Look of a Veteran

Brett Huber has had a strong fall so far. The fourth-year junior has stepped up like a veteran should. The right-handed pitcher says it's all part of the plan.

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"This summer I stuck around (Ole Miss), because I wanted to get better at a lot of things," the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder said. "I had a lot of control problems last year, and there were some mental aspects of the game I needed to figure out."

In 2010, his first year to pitch after redshirting, Huber was sensational. Last spring as a sophomore, not so much. He admits that now.

"I think I put a lot of pressure on myself. That's one of the things I've learned, with (peak performance coach) Brian Cain here, you can't do that. My freshman year, all I thought about was one pitch at a time. I succeeded with that. I think last year I got ahead of myself way too much, and I think I was trying to have the same year I was having the year before."

Huber stepped in during the 2010 season as a closer when Jake Morgan went out with injury. He was named a Freshman All-American by multiple sources after 30 relief appearances that season, posting a 2-0 record with 12 saves, one shy of the single-season record set by Stephen Head in 2003.

He struck out 54 and walked 19 in 48.1 innings of work. He allowed only 19 earned runs and held opponents to a .216 batting average against with a 3.54 ERA.

Last spring Huber was 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA in 30 innings. He had four saves in 23 appearances, with 21 strikeouts and 20 walks. Not quite the numbers form 2010, and he is working to get back to his former self on the mound.

Emotion is a part of Huber's game
Bruce Newman

"This summer I just really needed a break from baseball, because I was really upset with myself last year," the Belleville, Ill., product said. "But that's in the past now. I'm focused on keeping the ball down in the zone. I've changed my mechanics a little, changed my arm slot up. I was more on the top, and this year I've kinda moved it over.

"I'm going with two seams now instead, not really worried about throwing 92 miles per hour, just throwing 88-90 down in the zone and letting the ball run. Let the hitters get ground balls. And I really developed a changeup. It's been working out.

"Last year I also was throwing instead of pitching. This year I'm really focused on pitching, not trying to blow it by people, and trying to work down in the zone. It's really been working out for me well in my bullpens and intrasquads."

Last weekend, Huber pitched three innings with seven strikeouts and no walks, hits, or runs. This past weekend he walked three with no strikeouts but again gave up no hits or runs.

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said Huber is on the right path to having a successful year this time around.

"Huber is pitching with a lot of confidence," he said. "He just looks very mature out there. He looks like a four-year guy, a guy that understands how he needs to be successful, and that's to command his fastball down and work in good counts. Throw a good slider into the strike zone, and he's done that."

Huber said the Rebel pitching staff is solid, and the newcomers are impressive.

"This year is the first year everything is wide open," he said, referring to the departure of all three weekend starters. "It's very exciting. We all want to pitch on the weekends. That's our goal. The young guys are incredible. They're out here every day working as hard as they can to get better. They know what they're doing, and they're out here to get outs and let the coaches know they can pitch."

Here is a synopsis of each of the intrasquads this weekend.

The Red and Blue squads played to a 6-6 tie at Swayze Field Friday afternoon. The offense stole the show as Rebel hitters collected 21 hits and 12 runs over the course of the 10-inning intrasquad. Tanner Mathis led all hitters with three hits and two runs scored. Austin Anderson, Matt Snyder, and Austin Knight also drove in two runs each. The Rebels were also active on the base paths as the hitters stole six bases on the day. Huber was impressive on the mound as he pitched three no-hit innings in a start for the Blue team. Preston Overbey drove in a run in the eighth inning to put the Blue team up 6-5. However, the Red team answered in the ninth as Austin Sullivan lined a RBI single into left field to tie the game.

On Saturday afternoon, strong pitching propelled the Red team to a 5-0 victory. Mike Mayers started the game and scattered three hits over four innings. Josh Laxer and Blair Wright followed him with six innings of hitless relief. At the plate Blake Newalu led the Red team, going 4 for 5 with one RBI, while Will Jamison drove in three runs. For the Blue squad Bobby Wahl allowed one run in four innings, and Jon Andy Scott allowed one hit in three innings of relief.

The Rebels broke out the bats in a big way as the Red team came from behind to win Sunday's intrasquad 7-5. RBI hits by Alex Yarbrough, Zach Kirksey, and Andrew Mistone in the sixth inning tied the game for the Red team. Then in the 8th the Red team scored two runs on throwing errors by the Blue team to go ahead 7-5. Sam Smith shut the door on the Blue team as he gave up one hit in the final three innings. The Rebels also piled up the extra base hits as the two squads combined for five doubles on the day.

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