After dropping a home series against UCF over the weekend, No. 4 Ole Miss got back on track in its midweek action this week, topping Memphis and Jackson State on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
The Rebels fell behind early to Memphis but rallied in a big way to pick up a 16-4 win and never trailed against Jackson State, scoring seven in the bottom of the first en route to a 12-1 run-rule win in seven innings.
What was noteworthy for Ole Miss in these two games was the number of walks. The offense hit when it needed to, but the Rebels had a tendency to expand the zone on full counts against UCF and strike out on pitches that would have resulted in ball four, but they remedied that against two pitching staffs that struggled to find the zone consistently in the midweek.
Fans usually expect big hits at the plate in these kinds of contests, and although there were some of those in these two games, it speaks a lot of the fact that Ole Miss was able to take advantage of Memphis’ and Jackson State’s inability to throw strikes and draw approximately 1,000 walks to spark its offense. Plate discipline is a key component to a good baseball offense, and Ole Miss showed that this week.
It was good, however, to see Tim Elko hit a long ball in both of these midweek games. He’s been batting cleanup for the Rebels thus far, and he needs to heat up before conference play gets here in a few weeks. The captain has struggled at the plate so far in 2021, but hopefully this is the beginning of him being able to turn things around.
It would be foolish to overanalyze these two midweek games. Ole Miss was clearly the better team in both of these games and won them handily, but the big takeaway is that it was good for the team to get back on track after a disappointing opening weekend at Swayze last week. The Rebels play host to Belmont (not the Mississippi high school, I’m told) this weekend, so they’ll have another opportunity to continue to build some positive momentum as they get closer to conference play.