If you’re honest with yourself, you might have seen this past weekend coming for Ole Miss baseball.
It’s not just the anxiety of being an Ole Miss baseball fan and feeling a loss is coming. I believe many fans were concerned going into the Tennessee series it would be at least a very tough series to win, or potentially the former number one ranked Rebels would get exposed a bit.
Tennessee (23-1, 6-0 SEC) came into this series as one of the most vaunted offenses in college baseball alongside some pitching that seemed otherworldly. A loss to Texas was the only blemish, and there was some sketchy talent in its non-conference schedule which can be hard to gauge success against.
Ole Miss (16-7, 2-4 SEC) allowed a lot of runs at Auburn followed by eight runs against Memphis in Oxford in the mid-week - pitching did not seem nearly as sharp as previous versions of Mike Bianco’s squads.
After compiling a 22-4 advantage over Friday and Saturday, the Volunteers came back to earth a bit on Sunday with Ole Miss narrowly losing 4-3 and pushed the game to the last inning with a threat to win.
And a win on Sunday wouldn’t necessarily completely put to bed all the worries with the Ole Miss fanbase. In the past, fans have seen Ole Miss lose one game at home by several runs to an SEC foe, but this was one of the most dominant series against the Rebels I have ever seen in Oxford. It was shocking.
But it begs the question - is Tennessee just head and shoulders better than competition this year? I would posit the Vols have become the team to beat not only in the SEC but nationally, and clearly, they look to be the best team in the country.
I’m not sure that Ole Miss is as bad as fans probably feel they are right now though. The season is nearly halfway gone, so there is time for adjustments and pitching to come along. There’s also the return of Kevin Graham to look forward to if you’re an Ole Miss fan.
There’s no doubt a lot of players and coaches in Oxford looking at themselves in the mirror this morning extremely disappointed with this weekend - how they respond in the next two SEC series at Kentucky and hosting Alabama could right the ship or sink what was a very promising season.