• 55°

Pomeranz ready to go in regional opener

OXFORD (AP) — Mississippi baseball Coach Mike Bianco did not require a good night’s sleep, a staff meeting or extra scouting of his opponent to make his first big decision of the NCAA tournament.

He’s pitching Drew Pomeranz.

Often in tournament play, a coach will consider a change in his pitching rotation, particularly against a lower-seeded opponent.

‘‘We’re going to go with Pomeranz. We need to win and move on. I don’t think we’re in a position to do other things,’’ Bianco said.

The Rebels open NCAA play in the Charlottesville Regional Friday night against St. John’s, the Big East tournament champion.

St. John’s is expected to start freshman right-hander Kyle Hansen, the MVP of the Big East tournament. He’s 7-1 with a 3.33 ERA, 76 strikeouts and 31 walks in 81 innings.

The Red Storm is just in the middle of the pack among Big East pitching staffs with a 5.01 team ERA, but pitched strong in the conference tournament, allowing only 10 runs in four games. St. John’s twice defeated regular season champion Louisville by scores of 6-5 and 5-3.

Hansen threw 6-1/3 scoreless innings in the championship game, and St. John’s went on to shut out UConn 3-0.

It was Pomeranz, though, who was highlighted during ESPN’s analysis of the Charlottesville Regional field during Monday’s selection show.

‘‘It’s cool to see yourself up there, but you still have to play good in the games,’’ Pomeranz said.

He has managed to do that. The SEC Pitcher of the Year, Pomeranz (8-2) leads the league in ERA (2.21), strikeouts (134) and opponent batting average (.190).

In the latest release of NCAA numbers his 13.18 average strikeouts per nine innings ranks third among all pitchers, first among starters.

‘‘It doesn’t matter to me whether I pitch the first game or the second,’’ Pomeranz said. ‘‘We need to win the first game no matter what. If I pitch the first game, then we see if Barrett can beat them in the second game. I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal.’’

A senior right-hander, Aaron Barrett (7-4, 4.16) has had quality starts more often than not, even when they haven’t resulted in wins.

He went eight innings in a 3-2 win over Arkansas on May 8, his most recent victory.

Since then he carried a no-hitter into the seventh at Alabama but got a no-decision in a 4-1 Ole Miss loss and left the SEC tournament in the seventh against the Crimson Tide trailing 3-0.

Between those starts, Auburn hit him hard with eight runs and two home runs in 2-2/3 innings.

‘‘The thing is, how good is your No. 2?’’ Bianco said. ‘‘We have a lot of confidence in Aaron that he can pitch and win in that winner’s bracket game, which is so important

‘‘Whether you win and lose or lose and win, it’s the same thing. To have an advantage, you have to win the first two, and it’s a huge advantage.’’

Virginia plays the first game against Virginia Commonwealth, the Colonial Athletic Association tournament champion.

Virginia currently sports a team earned run average of 3.67. They lead the ACC in pitching and rank seventh in the nation in the latest release of NCAA statistics.

Virginia sophomore left-hander Danny Hultzen leads the ACC in ERA (2.43) and opponent batting average (.184). He’s 9-1 in 14 starts with 111 strikeouts an 20 walks in 92-2/3 innings.

Hultzen started the super regional opener in Oxford last year, going 5-1/3 innings with five hits, two earned runs, a walk and five strikeouts. He did not get a decision in a game Ole Miss eventually won 4-3 in 12 innings.

News

Hundreds turnout for Natchez Christmas tree lighting Saturday night

BREAKING NEWS

Natchez-Adams schools to continue virtual learning only through December

News

E-911: Seconds can seem like minutes in emergencies (with audio)

COVID-19

Hospital CEO tests positive for COVID-19 as local cases rise

BREAKING NEWS

Flash flood warning issued for parts of Natchez

News

Hospitals using antibody therapy to help fight virus

News

Stewpot serves 300 Thanksgiving meals thanks to generous donations

News

Trash collection one day behind schedule for Thanksgiving

News

Ferriday man sentenced to life for 2019 slaying of Natchez schoolteacher

Business

Mayor: Silver Street raising and dock plans moving forward

News

Tree lighting event is Saturday in Natchez

News

Former Natchez Alderman David Massey dies at 72

News

Stewpot ready to serve needy on Thanksgiving

News

Saturday high-speed chase began in Louisiana, ended with crash in Natchez

News

No print edition of The Democrat on Friday

News

Natchez school board cancels bid opening for new high school due to COVID-19

News

5 Miss-Lou residents die of COVID-19 over weekend

News

Remains found in Natchez neighborhood

News

The Dart: Natchez resident loves music

News

Coroner: A Natchez woman dies with COVID-19 Sunday

DEVELOPING NEWS

Suspect in high-speed vehicle chase arrested in Natchez

BREAKING NEWS

Natchez Police investigating Saturday shooting that injured two people

News

Coroner: Two Ferriday men died with COVID-19 Saturday at Merit Health Natchez

News

Natchez freedmen and women largely funded Emancipation Monument in Washington, D.C.