Ole Miss vs. TCU: The good, bad and scary
OK, Rebel fans, you want the good news or bad news?
OK, the TCU pitcher you face tonight, Tyler Alexander, is just a freshman and coming off his worst performance of the season in a Super Regional loss to Pepperdine. This will be the biggest stage on which he has ever pitched.
Alexander was 10-3 on the season with a 2.16 earned run average. Opponents hit only .232 against him, and he doesn’t beat himself. He walked only 11 batters in 97.2 innings. He was drafted in the 22nd round out of high school but turned down the Detroit Tigers. Before the Super Regional he had been brilliant in his two previous starts, one in the Big 12 championship game, the other in a Regional-clinching victory. Both were complete games.
Ole Miss is a spiffy 17-6 vs. left-handed starters.
More bad? Virginia left-hander Nathan Kirby ate the Rebels alive in the College World Series first round, and Kirby, as Alexander, was coming off a terrible performance in his previous game.
Ole Miss hasn’t lost two games in a row since April 22.
Bad? TCU had won 12 of 13 before it’s 15-inning Tuesday night loss to Virginia.
Good? The Rebels may not be familiar with tonight’s pitcher, but they do know these Horned Frogs. They beat them three straight times to open the 2013 season.
Bad? Sam Smith, tonight’s Rebels starting pitcher, lasted only 3.2 innings in his last start.
Good? The Rebels won that one.
Bad? Smith has given up 104 hits in 91.1 innings. Opponents hit .287 off him.
To sum up, we’ve got two really good baseball teams, playing well, in tonight’s elimination game. Give the pitching edge to the TCU lefty, and keep in mind you don’t want to play from behind against TCU especially in the late innings. Frog All America closer Riley Ferrell (3-1, 15 saves) has a minuscule 0.87 ERA and an equally impressive .138 opponent batting average against him. He has allowed just 19 hits in 41 1/3 innings of work. He has struck out 66 while allowing just nine of 39 inherited runners to score.