May 11, 2013 6:03:37 PM
OXFORD - University of Mississippi coach Mike Bianco had a dilemma immediately after the Friday night washout at Swayze Field.
Rebels junior right hander Mike Mayers made his coach feel immediately better about his game-time decision in a 3-0 victory in the series opening game of the three-game Southeastern Conference set against Mississippi State University.
Less than a hour after seeing him trot to the bullpen and begin a warm-up session in the outfield grass, Bianco announced his Friday night starter Bobby Wahl, who had thrown 15 pitches in the opening half inning before the game was postponed to the following day, would not return to the mound. Instead the Rebels 13th-year coach decided to hand the ball to his scheduled Saturday starting pitcher Mayers and the Grove City, Ohio native proceeded to shut out the No. 21 Bulldogs (36-14, 13-12 in SEC) for seven innings, allowing just two hits and striking out five in 94 pitches.
Ole Miss (34-16, 13-12) got both of its first two runs with two outs on MSU senior starting pitcher Luis Pollorena. Rebels designated hitter Will Allen started his 2 of 3 day at the plate with a solo home run to left-centerfield in the fifth inning just out of the reach of left fielder Jacob Robson. After Pollorena (6-3) got into trouble again in the sixth inning, a bases loaded walk by Bulldogs left-handed reliever Ross Mitchell made it 2-0 Rebels.
Ole Miss senior closer Brett Huber made it interesting in the ninth inning by allowing the tying run come to the plate with two outs in the form of pinch hitter Mitch Slauter. The Bulldogs senior catcher, who is nursing a broken bone in his left hand, struck out looking on a pitch that was argued by him and MSU coach John Cohen as the umpires left the field of play. For Huber, who was honored before the game as part of the Senior Day celebration, the strikeout represented his 11th save of the season and 21st in the last two seasons for the right hander that leads the Rebels all-time in that statistical category.
The shutout of the MSU offense was the first time this season the Bulldogs have failed to score a run and the first time since the opening game of the 2012 Tallahassee Regional in a 5-0 loss to Samford University.
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
1. W to host provocative exhibition of contemporary art ENTERTAINMENT
3. MSU to hold Freedom Summer Conference COMMUNITY