers typically is the second pitcher Ole Miss uses in its Southeastern Conference rotation on the weekends.
“I felt fine, (and) people make a big deal on short rest, (but) when you’re growing up, nobody really cares about rest,” Mayers said. “The big leaguers do it for 200-plus innings.”
Mayers (5-5) threw 100 pitches and struck out four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. He had two perfect frames and allowed only one extra-base hit. Mayers, who is projected to be taken in the top half of the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft next month, pitched off his two-seam fastball and got ahead of hitters.
“He had the whole package, and it could be as good as he’s pitched all year,” Bianco said. “He also had both his changeup and slider to mix in.”
Kentucky scored its only run, which was unearned, on a throwing error in the fourth inning.
Left-hander Jeremy Massie went 1 2/3 innings and allowed a hit and a walk before giving way to right-hander Tanner Bailey, who worked the ninth for his fourth save.
Andrew Mistone’s sacrifice fly to right field scored Austin Anderson in the first.
In the third, Anderson’s double scored Christian Helsel, who doubled off the wall in left to open the inning and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Tanner Mathis.
The Rebels scored two insurance runs in the sixth. Mistone doubled and scored on a single by Auston Bousfield. A single to right from pinch hitter Austin Knight two batters later moved Bousfield into scoring position and set up an RBI single from Will Allen.
Ole Miss (37-20) will play the University of Arkansas at 9:30 today in the first game of the double elimination round. The Rebels took two of three from the No. 3 seed Razorbacks (35-19) on March 15-17 in Fayetteville, Ark.
Alabama confident it will qualify for NCAA tournament with victory against Auburn
The fans wearing red and white let out a sigh of relief Tuesday afternoon after the final out of the University of Alabama’ 6-3 victory against Auburn University.
The Crimson Tide (33-24), who have a Ratings Percentage Index of 26, have won six of their last nine games, including a victory against No. 1 Vanderbilt University last weekend. The latest victory, which saw Alabama rally for three runs in the eighth inning, gave coach Mitch Gaspard reason to believe his team has secured a spot in the NCAA tournament.
“I feel like we’ve done enough to get in,” Gaspard said. “I felt like a win today would certainly solidify us getting in. We feel pretty comfortable about getting into a regional.”
Alabama reliever Jay Shaw tossed five shutout inning sand allowed just four hits in a 63-pitch outing.
“He’s been more of a two inning guys for us but once he got through two, I was a little concerned,” Gaspard said. “Defensively, we did a really good job turning three double plays and showed we battled hard all day.”
Auburn (33-23) will watch other conferences the rest of the week and hope for no upsets in mid-major tournaments to secure a bid to a NCAA Regional. The regional host sites for NCAA tournament regionals will be announced Sunday. The at-large selections will be announced Monday.
Alabama trailed 3-1 after three innings, but scored runs in the fourth and the sixth to tie the game. Chance Vincent’s single scored Austen Smith in the eighth with the go-ahead run.
Smith had three hits, while Ben Moore and Brett Booth each had two.