For any team of the eight College World Series teams, including Ole Miss, hitting a home run to center field (408 feet) or left-center and right-center (375 feet) will be, put simply, a challenge.
Good news for the Rebels, they don't so much rely on power to score runs. Ole Miss has one player, Sikes Orvis, in its lineup with double-digit home runs. Orvis has 14, followed by catcher Will Allen with seven and centerfielder Auston Bousfield with six.
"I think so many people come here and talk about the size of the park," Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. "Even though we have power, we're not a team that relies on power. One of the reasons our offense has had so much success is it's not just done by a couple of guys in the middle or a couple of guys at the top of the lineup. We have a different starter every night offensively. I think that's why we've had success."
Ole Miss has scored 396 runs this season, which is good for second in the SEC. The Rebels are first in hits (697) and second in total bases (969). They've scored runs in many different ways, from the long ball – they've hit the second-most in the league – to doubles (116) and even triples (15), where they're in the top four in both categories.
Bousfield, the team leader in hits, said he won't change his offensive approach to account for the size of TD Ameritrade Park.
"Not for me, maybe for guys like Sikes or Will who are trying to hit home runs," he said. "Maybe they'll try to be more to the bullpens, things like that, which is a lot like how (Swayze) field is. The ball doesn't really carry to center and things like that. But for most of our guys, I don't think it really affects us much. Hit some line drives, ground balls and good things will happen."
Orvis, however, is working on staying on top of the ball. On his side is a natural pull swing that could play well to right field, 335 feet away. His final swing in batting practice Friday resulted in a home run deep into the right field bullpen.
"We've just got to work on staying on top of the ball and hitting line drives and not trying to get too big and hitting stuff in the air because it's not going to go anywhere," he said.
"We're not going to change our offensive game plan, but we are going to talk about getting on top of the baseball a little bit more and hitting line drives and ground balls," Ole Miss hitting coach Cliff Godwin said. "It's foolish to think we're going to go out there and hit a ton of home runs because there's never been a home run hit from 375 to 375 in the gap. So I don't think we're going to hit one there. I want to make sure we get on top of the baseball and make the defense work."
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