“Tough day. Arkansas is obviously good and played well,” he said. “Just disappointed in our effort.”
The Rebels are still an impressive 19-2 overall and 1-1 in Southeastern Conference play. But Bianco said that while there are losses in baseball, it isn’t OK to lose focus or not give enough effort as a game moves on.
“We just didn’t compete well enough on the mound. Defensively I was really disappointed that we looked like that once they got the lead, we didn’t play the same,” he said. “Once it looked like we weren’t going to win the game, we let it get out of hand and get ugly. We’ve got to play better than that.”
Rebel junior starter Mike Mayers wasn’t himself. It appeared that way from the start, and Mayers admitted as such after the game.
“I went out there and it was one of those days that I knew I didn’t have anything. I had no fast ball command whatsoever. And a guy that pitches off his fast ball, that’s not a good thing. I battled as best I could. But I take responsibility for this one. I let this one get away.”
Mayers said he knew early things weren’t right.
“As a pitcher you know how you’re supposed to feel. I’ve done this enough. I couldn’t make any adjustments to get my fastball down in the zone. I left it up and they did a good job hitting it all over the park.”
Bianco said Mayers was needed but didn’t have it today.
“Mike wasn’t as good as he’s been. It was one of those days where we needed him in the sense that we weren’t going to score a lot."
Mayers lasted through five and a third of pitching that was all over the map. Seven runs, five earned, on nine hits with five strikeouts and three walks. He got the loss to fall to 2-1.
“He really struggled with his fast ball," Bianco said. "It was up all day long. He didn’t pitch like he normally can do. We had to go with the offspeed today. Even with that, he was kind of just hanging in there. But it was a tough day for him.”
Matt Denny relieved Mayers and went 1.1 innings, while Josh Laxer came in to pitch the rest of the way. But by then the damage was done.
Just like Friday night, Arkansas got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning. Mayers had trouble finding the strike zone, and in a sense Ole Miss was lucky to get out with just one run against in the first.
However unlike Friday night, there was no big top of the second for the Rebels, and it was Arkasnas that expanded its lead in the bottom of the frame. Ole Miss trailed 3-0 after two complete, and the Rebel offense had yet to threaten against left-handed starter Randall Fant.
Mayers had a better third inning and beyond, and the Razorbacks (14-6, 1-1) didn’t get much going. Ole Miss got its first run of the game in the top of the fourth as the first two hitters reached base. A leadoff single by Auston Bousfield got things started, and later a single from Sikes Orvis got Bousfield home. But that was all the Rebels would get in that frame.
The next inning, the top of the fifth and still down only 3-1, Ole Miss also got the first two runners aboard but couldn't get anything out of it.
The Hogs expanded their lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth, two more in the sixth, and three more in the bottom of the seventh. It was that stretch that Bianco appeared to be the most unhappy about in the postgame.
“You know you won’t win them all,” he said. “And this is not to take anything away from them; they beat us. But today once they ‘beat us', we didn’t play good enough baseball.”
The Razorbacks used just about all their opportunities to score. They had 11 hits and 10 runs. The Rebels not so much as they only had one run on nine hits.
Tomorrow’s game is set for 1 p.m.