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No. 17 Diamond Rebels blanked 10-0 in 'total team disaster'

Austin McAfee/The Daily Mississippian

 

The No. 17 Ole Miss baseball team (15-6) continued their offensive and defensive struggles as Southern Miss (12-9) shut out the Rebels 10-0 last night at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field. The Rebels were out-hit 17-3 and committed three errors, as the team’s losing streak stretches to three games.

“We’ve got to get tougher,” head coach Mike Bianco said. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to have better at bats. We’ve got to hit balls harder, get more swings off. We’ve got to hit when we opportunities and have guys in scoring position.

“But tonight was just a disaster. It was a total team disaster.” 

That it definitely was. It was Ole Miss’ worst loss since a 18-4 defeat to Auburn on May 21, 2010 and the worst non-conference loss since an 18-6 defeat to Arkansas-Little Rock in Mike Bianco’s first weekend as head coach in 2001.

“Collectively, we haven’t been able to do it for the past four games,” Bianco said of the offensive struggles. “It’s a lot of reasons. It’s from at bat to at bat. What we have to do is getting back to better at-bats, making it difficult on the pitcher and, then, being able to execute.”

Southern Miss got on the board early as right fielder Mason Robbins drove in first baseman Blake Brown, who hit a two-out triple off the center-field wall. Freshman right-hander Sam Smith got the start for the Rebels, but was chased after four innings. He gave up four runs on eight hits, but only one run was earned.

In the bottom half of the fifth inning, Ole Miss loaded the bases on a hit by pitch and two walks, but senior designated hitter Matt Snyder flied out to end the inning.

The Golden Eagles blew the game wide open in the seventh against freshman right-hander Josh Laxer, who replaced Smith. Brown lofted a three-run home run over the right-field fence to extend the lead to 7-0. Laxer gave up three runs – two earned – on four hits in two innings of work.

Junior right-hander Tanner Bailey replaced Laxer and gave up three runs on three hits in 1.1 innings on the mound. Freshman right-hander Hawtin Buchanan closed things out for the Rebels and held the Golden

Eagles scoreless for the final 1.2 innings, giving up only two hits to go along with three strikeouts.

Yarbrough rested

Junior second baseman Alex Yarbrough, who is leading the team in hitting with a .410 average, sat out last night’s loss to rest his left elbow that he hurt in the first inning of Saturday’s loss to Auburn.

However, there was some good news yesterday.

“Alex felt a little better today,” Bianco said. “He wanted to play bad, but he wasn’t even going to swing today. He won’t swing tomorrow or probably Thursday. We’ll probably wait until Thursday. But this was the first day he felt better.”

While it is still not clear whether Yarbrough will play on Friday, Bianco expects him to be in the lineup.

“I’m pretty confident (he will play),” Bianco said. “He wanted to play tonight. Up until game time, he was trying to get in the lineup.”