With the rest of their peers getting drunk in Florida, the Ole Miss baseball team began their spring break by sweeping away Arkansas-Little Rock on a warm weekend in Oxford.
Not that the week was a breeze. It started off with yet another loss to Memphis, a team that the Rebels now haven't beaten in two years and have lost six of their last eight against. The Tigers are a solid program, but how Ole Miss continues to lose to them is flat out perplexing.
It almost got worse before it got better, as the Diamond Rebs nearly blew the weekend opener to UALR on Friday. An absolute freak error allowed them to escape with yet another extra innings walkoff, but they reigned it in with convincing wins on Saturday and Sunday.
We've spent a lot of time over the last couple weeks trying to use these non-con performances to project our chances against SEC play. On one hand, we're struggling against average to bad competition. On the other, we're winning. Either way, we won't have to worry about that much longer -- things get real next weekend when we travel to No. 1 South Carolina to open SEC play.
As always, a hat tip to The Nkemist for photos, videos and being an obnoxiously loud asshole.
Last week: 3-1
Wednesday: Memphis 4, Ole Miss 1
This was about as frustrating a baseball game as you could watch. Ole Miss had the same number of hits as Memphis (9) but managed to be outscored by three thanks to a maddening inability to bring in runs. The Rebels left 11 runners stranded en route to losing to the Tigers for a fourth consecutive time. Jeremy Massie was pegged with the loss after allowing three runs through 4⅓.
Friday: Ole Miss 2, UALR 1 (10 innings)
This one shouldn't even count as a win. The Rebs could do nothing at the plate for most of the game, and trailed 1-0 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Henri Lartigue (because Mike Bianco LOVES pinch hitting random freshmen in clutch situations) popped a lazy fly into left center to end it, but the UALR fielders bumped into each other, allowing Brantley Bell to tie the game from second. Bell then delivered a two-out, bases-loaded walkoff single in the bottom of the tenth to pull out the fluke victory. Control issues ran Chris Ellis's pitch count over 100 by the top of the fifth, but he still managed to keep from giving up his first earned run of the season.
Saturday: Ole Miss 11, UALR 5
The Rebels pounded out five runs as part of a two-out rally in the first and didn't look back. UALR was able to tighten it up when a three-run homer cut it to 6-4 in the fourth, but that was as close as they would get. Christian Trent struggled, giving up all four runs in the fifth and walking a batter for the first time in 24 innings. Aaron Greenwood relieved him and managed to pick up his first win. Will Jamison hit his second home run of the season, because WILL JAMISON DROPS BOMBS.
Sunday: Ole Miss 11, UALR 1
This was actually a pretty tight game after the top of the fifth, when UALR plated a run to tie it at 1. The Rebs then broke things open with three runs in the next frame, and went on to score in each of the last three innings. UALR was only credited with one error, but defensive miscues were really the story in this one. Sam "Sunday Sizzle" Smith worked his customary six innings and picked up the win.
Past the foul pole
- Auston Bousfield accidentally pegged some kid in the nuts with the warmup ball on Friday night. The guy voiced his displeasure by writing "You hit me in the nuts you bitch!" on the ball. Apparently the blow took it's toll, because his attempt at throwing the ball back to Boz didn't make it over the outfield wall.
- If you chalked that improbable Friday night comeback up to dumb luck, you're wrong. It was actually an act of divine intervention in response to this awesome Angels in the Outfield rally by the student section.ANGELS IN RIGHT FIELD, Y'ALL.
- The star of the weekend was Dancing Baseball Kid, who delivered some hysterically adorable moves on Sunday afternoon.
This was shot during a Mike Bianco visit to the mound, and the kid reacted the same way the rest of us do when Bianco makes a pitching decision:
Dancing Baseball Kid wasn't done winning after that gif-able jig -- after the game he got to go out on the field and meet Will Allen.
- We know J.B. Woodman has an arm, but this is still hella impressive.
- After a blazing hot weekend, Brantley Bell has likely won himself a starting gig at second base. He now leads the entire team with a .500 average, and while he only has 22 at-bats, he's still tied with Errol Robinson for the most hits among the team's freshmen. He began the season as a reserve third baseman, but his bat -- as well as Dalton Dulin's struggles at the plate (.231) -- will force him into the lineup at second.
- There are only six pitchers in the country with at least 20 innings pitched and a 0.00 ERA. Chris Ellis is one of them.
- It's not just Ellis that's dominating on the mound. Three Rebel relievers with at least five innings pitched have yet to give up a run this season, the most notable of which is Josh Laxer. He was critical in the win on Friday. Through 11⅔ innings, he has 17 strikeouts, a lone walk and an opponent's batting average of .128.
2014 Chase for the Cups
Red Cup roared back into contention, pulling within one of Blue Cup in the season standings by taking three out of four races. Red's only loss was on Saturday, when he was accosted with a bat by punk-ass Yellow Cup. Karma struck back when Yellow took a serious spill on Sunday -- as in not part of the act, came up limping and immediately walked off the field.
BREAKING: During today's race, Yellow Cup suffered what appears to be a hamstring injury. Listed as day-to-day. #TEAMYELLOW— Rebel Solo Cup Races (@OMSoloCups) March 9, 2014
Tweet of the week
CREEPY MIKE SNYDER SIGHTING.
March 11-12: at SELA
March 14-16: at No. 1 South Carolina