Thursday, September 29, 2022

Rebels Prepare for a Tough Regional Matchup Against No. 4 Jacksonville State

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor

Ryan Olenek celebrates a run with his team. Photo by Steven Gagliano.

The Ole Miss baseball team practiced Thursday morning in preparation for a  diamond square off against No. 4 seed Jacksonville State in the Oxford Regionals. First pitch is slated for Friday at 7 p.m. on ESPN 3.

Ole Miss (37-25) garnered the overall No. 12 seed after their performance at the SEC conference tournament last week in Hoover. Prior to the tournament, the Rebels had a tough stretch against Mississippi State and Tennessee to close out the regular season.

Jacksonville State rolls into town on a 12-game winning streak after claiming the Ohio Valley Championship over Morehead.

“They are playing really good baseball in a conference where they won 22 games,” Ole Miss head baseball coach Mike Bianco said. 

The Gamecocks have an ace, Garrett Farmer, who has logged over a hundred innings on the mound.

“It will be a huge challenge for our offense,” Bianco said.

Jacksonville State is no stranger to facing competition from the SEC. They have stepped on the field against Alabama, Auburn and Georgia this season.

“The environment won’t be intimidating to them,” Bianco said. “If you had to pick them, it’s not the No. 4 seed you want to pick.”

Senior Ryan Olenek missed the final home series at Swayze against the Mississippi State Bulldogs but gets a chance to play in front of the home crowd one more time.

“I would not want to play baseball anywhere else,” Olenek said. “It only feels right to come back and host a Regional. It’s definitely awesome hosting at Swayze.”

The Rebels will send out junior right-hander Will Ethridge to the bump to open the Regional. For Etheridge to prepare for his upcoming outing, he said he watched the Gamecocks play a midweek game against Auburn. 

“I do that every Thursday night before I start,” Etheridge said.

Bianco commented Thursday on the status of the third baseman Tyler Kennan.

“Tyler is getting better heading into the Regional. His shoulder is getting better,” Bianco said. “He should be fine.”

Ole Miss will play in the second game on Friday at 7 p.m. on ESPN3. All the live action can be heard on the Ole Miss radio network.

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