Weather Weekend

There was a good bit of adjusting for Ole Miss baseball because of weather over the weekend. They managed to get two of three intrasquads in over a four-day period. They'll have another one today.

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They went Thursday because they knew rain was coming, got rained out Friday and Saturday, played Sunday, and will be on the field again this afternoon.

Next weekend is all that remains before the season opener at Texas Christian Feb. 17-19. Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said his team continues to make progress.

"It went alright," he said of the Sunday scrimmage. "We've got to get better at bunting. Offensively we're getting a lot of good swings. Pitching-wise I thought it went OK. It's baby steps, but we're getting better on the mound."

The Red team won Sunday's intrasquad over the Blue team 8-3. Juniors John Gatlin and Kody Sepulveda each had solid days at the plate with three hits apiece.

On the mound, sophomore Mike Mayers, freshman Josh Laxer, and senior Jon Andy Scott combined to allow only three runs for the Red squad. A bright spot for the Blue team was junior Dylan Chavez. The left-hander threw four and a third innings, allowing only two hits and no runs.

"Since (Chavez) has gotten back from the (semester) break, he just looks stronger, looks more confident, and more like the kid that we recruited," Bianco said of the junior college transfer. "And that happens. A lot of time in the fall it's tough for the new guys, especially the pitchers. His velocity is higher now. His breaking ball is better and harder. He's put on about 15 pounds since he left (in early December). He looks terrific."

Freshman infielder Jake Overbey is another player that Bianco said has made strides since the fall.

"He's just so much more consistent," he said. "Offensively he's better, but it's probably even more evident in his defensive drills. In the fall, he had a tough time. Now you look at him, and he's been terrific."

Bianco likes what he's seeing from Meyers, and it appears the right-hander is in the mix for a significant role.

"His command has always been probably the best on the team," he said. "He's able to locate his fastball in and out, throw a breaking ball and changeup into the strike zone. He hit 94 today with his fastball. He's getting stronger. We saw spurts of that in the fall where he had a couple of intrasquad games that he threw the ball in the 90s. It wasn't like a high 80s guy that touched 90. He's a guy that pitched in the 90s, and he did that again today.

"When you do that and you're able to locate on both sides of the plate with your fast ball and you're able to throw a breaking ball and a changeup into the zone, it makes it really difficult for the hitters."

Freshman Auston Bousfield, vying for a starting spot in the outfield, had two hits late in the scrimmage. He said he believes hitting will help determine who gets to play in the outfield, since there is talent and depth throughout.

"They all can fly," Bousfield said of the speed of the outfielders. "Hitting will definitely have a part in it, I would think. We'll see how it goes. Hitting will have some sort of say in it."

Bousfield, with one of the team's strongest arms, said facing the Rebel pitchers is a challenge for all the hitters.

"Our pitching staff's pretty good," he said. "You've got Bobby Wahl throwing 95, and Mike Mayers and R.J. Hively throwing low 90s. It's definitely a lot tougher to hit here than in high school. I think the main thing I've had to really focus on was understanding how to hit and understanding an approach and not trying to do too much at the plate. I think that's starting to help me out a little bit."

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