February 18, 2012
ALERT: UPDATE -- Ole Miss at TCU has been rained out on Saturday. A single game will be played Sunday beginning at 1 p.m.
No. 22 Ole Miss outplayed TCU in all three phases on Friday and took the series opener, 7-4. Here's my recap from the night, including a video interview with Auston Bousfield.
Today could be a long day at the park, as the forecast calls for a 100 percent change of rain leading up to the 2 p.m. first pitch. I'll keep you updated on the message board, but here's what we're dealing with.
Today's pitching match-up features Ole Miss right-hander RJ Hively against TCU right-hander Stefan Crichton.
Hively had 13 appearances and one start last year, compiling a 7.85 ERA in 18.1 innings, but he was injured early in the year and never found a rhythm. He's been solid in the fall and spring, relying on fastball location to get ahead in counts. That'll be extremely key today, as the middle of TCU's order does a great job with fastballs that miss.
Crichton had a 1.98 ERA in 50 innings last season. The sophomore was second-team All-Mountain West and a freshman All-America selection by Louisville Slugger. However, he made just two starts -- against UT Arlington and Dallas Baptist. Ole Miss will need to attack him because he only walked 10 batters last season. He held opponents scoreless in 17 of 24 relief appearances.
LOOKING BACK: One thing I failed to give proper praise to last night was Ole Miss' ability to move runners against TCU starter Andrew Mitchell. He would be a top-end SEC starter. He pitched for Team USA's collegiate squad last summer and lost just once last season.
"We won't see many guys the rest of the year as talented as him," Mike Bianco said.
Mitchell threw 59 strikes in 88 pitches, but Ole Miss carved quality at-bats out of bad counts and kept the pressure on. He didn't walk anyone, but he hit two batters.
"They're really hard to strike out because they always put the ball in play," Mitchell said. "Everyone wants to start off on the right foot, but things happen, and you can't win them all. I didn't really have a good feel for [my change-up] at all, and when you have a bad third pitch you have to stick with your one-two pitches [for the game]."
SNYDER SOLVES THE OFFSPEED PUZZLE: Matt Snyder struck out twice in his first two at-bats: five sliders and a change-up.
But later in the game, he stayed back on an offspeed pitch and drove it through the right side for an RBI single. The book has been out for three years on Snyder. He's not going to get a ton of fastballs. He's going to have to be patient and wait on pitches in the zone. Just something to follow moving forward.