We're now one full month into the 2015 baseball season and it's still hard to tell exactly what to make of this Ole Miss squad. Are they the team that bludgeoned Stetson with 15 hits in the first game of Saturday's double-header? Or are they the team that left runners all over the bases and looked lost on the mound during an ugly 12-run loss on Sunday? The Rebs wrapped up their final non-con weekend series by taking two of three in Oxford, but are still riddled with question marks heading into SEC play.
We at least know that Mike Bianco has a pair of top-shelf starters in his rotation. Christian Trent shook off a shaky start in Game 1 to move to 12-0 in his Rebel career and Brady Bramlett was damn-near unhittable later that afternoon, allowing just four men to reach base (none of whom scored) during a strikeout-filled, six-inning outing. Errol Robinson racked up five hits during the double header and Henri Lartigue became the first Rebel not named Sikes Orvis or Colby Bortles to leave the yard this season.
But then Sunday happened. Sam Smith imploded in the fourth (again), allowing Stetson to drop a six-spot in the inning. The bullpen wasn't much better -- the Hatters scored four in the fifth and another six in the eighth -- and Ole Miss blew a chance at the sweep.
Game 1: Ole Miss 8, Stetson 3
Game 2: Ole Miss 7, Stetson 3
Game 3: Stetson 16, Ole Miss 4
1. Hitting with runners in scoring position is still a problem.
It was all good after the Rebs' 8-run, 14-hit explosion in Game 1, but then the bats vanished. Four Stetson errors and three unearned runs made Game 2 look better than it was and things really got ugly on Sunday. Ole Miss had the bases loaded with less than two outs twice in the first four innings but couldn't get a hit in either situation and limped away with just one total run. When Stetson had the bases loaded in the top of the fourth, for comparison's sake, they knocked two doubles and came away with six runs.
2. Brady Bramlett is a strikeout machine.
Two weeks after striking out 11 against Wright State, Bramlett fanned 12 Stetson batters in Game 2 on Saturday. He now leads the SEC with 34 Ks despite having thrown fewer innings than all but two of the other pitchers in the top 10. Bramlett's sporting a 2.05 ERA and an insane strikeout-to-walk ratio of 11.33:1.
3. Stetson did a bunch of dumb shit.
The Hatters committed six errors on the weekend, three of which came in the third inning of Game 2. The Rebs plated four runs in that frame, which ended up being the difference in a 7-3 game.
We're not just talking standard, booted-the-grounder errors either. We're talking hilarious, Bad News Bears-level errors.
4. Not all Ole Miss pitchers had a bad Sunday.
5. Shit gets real this week.
Sitting at 8-6, the Rebs now face what might be the single toughest stretch of the season. It starts with a two-game midweek trip at Louisville, who will be top-15 after taking two of three from No. 11 Miami over the weekend. Then it's off to Baton Rouge to face a top-10 LSU squad that just swept the Houston College Classic. If we're not sure what kind of Ole Miss team this is right now, we should have a much better understanding seven days from now.