By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
Box Score l Highlights
HOOVER, Ala. – Sixth-seeded Ole Miss jumped on the scoreboard in the first inning and never looked back en route to a 4-1 win against 11th-seeded Kentucky on Tuesday in the opening game of the 2013 Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
The Rebels (37-20) advance to face third-seeded Arkansas (35-19) at 9:30 a.m. CT Wednesday in a game that will be televised by CSS.
Mike Mayers (5-5) earned the victory for Ole Miss, pitching 6.1 innings in a starting role, allowing no earned runs and striking out four.
Ole Miss’ Austin Anderson recorded his team’s first hit of the game and then was driven in by a sacrifice fly from Andrew Mistone to give the Rebels an early 1-0 lead.
The Rebels added a run in the third when Christian Helsel opened the inning with a double to left field and was driven in by a double down the right-field line from Anderson.
Kentucky scored its lone run in the top of the fourth as Zac Zellers doubled to right-center field and crossed home plate on an Ole Miss throwing error.
Ole Miss tacked on two runs in the sixth inning with RBI from Auston Bousfield and Will Allen.
Kentucky (30-25) was eliminated from the tournament as part of a new 12-team format that features a single-elimination opening day.
2013 SEC Baseball Tournament
Game 1 – Tuesday, May 21 – 9:30 a.m.
#6 Ole Miss vs. #11 Kentucky
Kentucky Postgame Quotes
Opening Statement: “We have to give credit to Mike Bianco. They played well today. I was pleased with the effort I received from Jerad and Chandler. It wasn’t enough hits and opportunities for us.”
Jared Grundy on his pitching: “There were some jams. I made pitches when I needed to, but I have to give credit to the fielders for making plays when needed.”
Austin Cousino on the opposition: “Ole Miss has a good pitcher. He mixes it up very well. The loss was tough, but that’s what you get when playing in the Southeastern Conference.”
Coach Henderson on Kentucky’s last several games: “The biggest issue has been getting hits. My guys fight well, but at times we don’t have enough offense. That’s been the story for us.”
Matt Reida on pressures pitchers face: “It’s been tough for us all year. We wanted to compete. It just didn’t work out for us today. We do a great job of staying positive, but we just couldn’t get the win today.”
Ole Miss Postgame Quotes
Head Coach Mike Bianco
“The talk after the game is how terrific Mike Mayers was; I don’t know if we have another guy who can do what Mike just did. It probably worked out better than we imagined; he was terrific today. Of course Jeremy (Massie) came in with a tough position but he was super composed and gets the pop up and ground ball to get out of it (7th inning).We had some timely hits. It was nice to see the guys continue to swing after coming out of the last two games at LSU where we didn’t swing very well. We just played well today.”
On Mike Mayers’ performance
“He had the whole package; it could be as good as he’s pitched all year. He had his fastballs and with all the left hander; he had both his changeup and slider; he had a great mix. Probably the best he’s been all year.”
On upcoming match up against Arkansas
“They are very good, and we played very well. When you get to this point and you play in the number one baseball conference in the country anybody is good, and anybody can beat anybody on any given day. It’s the truth; and it’s all about playing well.”
Jeremy Massie on coming into the game in a difficult situation:
“I made some great pitches. I was a little bit nervous coming in with runners on first and second. One time, I couldn’t get a good spot on the ball and couldn’t get it to first base in time.”
Mike Mayers on starting the game with not much rest:
“I felt fine. People make a big deal on short rest. When you’re growing up, nobody really cares about rest. The big leaguers do it for 200-plus innings. It’s the same routine that I’ve been on the last two weeks. It was one of those days where my fastball command was there. I’m really proud of myself for the fastball command. Coach (Mike) Bianco kind of does the rest. Stu (Stuart Turner) does a great job behind the plate.”