Mike Bianco enters every game with a plan. Some days, the game goes according to plan to a tee, and others it does not. Ole Miss’ 5-1 over Georgia in round one of the SEC tournament on Tuesday was one of those games that strictly adhered to his plan
“I thought we played well today. The Tuesday game is that elimination day where there is so much pressure on you to play well or you go home,” Bianco said. “Sometimes it goes as scripted, and today it did.
After a minor hiccup in the first inning in which Brady Bramlett surrendered a solo home run to Stephen Wrenn to give Georgia an early 1-0 lead, everything went as scripted. Bramlett approached the 60 pitch limit in the fourth, and Feigl relieved him for three scoreless innings, bridging the game to Will Stokes in the eighth, and Wyatt Short in the ninth. All three pitchers after Bramlett prevented Georgia from scoring, stranding 8 Bulldogs on the bases.
“That’s a big key for their team is their bullpen is very strong,” Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin said. “I thought Feigl and Stokes and Short were really, really good.”
Ole Miss is 37-0 when leading after six innings, and the bullpen proved to be the difference again, and also helped Bramlett get his eighth win of the season.
“After the home run the mindset was, and we talked about it all week with our staff, was to make a big pitch and get off of the field,” Bramlett said. “They made it tough, and I knew they wouldn’t make it easy so the mindset was just to make a pitch and get off of the field.”
Early on, Georgia starter Heath Holder had everything going for him. He faced the minimum amount of batters through the first round of the Rebel lineup, and kept Ole Miss off balance through the first three innings.
“I think from a righty’s standpoint, he threw a lot of sliders early in the count and late in the count and he kept us off balance,” junior third baseman Colby Bortles said. “In the later innings, we started getting better at bats and fouling off those sliders and getting him up and getting fastballs up.”
The second time through the order was a different story, and a four-run fourth inning began when J.B. Woodman took a fastball to right field for a bases-clearing triple to give Ole Miss a 2-1 lead. Two batters later, Bortles did his part with a two RBI double of his own to left field, making it a 4-1 game. Bortles was 1-4 on the day.
Woodman did further damage in the fifth with a double to deep left field which made it 5-1, which was more than enough insurance for the Ole Miss bullpen over the final four innings. Woodman went 2-3 at the plate and had three of Ole Miss’ five RBIs
Wyatt Short’s final three outs secured the Rebels’ 41st win of the season, and at least two more games in Hoover.
“When we have a chance to win we go to those guys with no reservation. I don’t like holding them,” Bianco said of his bullpen. “When you have a chance to win a game in this league, you better take it.”
Ole Miss will play South Carolina on Wednesday in the second game of the day that is tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m.