It was a standard pitcher's duel last night as Ole Miss and Southern Miss struggled to plate any runs... until USM busted it open with a three-run eighth and went on for a 5-1 victory.
As seems to be the narrative in these midweek games, there was a lot of shakeup in the lineup. Ryan Olenek, who's been playing most of his ball in the outfield, started at third base. That shifted Colby Bortles to first and Will Golsan out to left field. You'd think that Mike Bianco would keep the lineup against a top 25 team (Southern Miss debuted at No. 25 this week) and the RPI-boosting potential they could have provided. However, the bats went ice cold as the Rebs dropped their first midweek game of season.
Swayze Swag levels
James "Big Tex" McArthur: After making easy work of the Golden Eagles last week, McArthur returned to have a nearly identical outing this week, going 5.1 innings with six hits and five Ks. Towards the end of his night in the sixth inning, McArthur gave up his first run in his last 16 innings of work. The frosh is still slinging 90-plus mph fastballs that breeze by hitters.
Tate "Tater aka Tater Salad aka Taternator" Blackman: He went 1-for-4, but Tate extended his reached base streak to 19 games and his hitting streak to eight games. Blackman leads the team in hits (39) and is third on the team in both batting average (.339) and RBIs (26). The Rebs desperately need him to stay hot at the plate if they want a shot at hosting a regional in June.
The Rebel bullpen: Holy moly, it seemed like every member of the staff saw at least one batter last night. After McArthur left in the sixth, Bianco called on seven other arms (Smith, Green, Denny, Woolfolk, Feigl, Lowe, Pagnozzi) to finish out the game. None of the seven pitchers recorded more than two outs and Nozzi was the only one to not to give up a hit or walk. What started as a major strength of this club at the beginning of the season has turned into a bit of a circus.
Timely hitting: So two stats jump out at me about the hitting on Wednesday night: 1) of the six hits the Rebs had, FOUR came as two-out singles with no one on base and 2) of the four at-bats the Rebels had with runners in scoring position, all four ended in strikeouts, two of those Ks occurring with the bat still on the shoulder.
GRILLIN' AND CHILLIN'
While the recipe requires a bit of prep and getting your hands super covered in raw chicken, the reward of this scrumtrilescent snack will keep you coming back. I first got the idea from LB's Meat Market when I talked to them this past summer. They said that their chicken bacon ranch stuffed chicken breast was a hot item, so I thought I might take a shot at my own little "spin" on it.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pinwheels
- 3 large chicken breasts, about 2.5 lbs
- 4-6 strips of bacon
- Dry ranch seasoning
- Swiss cheese, parmesan cheese for sprinkling
- Spinach leaves
The first thing you'll need to do is pound out your chicken breasts super thin. Anytime I buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I find myself doing this before marinading and grilling. Chicken breasts are so hormone induced that most of the time, it can be a hassle cooking them evenly. For this particular recipe, the thinner you can get them without pounding them into shreds, the better.
Once you've got your chicken breasts to about 0.5" thickness, it's time to put those master layering skills you picked up as a Subway sandwich artist back in high school. Carefully layer on your bacon, ham, swiss cheese, and spinach, all the while sprinkling the dry ranch seasoning and parmesan cheese between layers. Once your layers are complete, it's time to roll those puppies tighter than a Cuban cigar. Once rolled, place toothpicks in an X fashion at approximately 1 inch intervals.
Carefully slice midway between the toothpicks, being sure to cut with your spiral as not to encourage some parts coming unravelled. You should have anywhere from 20-30 mini pinwheels ready for grilling. Grill on high heat (400ish) for 8-10 minutes per side and be sure to remove toothpicks before consuming.
The Rebels look to continue their conference win streak as they head to Tuscaloosa to take on the Crimson Tide who also have a 6-6 conference record. Go get and safe travels to all you Road Rebels out there. Until then, see y'all at Swayze next Wednesday when the Rebs host Murray State. Hotty Toddy.