Home Opener

Mike Bianco reflected a bit on the weekend sweep of Stetson before focusing on Tennessee-Martin, his team's home opener today at 4 p.m.


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"We played really well. It's great to get off to that kind of start, to win three games in a row on the road," he said. "But we played well in all three phases. To hit that well in all three games, I don't remember a year that early in the season where we hit that well three games in a row."

Bianco said he knew the Rebels could hit. He was just pleasantly surprised to see that happen with a mix of veterans and newcomers.

"Especially with the new guys. I was proud of the new guys. Every time it seems that we put a new guy in or a new guy started, he seemed to get off to a great start," he said.

The top hitters from the weekend were actually veterans. Auston Bousfield led all hitters with an impressive .583 average, followed by Will Allen at .545. After that, Austin Anderson and Preston Overbey batted .462 and .455 respectively.

As for the new players, freshman shortstop Errol Robinson led the way with a .400 average.

"Just getting my feet under me and calming those nerves was big," Robinson said. "Just be ready to play. Coach (Cliff) Godwin has really helped me with my swing and calming my nerves. The older guys have helped me. Defensively it's just doing what I know I can do. Just don't let the pressure get to me. I'm still getting used to this and being a part of the game (at this level)."

The pitching staff was impressive at Stetson all weekend. The Hatters plated just three runs, and there were few free passes by any pitchers on the Rebel staff.

"And we pitched ten guys," Bianco said. "They all really pitched well. They guy who probably pitched the most poorly was (Aaron) Greenwood, who you wouldn't expect. If somebody was going to not have his best outing, it was better that it was someone you know can really pitch. But a high strike percentage by everybody (at Stetson). The difference besides the depth we've talked about is the ability to throw more than one pitch into the strike zone."

Freshman left-hander Wyatt Short relieved Friday starter Chris Ellis and was one of the pleasant surprises of the weekend. He pitched two innings.


Jacob Waguespack
File Photo

"He was as good as any freshman in his first outing has been here," Bianco said. "That's anybody. He was super dominant and struck out four of the six he faced. Total control, throwing fast ball, slider, and changeup and looked terrific. Hit 91-92 and averaged 90. Looked great."

Today's Ole Miss starter, sophomore RHP Jacob Waguespack, pitched to four batters in one inning last weekend with one strikeout and one walk.

"His three outings in the preseason he pitched as well as I've seen him," Bianco said. "He seemed to get a little better each week. The plan all along has been to start him in this midweek game. He's ready. He's the best guy for the job."

Waguespack, battling an arm/elbow injury last season, has worked to get back to top form and pitch at a high level in college.

"This weekend was like a bullpen kind of thing, get in and get your feet wet and get a feel for the mound in a game again," Waguespack said.

He said his elbow feels great.

"The training staff has done a good job. It feels the best it has in my life," he said. "I'm ready to go. In the past two months I've got that strength back, long tossing and all that stuff."

Waguespack said there were some other things to consider as he came back.

"I definitely had to get over a little mental barrier," he said. "I would say that happened this fall. You get over that, and I'm ready to play now."

The Skyhawks are 0-3 after a tough series at UAB where UT-Martin dropped the final two games by a combined three runs, falling in game two 3-2 and the finale 5-3.

Junior right-hander Jackson Zurabin is scheduled to start on the mound for the Skyhawks.


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