“I thought we played really well again today,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco after his team moved to 12-2.
The Rebels certainly did that. This is a Houston team that is now 6-8 but defeated both Tennessee and Arkansas last weekend. So far this weekend, the Cougars haven’t been competitive.
There’s still one more chance on Sunday.
Saturday’s game was similar to Friday night’s in that the Rebels scored early and the pitching and defense were solid throughout.
Ole Miss got two runs in the first inning. Alex Yarbrough tripled to score Auston Bousfield who had walked. Matt Snyder, 4-for-4 on the day with two RBI and two runs scored, got Yarbrough home with a single.
In the third, the Rebels scored five more runs and added two more in the sixth.
Bianco said the Rebels are obviously playing with a lot of confidence in all phases.
“And it’s one of those where it’s a good confidence," he said. "They deserve this. They’ve played well. I thought they played well last night and came out today with another opportunity and played well in all three phases. That’s what you want to do.”
Preston Overbey, 2-for-4, was among four Rebels who had at least two hits on Saturday
R.J. Hively moved to 3-0 with the win and pitched six innings, with four hits, nine strikeouts, and two walks. The senior right-hander got better as the game progressed.
“It was a battle the first three innings,” he said. “My command with the fastball was terrible. I was almost better out of the stretch, which is kind of the opposite than what it normally is. But that’s good, because you learn how to work through that.”
Bianco said Hively indeed worked through the early innings and was effective, and even impressive.
“I thought R.J., I don’t want to say struggled, but he had to really work and compete the first three innings,” the head coach said. “They got a couple of base hits and runners in scoring position. He did what we’ve talked about since the beginning of the season, as the pitcher sometimes you have to take it into your hands and make pitches to get out of innings. I thought he did that in the first three innings.
“I thought he got a lot sharper. After the third he just kind of started to roll. He started to strike some people out and really find the command of his fastball. His slider was dominant as usual. He even threw a handful of changeups today.”
Ole Miss outhit the Cougars 15-6. Houston starter Jordan Lewis, who went 2.1 innings and gave up six earned runs, got the loss. He was the first of four Houston pitchers in the contest.
For the Rebels, Blair Wright went 1.2 innings in relief of Hively and allowed one hit with two strikeouts. Jon Andy Scott pitched the final 1.1 innings with just one hit.
The Rebels are simply locked in offensively, according to Snyder.
“Everybody’s hitting the ball really well,” he said. “We’re feeling pretty good right now. The pitchers are really on fire right now, and that really helps the hitters, too. They’re doing a great job out there.”