Bat Crazy

OMAHA, Neb. – The NCAA ran a routine bat check Friday afternoon, and Ole Miss lost a few of its bats. The end, right?

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Not so much, if social media and message boards are to be believed.

The NCAA tests the bats of all eight participating teams in the College World Series for dents, etc., by dropping a ring down the barrel. The bat passes if the ring falls without interruption.

But Twitter and the like had some fun with the story, with fans of opposing schools inserting their own nonsensical interpretations of the events. Some even attempted to go so far as to claim the inspection was exclusive to Ole Miss.

"Routine thing," Ole Miss hitting coach Cliff Godwin said. "To be quite honest with you, I was a little ticked off myself because some people got a hold of it and ran with it. Our bats are 100 percent legal, it's just they had some dents in it. For anybody to try to take away from anything we've done this year is ridiculous."

"All that's happened is they run a ring through the bats and if the bats have a dent in them, they pull them out," Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. "We had a handful of bats that were dented, I'm sure just like other teams. There's a difference between that and a bat that doesn't meet the specifications as far as the way it's made. All of our bats, Easton does a great job. They're used in batting practice and throughout the year. It's not like a wooden bat where nothing changes in the bat. The bat ends up getting dented a little bit. Some bats had dents in them, so they pulled them out."

"Our bats are 100 percent legal, it's just they had some dents in it."

Sikes Orvis, who homered with a new, bright yellow Easton bat in his final at-bat of batting practice Friday, had to give up a bat, as did Will Allen and a few others. Thing is, Vanderbilt lost bats, too, as did TCU.

"From what I understand, it's a routine thing, just checking all the bats," Orvis said. "I was talking to a lot of guys last night at the (opening ceremony) and a bunch of guys from different teams got their bats taken, too, so it wasn't just us. Every team got bats taken. Everybody was affected by it."

Orvis, a first baseman, is Ole Miss' most powerful hitter, leading the Rebels with 14 home runs. He's the only Rebel in double-digit home runs, and his .402 on-base percentage is second on the team behind only Austin Anderson.

"I was seeing stuff people were writing," Orvis said. "It was just kind of funny to see them reach for something to talk about. They were doing a routine check. Nothing more than bats being dented and all the teams getting their bats taken."

Ole Miss centerfielder Auston Bousfield is tops on the team in hits with 96. He has six home runs on the year, good for third. The story, in his opinion, is much ado about nothing.

"Everyone made a big deal about it, but it was just a couple of dents in the bat," he said. "You're not supposed to have dents and things like that. Happens after you hit a while. People are trying to make a big deal out of it, but it really wasn't a big deal at all."

Ole Miss opens CWS play Sunday at 7 p.m. CT against Virginia. The game will be broadcast by ESPN2.

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