June 4, 2010

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CBI Live
Pomeranz Pitches Rebels Past Red Storm

By Sean Ryan

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A year ago, Ole Miss’ hopes for a trip to the College World Series were dashed by Virginia, which took two of three from the homestanding Rebels in the Super Regionals.


Ole Miss gets its chance at a little payback.


Drew Pomeranz (right) allowed two earned runs and struck out five over seven innings, and Tim Ferguson, Miles Hamblin and Alex Yarbrough each homered as the Rebels disposed of St. John’s 10-5 in the nightcap of the Charlottesville Regional. Ole Miss will meet top-ranked Virginia Saturday night in a winners’ bracket contest; St. John’s meets VCU in an elimination game.


“After last year how it ended up, we’re excited to get a rematch and all that kind of stuff,” said Ferguson, whose two-run homer in the fourth gave the Rebels (39-22) a 6-0 lead.


Added Pomeranz: “We’re definitely excited about playing them tomorrow.”


Pomeranz (9-2) is a big reason for the rematch.


Admittedly pitching without his best command, the lefty ran into a scrappy St. John’s lineup that squared plenty of balls up and had some opportunities to do some damage early. Down 3-0, Scott Ferrara doubled to lead off the third. Matt Wessinger hit a sharp comebacker to Pomeranz, who turned to check Ferrara and found that he had taken a couple steps toward third. The SEC Pitcher of the Year fired a bullet to shortstop Kevin Mort, who tagged Ferrara and still had time to double up Wessinger at first.


In the fourth, Jimmy Parque and Paul Karmas singled off Pomeranz. Again, the lefty made a big pitch, getting Sean O’Hare to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. A two-hop groundout to third baseman Zach Miller ended the inning.


“I didn’t have my best command toward the beginning because I was trying to find my rhythm,” Pomeranz said. “What helped me out tonight, when I got in those jams, I got a double-play ball and I was able to make pitches.”


The Red Storm (40-19) sent 18 batters to the plate and reached base eight times in the first four innings. 


“We had opportunities to jump this guy and we didn’t take advantage of it…we let him off the hook,” St. John’s coach Ed Blankmeyer said. “I thought he was good, but I thought he was susceptible tonight. We just didn’t take advantage of it.”


Ole Miss, meanwhile, did the opposite off Kyle Hansen (8-2). Miller (2 for 4) singled and moved to second on a bunt single by Taylor Hashman (2 for 3, 2 RBI) – Hashman’s attempt at a sacrifice had backspin that Red Storm catcher Joe Witkowski slightly overran then hesitated on the throw. After a sacrifice bunt from Yarbrough, Mort plated a run with a grounder to short. Tanner Mathis, starting for the first time in about a month, tripled in Hashman for a 2-0 lead.


The Rebels added on with a solo homer from Miles Hamblin to lead off the third, and Yarbrough hit (solo) and Ferguson (2-run shot) went deep in the fourth.


Leading 7-0, Pomeranz ran into trouble in the eighth when Wessinger singled and Joe Panik walked to start the inning. Pomeranz made way for Eric Callender after 112 pitches. Callender’s first pitch was drilled over the left-field wall by Jeremy Baltz, his 21st homer of the year.


“Tonight, with maybe nine or 10 days rest, he probably wasn’t as sharp with his command,” Rebels coach Mike Bianco said. “It’s amazing how critical we are of him.”


The Rebels added three more in the eighth, with Hashman’s two-run single to right being the big blow.


And now, they get the chance to face the team that ended their season a year ago. Leading the Super Regional series 1-0, Ole Miss led Virginia in the bottom of the eighth by a run but couldn’t close out the Cavaliers, who won Games 2 and 3 to advance to Omaha.


“I didn’t fall into that, like the other guys,” Bianco said. “To me, each year is different. I don’t look at they-beat-us-last-year kind of thing…to me, we’re facing the No. 1 team in the country. That’s what I saw when the pairings came up.


“They’re very impressive. They’re a better club than they were last year.”


(photo by Jimmy Jones)