Ole Miss baseball begins the 2018 season today with a number 9 ranking and a three game series at Swayze Field against Winthrop.
Coming off a somewhat disappointing 2017 season, Ole Miss baseball is ready to start off the 2018 season. The Rebels are coming into opening weekend with a No.9 national ranking and have their sights set on Omaha. Of course, this was also the focus last season but Mike Bianco and his Rebels fell short of their mark. The key to that goal is the Rebels have to produce offensively. The Rebels struggled with hitting last season.
Naturally, much like last season, we can expect Ole Miss baseball to be a pitching power house this season. Of course, Bianco has been known for his development of some of the top pitching talent in the nation. This season we can expect this pitching staff to be even better than in 2017. However, the road to Omaha for the Rebels relies on the Rebels being strong on the mound and even stronger at the plate.
Of course, the Rebels open their season today against the Winthrop Eagles out of the Big South conference. It will be the first game of a three game series which will run thru Sunday. It is very important Ole Miss gets this first game and should take the series. Lets look at the weekend a little closer.
Projected Starting Pitchers
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For the Rebels we expect the starter for Fridays game to be sophomore left-hander Ryan Rolison. Rolison has a record of 6-3 with a 3.06 ERA in 62.1 innings pitched. Winthrop’s starter on the mound should be right-hander Zack Peek. Peek has a 5-1 record for the Eagles with a 3.70 ERA in 56 innings of work.
Game 2 Saturday will see junior right-hander Brady Feigl on the mound for Ole Miss. Feigl has a 2-2 record with a 4.08 ERA in 53 innings of work. Rebel hitters will face Colton Rendon as the starter. Rendon takes the mound with a 7-5 record and a 4.19 ERA in 86 innings pitched.
Sunday’s series finale pits Rebels junior right-hander James McArthur against right-hander Nate Pawelczyk for the Eagles. McArthur has a 3-6 record with a 4.73 ERA in 64.2 innings of work on the hill. Pawelczyk brings a 7-2 record with a 2.23 ERA in 76.2 innings pitched.
At The Plate
Gone are Colby Bortles and Tate Blackman are gone so other Rebels will have to step up at the plate. Although the 2017 Rebels suffered at the plate as a team there are number of returning Rebels hitters we can look forward to seeing today. Senior Will Golsan is a .292 career hitter at Ole Miss and has 6 career HR. We are anxious to see Golsan in 2018. Also returning is junior Nick Fortes who has .293 career average with 5 homers. Senior Tim Rowe hit for .254 last season while knocking 3 homers. Of course we look forward to seeing who steps up.
There are number of sophomores who we expect to hit much better this season. Oxford natives Thomas Dillard and Grae Kessinger are expected to have a huge season. In 2017 Dillard hit for .206 and had 4 homers while Kessinger hit .175 with 2 HR. Of course, there are still others who we expect to see play much better offensively.
It’s easy to look at last season and see where Bianco and the Rebels needed to improve. Of course, thankfully its a new season and everything is good for the Rebels as they begin the 2018 season. Good luck to coach Mike Bianco and the Rebels this weekend and this season. Hotty Toddy!