By Adam Brown
With the 2021 Ole Miss baseball season fast approaching, the Rebels are currently ranked No. 4 in the country by Baseball America’s most recent preseason poll.
Coming into the season, the Rebels have received top-five designations from Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game, as well as a No. 6 ranking from D1 Baseball. The Baseball America ranking is the Rebels’ highest preseason slot since they were ranked No. 4 entering the 2008 season.
Coach Mike Bianco’s club is one of two Southeastern Conference teams in the top four. No. 1 Florida. No. 6 Vanderbilt, No. 8 Mississippi State and No. 10 LSU round out a group of five SEC squads in the top 10. Arkansas (No. 14), South Carolina (No. 18), Tennessee (No. 19) and Alabama (No. 25) gave the league nine teams in the Top 25.
The Rebels are coming off of an impressive showing in 2020 going 16-1 prior to the campaign being cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ole Miss’ lone loss came on opening day to No. 1 ranked Louisville before the Rebels fought back to take the series by winning the back end. The 16-game winning streak was the longest in collegiate baseball and one shy of the program record.
At the end of the 2020 season, Ole Miss was ranked in the top five nationally and extended its 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).