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2012 SEC Baseball Tournament
Game 5- Ole Miss 2, Arkansas 0
Hoover, Ala. - Junior right-hander Brett Huber tied the career saves record at Ole Miss, combining with sophomore Mike Mayers to shutout the Razorbacks on Wednesday as Ole Miss (35-23) defeated No. 25 Arkansas (39-19) by a score of 2-0 at the SEC Tournament.
With the win, Ole Miss staved off elimination and will play again at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday against either No. 21 Mississippi State or No. 2 LSU.
Mayers (5-3) picked up the win with 7.0 innings of work against Arkansas, striking out eight and walking one while scattering five hits across his time on the mound. The right-hander has now pitched 13.1 scoreless innings against Arkansas and also picked up a 1-0 win over the Razorbacks in the regular season series.
Huber picked up his 10th save of the season and 26th of his career to tie the school’s all-time save record, matching the total put up by three-time All-American Stephen Head from 2003-06. Huber worked the final 2.0 innings of the game with a hit and three strikeouts.
“We played terrific today in a real grind-it-out game,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “Mike (Mayers) was tremendous for us and then Huber just shut the door on them the final two innings. It’s been a tough 10 days. We’re glad to win one.”
Ole Miss got on the board in the fourth inning when Zach Kirksey scored from third on a groundout to second from Sikes Orvis. Kirksey opened the inning with a triple off the wall in right center to set up the scoring play two batters later.
The Rebels added a second run in the seventh inning when Kirksey came up with a bases-loaded sac fly to center field to score Tanner Mathis. Mathis started the inning with an infield single – his 22nd of the yea – before a single to left center from Alex Yarbrough put two men on. Matt Snyder then singled to right to load the bases for Kirksey, who made it 2-0 with his sac fly.
The Rebel pitching staff did not allow a batter to advance past second base in the game, and allowed only two base runners to advance past first base, holding the Razorback offense in check to allow Ole Miss the opportunity to claim the win.
It was the ninth shutout win of the season for Ole Miss and third against an SEC team.
2012 SEC Baseball Tournament
Regions Park • Hoover, Ala.
Game 5 • Wednesday, May 23
(9) Ole Miss 2, (6) Arkansas 0
• Ole Miss took a 3-2 SEC Tournament Series lead over Arkansas with their win today.
• Arkansas is eliminated from the SEC Tournament with a record of 39-19 and await their destination for the NCAA Regionals.
• The Rebels also took a step towards the All-Time Series mark as the Razorbacks still lead the series 38-32.
• Ole Miss improves to 35-23 on the season as they await the loser of Mississippi State/LSU tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.
• The Rebels’ win snaps a five-game losing streak.
• Junior 2B Alex Yarbrough of Ole Miss picked up his 87th hit of the year in the first inning, his 88th hit in the fifth inning, and his 89th in the eighth inning. He is currently second in the SEC, only behind Raph Rhymes of LSU. It was also his 27th multi-hit game of the season to lead the team and his 12th game with three hits or more.
• Senior 2B Bo Bigham of Arkansas singled to right center in the second inning to extend his hitting streak to nine games.
• Senior OF Zach Kirksey of Ole Miss connected with his first triple of the season to lead off the fourth inning. It was Kirksey’s second career triple for the Rebels. Kirksey later drove in his 47th RBI on a sacrifice fly to move him into a tie for 7th on the conference leaderboard with LSU’s Mason Katz.
• Arkansas came into the SEC Tournament ranked third in the conference with 69 errors committed. The Razorbacks’ struggles continued in the field as they committed two more errors to bring their SEC Tournament Total to four.
• Senior SS Tim Carver of Arkansas singled in the top of the fifth inning to improve his hitting streak to nine games.
• Freshman OF Brian Anderson of Arkansas connected with his second single of the game in the sixth inning to pick up his seventh multi-hit game.
• Arkansas picked up one hit in five consecutive innings from the second inning through the sixth inning, but could not bring any of those runners around to score.
• Ole Miss sophomore P Mike Mayers pitched seven complete innings, tying his career high in strikeouts with eight while giving up no runs on five hits. Mayers picked up his last win vs. Arkansas on April 21st, throwing 6.1 innings while only giving up two hits, striking out four, and walking two.
• Junior OF Tanner Mathis of Ole Miss improved his hitting streak to six games with an infield single in the seventh inning.
