Friday, February 3, 2023

Ole Miss Baseball Overview, Keep Hitting, Stop Blowing Late Games

Sikes Orvis hits a bomb to right.
Sikes Orvis hits a bomb to right.

With just a little over a month left to go in the regular season, let’s take a moment to look at where the baseball Rebels stand at this point in the year.
Ole Miss came into the week ranked No. 12 in the nation, according to the coaches’ baseball poll, with an overall record of 30-12 and 10-8 in the SEC. On Tuesday night, the Rebels dropped a heartbreaking non-conference game to their in-state and conference rival Mississippi State by a score of 8-3 in Pearl, Miss.
Lets glance at the offense numbers first:
Ole Miss looks sharp at the plate this season. The whole lineup, from top to bottom, provides some pop and power. As a club, Ole Miss is hitting at a .300 clip, with 27 home runs and 213 RBI. Their opponents are are batting a paltry .228, which makes one wonder why the conference record isn’t a bit stronger.
Orvis after a home run at Miss. State number eight on the year.
Orvis after a home run at Miss. State number eight on the year. Photos by Andy Knef

Junior Auston Bousfield leads the team in batting averages with at .344. His prodigious numbers include 62 hits, four home runs and 27 RBI. Teammate Sikes Orvis is the other primary power component, pounding out nine home runs on the year.
Defensively, Ole Miss has gloved its way to a .974 fielding percentage through 42 total games. The Rebels have tallied 42 errors. Ole Miss’ fielding percentage tops their opponents who are picking it at a .971 percentage.
After looking at all aspects of the Rebels diamond performance, there is surely still work to be done before a run in post season play begins. This weekend the team travels to Lexington, Ken., for a three-game series with the Kentucky Wildcats.
Moving on to this weekend’s action, Coach Bianco’s rotation is strong with Chris Elis on Friday night, Christian Trent on Saturday and Sam Smith taking the hill Sunday.
In 10 appearances, Ellis is 5-0 with a 1.72 ERA. He also has one complete game through 62.2 innings of work.
In Trent’s ten starts and appearances, he is perfect at 5-0 with a stingy 2.18 ERA. He too has a complete game under his belt.
Smith has a record of 5-3 on the year with a 2.32 ERA in ten starts.
Closer Josh Laxer leads the team in saves with four. The right-hander has a 1.80 ERA in 16 appearances through 25 innings worth of work.
After this weekend, Ole Miss closes out the 2014 regular season home schedule with seven games. The Rebels host Southern Miss in a midweek game, and then play separate three-game series with Arkansas and Georgia.
Ole Miss closes out the season against Arkansas State before a trip back out to College Station to face the Aggies of Texas A&M. Last time there, the Rice Owls defeated Ole Miss in the championship game of the College Station Regional, just before A&M became an SEC member.
Then it’s on to the SEC tournament in Hoover, Ala. At this point, the Rebels sit third in the SEC Western Division standings right behind Alabama and LSU.
If Ole Miss finishes the regular season strong, they have a strong shot at hosting a regional in post-season play. Then, if they keep their strong offensive attack going and stop blowing heartbreaking games in the late innings, they just might punch their ticket to Omaha and the College World Series.
Here are some images of Rebel play thus far this season:
Pre-game at Swayze Field.
Pre-game at Swayze Field.

Braxton Lee rounding second heading for third base.
Braxton Lee rounding second heading for third base.

Austin Anderson slides in safe at home.
Auston Bousfield slides in safe at home.

A great Rebel base hit
A great Rebel base hit

Bousfield's bunt attempt.
Bousfield’s bunt attempt.

Braxton Lee catches a fly ball
Braxton Lee catches a fly ball

Beer showers out in Right field after Sikes Orvis ninth home run.
Beer showers out in Right field after Sikes Orvis ninth home run.

—Adam Brown, sports editor of HottyToddy.com
Photos by Andy Knef, HottyToddy.com editor

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