'Total Team Disaster'

Just a week ago Ole Miss was ranked 12th in Baseball America, had swept Houston with ease, and split with a top 20 Louisville team, the win coming by an 18-8 margin. That was then.


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This is now. Since then the Rebels have lost three of their last four games, two of them to Southeastern Conference foe Auburn, and Tuesday night by a 10-0 count to Southern Mississippi.

The Golden Eagles, now 12-9, outhit the Rebels 17-3. Something has gone wrong with the performances by this Ole Miss baseball team, and the coaches are going about the business of trying to figure out just what the problem is.

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco didn't mince words when describing the game.

"Tonight was a disaster," he said.

Bianco said it's more than just about the play on the field.

"We've got to get tougher," he said. "We can't feel sorry for ourselves. We've got to have better at-bats. We've got to hit more balls hard. We've got to get more swings off. We've got to be on time more for the fast ball. We've got to hit when we've got opportunities with guys in scoring position."

Despite the discrepancy in the hits ratio, Ole Miss had several baserunners. In addition to the three hits, the Rebels had five batters walk and four more reach when they were hit by a pitch. But they left nine of those stranded – including five in scoring position and a bases loaded scenario in the fifth inning.

Alex Yarbrough, team co-captain along with pitcher Bobby Wahl and the team's most consistent hitter, was out of the lineup Tuesday night, still recovering from an arm situation he suffered in Saturday's game against Auburn.

"Alex felt a little better today, so that was good news," Bianco said. "He wanted to play badly, but he won't swing tomorrow or Thursday. We'll probably wait until Friday. This is the first day he felt better."

Bianco said he is "pretty confident" Yarbrough will play at Alabama Friday night.

The Rebels, now 15-6, miss Yarbrough in the lineup.


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"There's no doubt," Bianco said. "He's arguably the best hitter, not only for us but maybe in the Southeastern Conference. That's a big blow.

"But that's no excuse," Bianco continued. "You can't fall off that much. There's other good players, and collectively we haven't been able to do it for the last four games. It's a lot of reasons. But tonight, no chance. Our three hits and our three errors, two of them in the outfield, and then giving up 17 hits. Today it's a total team disaster."

Tanner Mathis, a junior veteran with one of those outfield errors, said Tuesday's result can't happen again.

"That's not acceptable what just happened," he said. "They beat us in every phase of the game. We didn't hit good enough. We didn't do anything right. We should bounce back from this, practice well, and play a lot better at Alabama."

Sam Smith (1-2) suffered the loss for the Rebels as he allowed four runs – but only one earned – on eight hits through 4.0 innings of work. Smith struck out four and did not walk a batter.

Paxton King (1-0) picked up the win, facing one batter on the night, but entering the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth inning. King got Matt Snyder to fly out to end the inning and kept Ole Miss off the board.

Down 4-0, Ole Miss had its best shot at getting on the scoreboard in that fifth inning, loading the bases with two outs before King was able to get the fly out from Snyder to end the scoring threat.

A three-run home run from Blake Brown in the seventh inning pushed the lead to 7-0, and four singles and a groundout from the first five batters led to three more runs in the eighth for the final margin of victory.


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