Why Ole Miss Baseball Student Fans Are a Big Hit
By Josh Barnett
Josh is an undergraduate student at Ole Miss.
Ole Miss Baseball likes to pride itself on having one of the best student sections in the nation, and this year, the team hopes to give those fans some of the best baseball in the SEC.
“I think fans will see this year that we’re a little more dynamic offensively. I think you’re going to see more team speed on the field, more base stealing, going first to third, things like that,” said Assistant Coach Carl Lafferty.
In the home opener series, the Diamond Rebels swept Texas Christian University winning all three games. Fans had extra reason to be excited Sunday when Rebel catcher Stuart Turner hit a grand slam in the first inning, also his first time at bat for Ole Miss.
Fans turned out in droves, despite snow flurries and freezing temperatures on Saturday, with an average daily attendance of 8,342 over the weekend. The Rebels’ attendance ranks second in the nation behind LSU.
“It’s amazing, the best atmosphere in college baseball, we absolutely have the best student section in the country,” said Lafferty. “As a recruiter I go from coast to coast and everywhere I go they know about our student section and they know about our fan base. For anyone wanting to see a great college baseball game I think Swayze Field is a must.”
Prospective All-American pitcher Bobby Wahl says the fan frenzy does not go unnoticed on the field.
“It’s tough to ignore it because it can get so loud, but seeing the student section cheering definitely gets the blood flowing,” he said. “I especially enjoy seeing a home run fly over the fence and the student section just go nuts. It’s great in the dugout to see it happen and see it get on the other team’s nerves. I’d like to think it gives us a psychological advantage.”
The student section can be accessed off of Taylor Road behind the Ole Miss Music Building, located on University Avenue. But watch out for the “beer shower,” which occurs in the student section when a Rebel hits a home run. The entire section throws their drinks into the air, which may or may not be beer. Fans new to Swayze Field learned this Sunday after Turner’s grand slam.
“The best thing about the student section is that all the fans are there relaxing and having a good time. It’s so much more different than the Grove and football season in the fact that you can go out and sit with your friends with no hurry, no rush and just spend the day having a good time cheering on the Rebels,” said Austin Harvey, a regular Swayze visitor.
Ole Miss students who wish to attend baseball games have plenty of reason to do so, including the fact that games are free for students.
“This is going to be a special year, we know it, and the fans should know it too,” said Lafferty.