Finale Win

Sunday’s win in the finale of the Central Florida series was big for the Ole Miss baseball team. Not just because it was a victory but also because this team needs some things to go right for it. They need some positive reinforcement.

It was UCF's first loss of the year. The Knights fell to 10-1.

The Rebels' record now stands at 6-4 after three one-run games in Orlando. Now they head into the final stretch of non-conference contests before traveling to LSU for the Southeastern Conference opening series the weekend of March 13-15.

This week it’s a trip to play Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg Wednesday night, followed by a weekend three-game series at home against Stetson. Then the following mid-week two games at Louisville before heading to Baton Rouge.

Every college baseball team has had to battle the weather elements. Few likely have had to tap dance and bounce their way through the first two weeks like Ole Miss has.

No doubleheaders were originally scheduled to this point. However, since the season began on Friday, February 13, the Rebels have played three doubleheaders. That’s right. Three.

They’ve had one game postponed for a week because of weather (the result a 2-1 win over Arkansas State at home). And they had a home game with Central Arkansas last week postponed until later in the season.

Now it appears the game in Hattiesburg could potentially be in jeopardy because of snow and ice in Mississippi Wednesday.

Weather concerns. What else is new?

Starter Sam Smith had a good outing Sunday in the finale. The Rebels won 4-3 over the Knights, and Smith gave up two runs on four hits, had one walk and two strikeouts.

“He’s still got a ways to go, but today he was sharp with all four pitches and really located well,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. “He just seemed to make pitch after pitch today and was much more consistent with confidence and had great body language.”

Hometown player Sikes Orvis hit a home run in the victory, his third of the young season. So did another local, Colby Bortles. It was his second round tripper of the 2015 campaign.

Jacob Waguespack relieved Smith and went an inning with one run on three hits, a walk and a strikeout.

“Wags did exactly what we wanted him to do,” Bianco said. “He threw hard and threw it in the strike zone.”

Wyatt Short, who pitched the final inning of Friday’s game, closed the third game out with 2.2 innings of no run, one-hit, four strikeout pitching.

“Wyatt knew he would run out there again,” Bianco said. “And he was terrific.”

Holt Perdzock was 2-for-3 in the last game as the designated hitter.

"To win the last game, you feel a little better going home," said Bianco. "We're close. That's a team (UCF) over there that is playing with a ton of confidence. An older group and a talented group. You can tell the confidence they play with. In game three today we seemed to execute and make pitches when we had to."

Orvis said playing in his home area was again a lot of fun. The Rebels played a three-game set at Stetson last season.

“It's awesome. I've seen some people that I have not seen since I left to go to school at Ole Miss," said Orvis, when asked about playing in from of the familiar faces. "It's awesome to see everybody, and I'm glad we were able to get a win for them today."

In the earlier game on Sunday, Scott Weathersby relieved starter Brady Bramlett and was his best this season. He went the final two innings of the seven-inning game allowing nothing and with four strikeouts.

“He gave us a shot to win, gave us every opportunity,” Bianco said of Weathersby. “I thought we pitched well all day long.”

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