Moments to Remember

Who among Rebel Nation will ever forget Holt Perdzock’s contributions as a pinch hitter in the run to Omaha in 2014?

Nobody.

Perdzock, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound junior from Memphis University School, was a part of some magical moments last season that changed the course of history for Ole Miss baseball.

A contributor all season with 35 total appearances, it was in the postseason that Perdzock had his most memorable and arguably most important moments.

He played in seven games for the Rebels in the NCAA Tournament in the Oxford Regional and the Lafayette (La.) Super Regional. Likely his biggest moment of that particular run came in the third and deciding game of the Super Regional.

Perdzock delivered a two-RBI double with the bases loaded to extend the Rebels’ lead in a 10-4 victory. That win sent Ole Miss to its fifth College World Series appearance.

In Omaha, Perdzock played in all four games, delivering two RBI. He went 1-for-1 with an RBI in an elimination game against Texas Tech in the Rebels’ first win of the event. He had also driven in a run against Virginia in the Rebels' opening game of the CWS.

Although those were unforgettable times for Perdzock and for the program, that was then and this is now.

“They were unreal,” Perdzock said of those games of June. “I still replay them. They were great moments to think about. But it’s a new season, and I just try to focus on this season.”

One thing he wants to do more is play a position. Outfield is the most likely spot for him, especially with only one returning starter out there in J.B. Woodman.

But there is competition, and Perdzock knows there will be a battle.

“Hopefully I’ll have a little different role this year and get in the lineup a little more. I’ve been feeling a lot more comfortable in the outfield. There’s a new group out there,” he said.

Among those are junior veteran Cameron Dishon and newcomers like freshmen Kyle Watson and Will Golsan, both infielders who can play in the outfield, and junior transfers Connor Cloyd and Josh Watkins.

So there are some options to replace a host of departed veterans who played in the outfield during their careers, like Auston Bousfield, Braxton Lee, Will Jamison, and Preston Overbey.

Perdzock will be ready when called on to do so, he said.

“I know I can hit. I hope I can DH some,” he said. “I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better in the outfield. Hopefully I can get out there, too.”

He sees that there are some opportunities to play, given that so many are gone from 2014. But he also sees the competition.

“It’s pretty much wide open. It’s almost like whoever is playing good is going to play out there,” he said. “So I’ve just got to keep hitting and try to stay in the lineup.”

With as many talented athletes that are vying for the outfield spots, hitting may indeed prove to be the overriding factor toward playing time. It’s almost a cinch Woodman is the center fielder this season, replacing the All-American Bousfield. Beyond that, it could be a fluid situation as to the corners.

Perdzock, who hit .324 last season with 12 doubles and a triple, likes this year’s team.

“It’s a very similar team to last year,” he said, confidently. “There’s some different guys and some different parts. But once we get the right guys in there, it will pay off. And I think we’ll be good again this year.”

He also likes what he sees from the newcomers, especially the freshmen.

“They’re really mature for how young they are coming in. They’re all really good athletes, and they can play different spots. They’re going to help us out a ton having a bunch of guys like that.”

Certainly the entire team prepared through fall and through the Omaha Challenge of late fall, as well as the preseason. But it remains that the Ben Fleming strength and conditioning program may be where they are tested the most. That may just be where they are moved to a different level as players and as a team.

“It’s tough. It’s not easy by any means,” Perdzock said. “But at least we knew a little bit of what to expect after going through it last year.”

Perdzock can also catch. He’s considered one of the backups now, one of the guys in the bullpen that are so valuable during practices and games.

“I was talking to Coach (Carl) Lafferty the other day. He wants me to keep catching just in case something freaky happens to Henri (Lartigue) and (Austin) Knight. I know I can still get back there. I still catch some pens and stuff. But hopefully the outfield is where it’s at for me.”

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said Perdzock is a valuable member of the team that can help in a number of important ways.

“We challenged Holt a little bit in the fall to find a position,” Bianco said. “He’s always kind of been that third catcher. But he runs well and he’s a good athlete. He worked hard in the weight room and put on a few pounds. He’s got a good, left-handed bat we’d love to have in the lineup. But we know he can hit.

“It’s tough to come off the bench and hit in critical situations," Bianco continued. "You’ve been sitting for three hours and you have to produce in one at-bat. He can do that about as well as anybody in the country. He can be in the corner outfield mix, and he can DH. He's valuable to this team.”


OM Spirit Top Stories