Ole Miss baseball will do battle with the Saint Louis Billikens tonight to open up postseason play at Swayze Field as part of the Oxford Regional. But, before they get going under the lights, Mike Bianco got some good news regarding two of his star players who have been hampered by injury. Both third baseman Tyler Keenan and short stop Grae Kessinger are back in the starting lineup tonight against SLU.
The All-American and All-SEC snub freshman Tyler Keenan will make his triumphant return to the lineup tonight after sitting out the SEC Tournament after injuring his left wrist against Alabama in the last weekend of the regular season.
“He’s kind of been full-go the whole week,” Mike Bianco told the Ole Miss Spirit’s Ben Garrett this week. “Still has a little pain in the hand, but kind of subsiding with each day, and he looks good swinging it.”
The freshman from Clayton, N.C. has been a humongous part of Ole Miss’ record-breaking 2018, hitting .314, mashing eight dingers, driving in 36 runs, slugging .535, and reaching base at a .400 clip. And often overlooked by most, his defense has been absolutely stellar on the hot corner, fielding at a .949 clip and making everything look effortless over there.
As far as Grae Kessinger goes, he had a minor pull in his hamstring way back when the Rebs hosted Tennessee and has since been playing through the pain here and there. Last weekend in the first inning against LSU in the tournament title game, he re-injured the hammy and has since been on the mend.
“Better. Each day, he’s getting better and better. He’s been taking ground balls, but really gingerly, balls right at him,” says Bianco.
“Just trying to protect it and let the hamstring heal up. (Thursday) was the first day we moved him around. He tried to run a little bit in the outfield. Getting better. Still not sure yet if he could go Friday, but he’s certainly getting better.”
Kessinger has been lights out in his sophomore campaign, leading the Relentless Rebs in the lead off spot with a .304 average, seven home runs, eight stolen bases, 16 doubles, 31 walks, 35 runs batted in, and countless web gems at his captain of the infield post.
Now that the left side of the infield has returned, Ole Miss can breathe a sigh of relief. And finally, FINALLY, play ball tonight against Saint Louis.