• Senior 1B Matt Snyder’s single in the seventh inning gave him his fifth hit in only two games at the SEC Tournament. All five hits were singles; that total currently leads the tournament.
• Arkansas’ Matt Reynolds’ had his streak of 40 games reaching base safely end after going 0-for-4.
• Junior RP Brett Huber came on in the eighth and picked up his 10th save of the season, while only give up one run in two innings pitched and striking out three.
• The Razorback offense struggled to bring runs home as they only scored one run despite 13 total hits in the SEC Tournament. Arkansas left a total of 17 runners on base in two games.
Ole Miss Head Coach Mike Bianco
“I thought that we played terrific today. It has been a rough 10 days for us. I thought that the kids played outstanding today. One of those grind-it-out games. The story today is Mike Mayers, he did a tremendous job. Brett Huber came in and finished it off for us, and tied the all-time saves record. [Zach] Kirksey had a couple great at-bats. I am proud of the way the guys have hung in there because it has been a rough 10 days. I am proud to finally win one.”
On Mike Mayers’ performance this year…
“He has been terrific, pitching mostly in the two spot. It is hard for me to think of games when he just had a bad day. Usually when you think about aces, such as Bobby Wall and guys we have had here, there are not many guys that run out there and get deep into the game and give you a shot to win. That is what Mike has done. Even beyond that, in games like this, he has had games where he just absolutely shut them down. He pitched terrific last weekend. When I look down at his record it is shocking he only has five wins. When you look at his numbers, week in and week out for 14 and 15 weeks, it is amazing. He does not get as much credit as he should.
Alex Yarbrough (Jr., Second baseman)
On the relief from finding their way onto the scoreboard…
“It felt really good, especially because we could put pressure on them in the first inning. If it went five feet left or right we could have had two or three runs with the speed on the bases. It was a good start. We have been struggling to get chances, and when we get chances we have not been able to get them in. Today we had more chances. We still only ended up with two runs, but we felt a lot better offensively. ”
Mike Mayers (Soph., P)
On Arkansas’ offense…
“They have a great lineup. I felt great and made sure I filled up the zone and attacked the hitters.”
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn
“It was really a well-pitched game, both teams. I thought DJ (Baxendale) threw extremely well. I thought (Mike) Mayers was outstanding. We didn’t score on him in the regular season either. He shut us out 1-0. I think when he went out of the game, that’s what the score was. DJ gave up, I guess, one earned run, but realistically, that ball should’ve been caught. The center fielder drifted. The ball was hit well. It got up in the wind and kind of back spun and kept going and ended up being a leadoff triple, but it’s a ball that I think should be caught most every time. Hats off to DJ. He got out of a bases loaded jam with one out and gave us some momentum back in the dugout. Mayers came out and just got after us, then Huber came in and finished it off in the eighth and ninth. They did a great job.”
On if he was surprised that the team struggled in the tournament…
“Yeah I thought we’d play better, swing better. Yesterday’s game was, I don’t know. It just wasn’t a good game for us. We just didn’t swing the bat, and then today, we kind of just picked up right where we left off, and I think there’s some older guys who have to get it going a little bit. You can’t depend all on some of these younger guys there in the lineup. (Brian) Anderson had a good day, had a couple of hits, but other than that, it’s very disappointing. I thought we’d play a little better.”
On the most concerning thing going into the NCAA Tournament…
“Obviously we have to score runs. You get into a regional, and you have to score some runs. A lot of times it’s about matchups and different things. How do you match up against other teams? The pitching was OK. (Ryne) Stanek was rusty. I thought DJ was real good. Suggs had good stuff. He was a little wild. We didn’t get to see a lot of other guys. We had a few other guys down there ready to go. We have to get it going offensively heading into that regional.”
DJ Baxendale (Jr., Pitcher)
On the frustration of waiting for an NCAA bid…
“It’s frustrating. We came in looking ready to play, and we just didn’t get it done as a team. Now we go home, and we get to practice for about a week and wherever we go, we’ll go. We’ll just try to get it done there.”
Bo Bigham (Sr., Second base)
On what Mayers did to limit Arkansas’ offensive production…
“He just mixes his pitches really well. You can’t sit on anything. He throws all of his pitches for strikes. He just keeps the hitters guessing, and that’s just been tough on us.”
On struggling in the tournament…
“We just weren’t putting very good swings on balls this week. They just kept us off balance, and we just had a bad week. We’re going to go home and get things figured out and go play next week.”