The Ole Miss baseball team recently earned the No. 5 spot in Collegiate Baseball’s first preseason rankings for 2021.
Ole Miss is one of three Southeastern Conference teams in the top five, along with No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Vanderbilt. LSU (No. 7) and Mississippi State (No. 9) round out a group of five SEC squads in the top 10. Georgia, South Carolina and Arkansas are also representing the league in the top 25, while Texas A&M, Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn all landed in the top 50.
Coach Mike Bianco’s club was tied for the best record in the nation at 16-1 before the team’s campaign was cut short due to the spread of COVID-19. The lone loss came in the 2020 opener at the hands of No. 1 ranked Louisville. The Rebels fought back and won that series, and when the season concluded, they were on a 16-game winning streak—the longest in college baseball this year and just one shy of the program record.
The Rebels closed the year ranked in the top five nationally and extended their streak to 36 consecutive weeks in the top 25. Ole Miss led the nation in home runs with 37 through 17 games and finished in the top 10 nationally in slugging percentage (3rd), runs scored per game (3rd), total runs scored (5th) and walks drawn (7th).
On the mound, Ole Miss finished with a team ERA of 2.92, placing the staff among the top 50 in the country. The Rebels were also in the top 40 nationally in shutouts (12th), strikeout-to-walk ratio (20th), walks allowed per nine innings (29th), strikeouts per nine innings (32nd) and WHIP (36th).
Last season, the Rebels received many accolades for their accomplishments on the diamond. Bianco was named National Coach of the Year by Collegiate Baseball at season’s end. Three players were honored as All-Americans third baseman Tyler Keenan, shortstop Anthony Servideo and left-handed pitcher Doug Nikhazy. Two Freshman All-Americans, catcher Hayden Dunhurst and second baseman Peyton Chatagnier.
The start of last season set the Rebels on pace to a 40-win season before the campaign was cut short for the third straight year. Ole Miss won 48 in 2018, 41 in 2019.