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Ole Miss Baseball Practice Report: Game Week at Swayze

After three weeks of intrasquad scrimmages, the Ole Miss baseball team will face its first taste of outside competition this fall as Mike Bianco‘s Rebels are set to host Jacksonville State on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT at Swayze Field.
The Rebels will play two exhibitions games this fall—Saturday against Jacksonville State and two weeks later, Saturday Oct. 28 against Memphis. All fall exhibitions and scrimmages are free and open to the public at Swayze Field.
Gates open at 11 a.m. CT. Parking is available for free in all lots across the street from the stadium, in left field and in street spots adjacent to the field. Parking is not permitted in right field. No pets are allowed. Limited concessions will be available in the main concourse.
Fans will have their first opportunity to see the Rebels against an outside opponent, the players will finally see a different uniform when they look across the field, and Bianco and his staff will have 14 innings to analyze how their players perform in a more competitive setting.
“It breaks the monotony. The fall can get long, the 45 days that you’re out there. To be able to play somebody in a different uniform is always exciting,” Bianco said. “We see, as coaches, the advantages of both—of playing yourself in an intrasquad game and being able to evaluate and see more guys at one time, but there’s also a huge plus when you see them against somebody else, when you see them compete against another team in the other dugout. I know the guys are excited and the coaches as well.”
Through three weeks of fall practice, there is little doubt who has swung the best bat for Ole Miss. Several newcomers and returners have put up strong numbers through nine scrimmages, but no one has shown the power or the discipline of Jackson Ross.
A transfer from Florida Atlantic, Ross leads Ole Miss in nearly every offensive category: batting average (.417), on-base percentage (.563), slugging percentage (1.292), runs scored (11), hits (10), doubles (3), walks (7), fewest strikeouts (1), home runs (6) and RBI (12). As Bianco looks to figure out where to slot his best nine hitters, he has moved Ross to a number of different slots around the field, but regardless of where the prized transfer will land, Ole Miss is expecting him to be a major part of its offense.
“He’s shown great leadership in coming in and being willing to do anything that we’ve asked,” Bianco said. “Offensively, you can see why he’s such a highly touted player in the portal. It’s not just the power. He has tremendous power, but he hits the ball to all fields. Just a great approach and just a really mature hitter.”
Ole Miss has also benefitted from added maturity on the mound this fall. JT Quinn and Grayson Saunier are back for Year 2 after each starting a dozen games as freshmen, and both look bound for a sophomore surge rather than a sophomore slump.
With essentially a full outing under their belts through three appearances, the pair tops the Rebel pitching charts, each at a 1.17 ERA through 7.2 innings of work. Quinn is tied with fellow returning starter Xavier Rivas with a team-high 12 Ks. Saunier, meanwhile, has been the Rebels’ most efficient arm, leading the team with just 0.65 walks and hits allowed per inning pitched.
“I still think there’s more in the tank. They continue to get better,” Bianco said. “It’s one of those things where it’s hard to put in words or show visually the word experience, but you see that in them every day that they walk out there. They don’t look like freshmen. They look like seasoned vets out there, the way they handle themselves, the way they go about their business, and both have gotten off to a really good start this fall.”

Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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