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Bats, Defense Highlight Opening of Ole Miss Baseball Fall Practices

Sikes Orvis and the Rebels open fall practice /Photo courtesy of Andy Knef
Sikes Orvis and the Rebels open fall practice /Photo courtesy of Andy Knef

Sept. 19-20 marked the opening weekend of fall practices for the Ole Miss baseball team, and the results were very positive.
Coming off a thrilling 2014 season that saw the Rebels advance all the way to the College World Series, Ole Miss entertained the fans in attendance at beautiful Oxford University Stadium/Swayze Field with some strong play all around the diamond.
Using a modified scoring system in each of the two intrasquad scrimmages, Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said he was pleased with how the team performed.
“Two things really stood out; one, how well we swung the bat overall, from our young guys and old guys, our returners and newcomers,” Bianco said Saturday afternoon. “We got a lot of good swings off. You always worry the pitchers are going to be so far ahead of the hitters, but certainly Coach Mike Clement and the skill work they’ve done the past few weeks has paid dividends.
“Then, the other thing was how well we played defense. Usually, when you’re not practicing kids tend to carry the bat more and the glove less, so when you get on the field for the first time defense is the thing you have to catch up on. We made some outstanding plays this weekend. I’m really, really excited about how athletic we are in the infield. Everybody knows how many people we lost position player wise, but the young freshmen infielders played terrific, and that’s a good sign.”
In the Oxford Regional last season, Ole Miss played in front of a total of 29,389 fans in its three games, and despite the calendar saying mid-September, the baseball team still found themselves playing in front of a good number of fans both Friday and Saturday.
Saturday was great, but also Friday afternoon you look up and there’s a nice crowd out there,” Bianco said. “It’s a non-football weekend so it’s only going to get better. I know people are excited about baseball and that’s a good feeling.”
Four home runs were hit over the two days, as freshman Tate Blackman, sophomore Colby Bortles, junior Josh Watkins and freshman Kyle Watson each left the yard. Bortles went 5-7 with three runs and three RBI in the two days combined, while Blackman was 4-8 with two runs and two RBI. Senior Sikes Orvis finished the opening two days going 4-7 with a double in Friday’s scrimmage and a triple off the wall in center fieldSaturday.
On the mound, 16 different pitchers were used Friday and Saturday, with no one pitcher going more than 2.0 innings.
The Rebels will continue their fall practice schedule this week with two more intrasquad scrimmages Friday and Saturday at 2:45 p.m. and 11:00 a.m., respectively.
For more information on Ole Miss Baseball, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissBSB and on Facebook at Ole Miss Baseball.
Fall Practice Schedule for Upcoming Week
Friday, Sept. 26 – 2:45 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 27 – 11:00 a.m.
–Ole Miss Sports Information

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