First things first. Baseball is a Spring sport. This past weekend at Swayze was a prime example. The Nike shorts blossomed once again, revealing a bounty of toned (and somehow tanned... tanning beds are bad mmmmkay?) co-ed legs. The mantra of "sun's out, guns out" manifested itself with each curl of the arm that lifted a cold broski brewskie. Sunburns were had, skin was shone. THIS is the baseball we all know and love at Swayze.
The past two nights were as far from this picture of Swayze that one could imagine. Any favor the biased god of global warming showed us with temperatures in the mid 70s was promptly reversed with wind chill temps near freezing. Fortunately, I did the dirty work for you and braved the elements so you can get a recap on what ended up being two really exciting games between your Ole Miss Rebels and the #SQUAWKEMHAWKEM War Hawks of Duck Dynasty's University of Louisiana-Monroe.
On Tuesday night, Boz got things started early in the 1st with a two run shot to LF to put the Rebs up 2-0. Jacob Waguespack got the nod again for the midweek starting role and, like last week, struggled early. Lasting only four innings, Wags gave up 4 hits and 4 runs, all in the 2nd. With Wags struggling early against subpar competition and the rest of the bullpen showing promise, I'd be surprised to see Wags get another starting nod. After Bianco pulled Wags (atta boy Mikey! pull that struggling pitcher before it gets worse!), the Rebel bullpen gave up only 1 hit for the rest of the game. However, the Rebs were still down 4-3 going into the 9th. At this point, things got wacky. In pure Bianco over thinking style, Sikes Orvis (3 for 3) was pulled for Preston Overbey, who promptly grounded out on the first pitch.
Frosh Colby Bortles then came in to pinch hit and had a helluva at bat to battle to a full count walk. Holt Perdzock pinch hit his way into a single which led to runners on 1st and 2nd. Then came another true frosh, Errol Robinson. "Errol the Error-less" took one for the team by getting hit by a pitch in 40 degree weather. This left the bases loaded for Memphis's Great White Hype, Dalton Dulin (If you didn't know, Dalton's walk out song is "Errday I'm Hustlin"). He hustled ULM's infield all the way to the bank as he out hustled a double play ball to beat the throw to first that would have ended the game. Braxton Lee came up next and hit a rocket to the ULM SS who couldn't outgun him (the 1B actually missed the catch but upon further review, Lee would have beat the throw anyway and the at bat was scored a H). Rebels win in a crazy finish, 5-4. Here's the box score for those of you who like numbers.
Last night's game was even colder than the former with temps dropping into the 30s. It was a slow game with some Ole Miss runs speckled throughout. Props to Jeremy Massie who started things off and made it through five innings without giving up a single hit. Things didn't get interesting until the 7th when Evan Anderson came in for the Rebs and gave up three runs with various walks, wild pitches and fielding errors. With a game tying RBI by Colby Bortles in the 8th, the Rebs were left with three outs to win it in the 9th.
My unsung hero of the night, Brantley Bell, led off the inning with single and advanced to 2nd on a passed ball. Not only did Bell provide the winning run, but his glove was crazy good throughout the game. He made some tough throws early on and helped the Rebs get their first three of four outs. Brantley really took advantage of his opportunity to shine while other freshmen Dulin and Robinson rested up. Once he advanced to 2nd, in typical Bianco ball, he reached 3rd on a SAC bunt. ULM then walked the next two batters to load the bases. Senior Will Allen came through when the team needed him with a first pitch walk off single to seal the W and help me avoid any frostbite I might have endured during free baseball innings. Box score
- I'm really starting to like this Rebel team. What started with a lot of grim predictions of how bad the Rebels would be, Coach Bianco's emphasis on "toughness" has really shone through this week with two last inning victories.
- ULM should copyright Squawk ‘em, Hawk ‘em. Like, 6 years ago. #neverforget
- Midweek games are great for hecklin'. Aside from music and announcer from the loud speakers, the stadium is eerily quiet. Being able to heckle the ULM short stop from LF after he botched an easy can of corn was awesome.
- Our freshmen this week: props to Errol Robinson, Dalton Dulin and Brantley Bell. Keep showing out this season
- The Rebels are undefeated when my wife joins me for the game. Honey, please fulfill your marriage vows by coming out to Swayze from here on out (and make me a sandwich while you're there).