Ending a four game slump was essential for Ole Miss baseball skipper, Mike Bianco. Kyle Watson made that happen, with a solo homer, to get the 1-0 win over Georgia Southern University. However, the underlying story of the night was Bianco getting the victory without his two biggest offensive weapons, Colby Bortles and Tate Blackman.
Ole Miss baseball fans, including myself, were excited to have the diamond Rebels back at Swayze Field last night. After a long week, which included a four game losing streak, it would be essential to get the ball rolling against GSU. The Rebels squeaked through the first of two games on the bat of Kyle Watson.
The #14 Ole Miss Rebels (8-4) came into the contest with some distractions, and missing two key pieces in the puzzle which is Ole Miss baseball. The remaining Rebels slated just three hits in the contest, however, with excellent work from the mound, one hit would be all the Rebels would need. In the 2nd inning, Kyle Watson went yard and the Rebels had a 1-0 lead.
Ole Miss Baseball Has some Heaters
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Ryan Rolison drew the start for the Rebels against GSU, and was solid for five innings. In his first career start, Rolison recorded five strikeouts, giving up only 4 hits. Greer Holston would be called out in relief and look impressive on the hill himself. Holston would record three strikeouts in two innings, giving up only one hit. Will Stokes would secure the shutout with his third save of the season, closing two innings, while recording three strikeouts and allowing only one hit.
In the win, as a total staff, Rebel slingers would give up only six hits while recording ten Ks. Ole Miss pitchers were impressive, especially considering they held GSU slugging sensation Romero Greer 0-3 with three strikeouts. Greer came into Oxford hitting a gaudy (.531), which has garnered him a spot in the Top10 nationally. Rebel pitching also accounted for the offensive absence of GSU stat leader, Ryan Blanton, who was 0-3.
It’s easy to see how important is was for the Rebels to take out the two key offensive weapons for GSU. Also, realizing the Rebels stranded eight runners, it raises questions about the absence of two of our offensive stars.
Where Were Bortles and Blackman?
Good question! Yesterday, I suggested both players would be pivotal in ending the slump. I even spent much of the day hyping that piece, and both Bortles and Blackman, on social media. Let’s just say, I was more than a little shocked when I saw my twitter feed. Davis Potter, who is an Ole Miss beat writer and college sports editor for The Oxford Eagle released the news via twitter.
Since this release, there have been even more questions, and not any answers. Of course, social media has been awash with the usual blather of rumor and innuendo from the school below us. At this time, there have been no details as to what ‘for not meeting program standards’ actually entails. Irregardless, suspended ‘until further notice’ is not a positive for Ole Miss baseball, nor Bortles and Blackman. We expect to hear more of the details at some point today.
Bortles and Blackman are both team captains and are emotional and physical leaders of the team. They have a direct impact on the entire Ole Miss baseball program. Getting by with a 1-0 win last night without them was an awesome confidence boost for a young Rebel club. However, the Rebels can’t afford to have them out of the lineup for long, and that could be evident later today.
The Ole Miss Rebels face off with Georgia Southern, in the final game of the two game series, today at Swayze Field. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT.