The defending College World Series Champion Ole Miss Rebels (has a nice ring to it) are already reloading for a title defense in 2023.
While the program will see the departures of guys like Tim Elko, Justin Bench, Kevin Graham(could return) and Hayden Dunhurst to name a few, head coach Mike Bianco will be tasked with building a roster capable of producing wins again next season.
The transfer portal is basically free agency these days, and the Rebels have seen Derek Diamond, Drew McDaniel, Jacob Ellis and Knox Loposer enter the portal, ending their Ole Miss careers. Bianco has perhaps upgraded via the portal with the arrivals of Nick Pogue from the University of Florida and Division-II All American Xavier Rivas via the University of Indy (not the Indiana Hoosiers).
With Dylan DeLucia sky-rocketing up draft boards, the Rebs may be looking at the two transfers as the weekend starters following Hunter Elliot. If Rivas can carry over his DII success, he should be able to slot into the Saturday spot while Pogue would replace Diamond as the Sunday starter. While Pogue’s numbers at Florida weren’t eye popping, they also weren’t as bad as Diamond’s, so baby steps right?
Rivas is a lefty coming off a season with 128 strikeouts in 80 innings and a 2.24 ERA. Yes, the competition was not SEC caliber by any means, but he did what he was supposed to do against inferior opponents. The potential is intriguing for the rising junior.
Pogue had 4.81 ERA last season, a season in which he was returning from Tommy John surgery. He only amassed 86 strikeouts in 84 innings, so the hope would be he continues to improve coming back from his injury.
These are just two pieces to add to what could be one of the top pitching staffs in the SEC next season. A solid start for Bianco’s first ever title defense season.