Boy it feels nice when your midweek starters and bats come together to win against inferior teams. I completely understand that the parity of baseball is what makes the game so magical and frustrating at the same time. As I've heard Coach Bianco say at previous bullpen club meetings, baseball isn't the same as football. In football, Ole Miss isn't (generally) going to lose a game to a drastically less talented team (hello, Jacksonville State). In baseball though, it's perfectly normal for a pitcher to get hot, bats to go cold, and a team with completely inferior athletes to come out on top after nine innings. Fortunately, that didn't happen this week.
Tuesday: Ole Miss 9, Memphis 1
Jeremy Massie got the nod and seems to be our best midweek option at this point. After the win against Memphis, he's 2-2 and sports a 2.64 ERA with 21 Ks on 30.1 innings pitched.
Our outfield is phenomenal. And by phenomenal, I mean it might be the best defensive outfield trio that Bianco has had in his career at Ole Miss. The speed at which Boz and Lee chase down balls in gaps is downright amazing. Boz made a diving snag in the 1st inning to save a run which prompted some Sportscenter Top 10 nods by David Kellum (he's on the committee right?). I guess the only concern I'd have is the battle between Jamison and Woodman in RF. Apparently Jamison got the nod Tuesday night in order to play in front of his hometown. I'm pretty sure Jamison's speed on the bags and superior bat will keep him in that starting role during most SEC weekends.
The Rebel bats lit up Memphis in the 4th and 5th innings, with the Rebels producing seven hits (3 doubles, 2 singles and 2 homers) and plating seven runs. The Rebs didn't look back after that as they cruised to a 9-1 win over the Tigers. While Memphis isn't an amazing team, it's a decent enough victory to put under your belt for RPI purposes.
Wednesday: Ole Miss 8, Murray State 5
The Rebs returned to Swayze in order to celebrate $1 hot dog night.
While I caught hell from Ghost over the ketchup, the dogs were still delicious. I mean, isn't the purpose of midweek games everywhere to promote attendance with gimmicky deals and family-friendly freebies? I can't complain, I've participated in many a Thirsty Thursday at Trustmark Park without a speck of interest or knowledge about the MS Braves.
While this game looked like a scare earlier. The Rebs made sure to answer with some runs of their own just as the threat happened. The Breds/Racers/Donkeys/Quarterhorses chased starting pitcher Evan Anderson in the 4th mainly off of walks. After Murray State went up 3-0 with only one hit, the Rebs were quick to answer in the bottom half of the inning with some timely hits of their own. The Rebs went up 6-3 with three of those runs coming with two outs. One run even came off of a Boz bunt which he outran to score Austin Knight. So yea! Take that Bianco small ball haters!
Murray State threatened again in the 7th off some spotty pitching to bring the score to 7-5 good guys. Through seven innings, the Rebel pitchers had combined for over 110 pitches and seven walks. That's a lot of pitches against a very subpar team with a team batting average of just .275. To put that in perspective, Christian Trent threw 113 pitches by himself in his Saturday complete game shutout against Auburn. Granted, Christian Trent has surpassed (in my opinion) Ellis as the best arm in our weekend rotation. Maybe I shouldn't be so "up in arms" over the lack of midweek pitchers, but I suppose it all comes down to depth of the entire bullpen. Bickel and Short came in late to seal the deal.
The Rebs improve to 27-8 leading up to two huge SEC weekends. The next two weekends have the potential to create a lot of separation in the SEC west standings as the Rebs will now gear up to head to Starkvegas to take on Mississippi State, then host LSU the following weekend. We're looking to do a Red Cup Radio mid-SEC season show after the MSU weekend so be on the look out for that. Give ‘em hell, Rebels. Hotty Toddy!