Ole Miss baseball is 8-0 for the first time since 2008 and the Rebels are on a roll headed out west to take on Long Beach State.
The Ole Miss baseball team is 8 and 0 after the first two weeks. There is reason for optimism in almost every area. Of course, the optimism has to be tempered by the knowledge that the season is long, the competition will be tougher and there is sure to be adversity.
The pitching has been superb as expected. In addition to outstanding starters in every game the middle relief has proved effective. And, of course, Dallas Woolfolk has been outstanding with 4 saves in 4 outings. The middle relief has been solid as well. The emergence of Parker Caracci, Jordan Fowler and Austin Miller to go with an already strong group has been particularly encouraging.
Hitting Has Been Very Good
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Almost all the news about hitting and scoring runs has been positive in the first two weeks. Just to name a few hitting performances of particular note. There is so much good to write about that it is hard to know where to start.
Grae Kessinger has settled into the lead-off position. He leads the team in hits and is tied for the lead with 4 extra base hits. Thomas Dillard was 3 for 4 and scored the winning run last night. He leads the team in runs scored with 9 and is tied with Nick Fortes and Cole Zabowski for the team lead with 6 RBI.
Cooper Johnson has been outstanding and is tied for the team lead with 2 home runs even though he has wisely been rested in 4 games. His team leading slugging percentage is off the charts.
Key Contributors At The Plate
Chase Cockrell leads the team or is in second in average, slugging percentage and on base percentage. Nick Fortes has also been a key contributor. While his average is a little down from last year’s team leading .319 at .286.
He still leads the team with 7 RBIs and 6 runs scored which, after all, is what it is all about. He also is tied for the team lead with 4 extra base hits and 2 home runs. Ryan Olenek went 3 for 4 against Murray State and is now hitting over .300 on the year. Cole Zabowski has been solid and is likely to continue getting playing time.
Battles Continue For Infield Positions
Tim Elko and Tyler Keenan continue to battle for the starting job at 3rd base. Jacob Adams and Anthony Servideo also are in a battle for second base. Olenek’s versatility also provides the team some flexibility for both second and 3rd base.
For example, he can continue looking at 2 left-handed batting newcomers, Adams and Servideo, at second base while having the option of moving Olenek to 2nd base against left-handers giving Michael Spears or other right-handers the chance to prove themselves in the outfield while loading up with right-handed hitters.
Headed to Long Beach State
The Rebels head to Long Beach, CA to take on the Long Beach State Dirtbags (is that not the best name ever for a baseball team!) for a weekend series. The Dirtbags have struggled during the first couple of weeks after finishing last season one game away from Omaha. After a tough 1 to 0 loss to Arizona State last night they are 2 and 6 against tough competition (St Mary’s, TCU, Southern Cal and Arizona State) going into this weekend.
However, expect them to show up this weekend. In particular, their Friday night pitcher, Zak Baayoun, has been outstanding in two games. He was the winner in both of their victories. They also have a strong closer, Chris Rivera, when they have a lead late.
Their Sunday pitcher, Clayton Andrews, has also been solid in two losses. Their third weekend pitcher was solid in 3 plus innings Tuesday night in a weeknight appearance giving up no hits and no runs with 6 strike outs. Their big problem has been scoring enough runs. It seems that this could be the set up for a series with strong pitching on both sides.
Ole Miss baseball travels out west to Long Beach State for a three game weekend series. First game is set for Friday and first pitch is set for 8pm CT. Good luck to coach Mike Bianco and the Rebels.