Baseball wraps up first weekend of drills

The Ole Miss Rebels went through two instrasquads this weekend. Coach Mike Bianco liked what he saw but says his team has a ways to go before being ready for a game.

Freshman right-handed pitcher Jesse Simpson got his first live action as an Ole Miss Rebel baseball player Sunday afternoon and looked more than solid. Freshman RHP Cody Satterwhite hit 95 on the radar gun.

Freshman RHP Lance Lynn was clocked at 94 on the gun. Junior catcher Justin Brashear was 3-for-3 with two RBI on the day and was a home run short of the cycle while also throwing out a runner at second and having a solid day behind the plate.

Junior outfielder Alex Presley was 3-for-4 with 3 RBIs, falling a triple shy of the cycle. Freshman Cody Overbeck was 3-for-3 with 3 RBIs, also only a triple shy of the cycle.

These and more were highlights of the second intrasquad of the preseason for the baseball Rebs with about 100 fans, parents, and family members in attendance for the three-hour session on a 60-degree day in January.

Other multiple hitters on the day were Justin Henry 2-for-5, Miles Cabeceiras 2-for-3, Zach Miller 2-for-4, Jon-Jon Hancock 2-for-3, and Brett Basham 2-for-3.

Eight pitchers in all saw action Sunday (Lance Lynn, Cody Satterwhite, Jesse Simpson, Thomas Flautt, Jon-Jon Hancock, Bradley Lum, Wade Broyles, and Rory McKean), while six had pitched on Saturday (Tommy Baumgardner, Stoney Stone, Garrett White, Craig Rodriguez, Will Kline, and Brett Bukvich). Only junior RHP Nick Hetland did not pitch. He is still recovering from an abdominal pull from last week.

Coach Mike Bianco was pleased for the most part after weekend No. 1 of the preseason, especially offensively.

"One of the things that's happened to this team all fall and through this first week of practice is that we've hit from the first inning through the last inning," he said. "That's a real compliment to our hitters and what they're able to do."

He also was impressed with some of the pitching performances.

"We were pretty good today," he said. "Lynn and Satterwhite were terrific. We needed that. Yesterday we pitched well at times, but not as good as today. Lance hit 94 in each inning, which is the hardest he's thrown since he's been here. Satterwhite just looked really good, too. He was up there 94 or 95. We really haven't had guys throw it like that since we've been here.

"Simpson flew through his innings. He threw four different pitches into the strike zone. He's not overpowering. He's a guy who will pitch and compete. Couple of ground outs to second. Few pitches here and there. A fly ball. He's out of the inning in like seven pitches. That's Jesse Simpson. He won't throw it (hard) like Satterwhite. But he will keep it in the zone, throw a fast ball, a slider, a curve, a change, move the ball in and out and compete, and just eat up a lot of outs."

Bianco is pleased Brashear is playing so well, both offensively and defensively.

"He's really had some good at-bats in two days and gotten some good swings off," Bianco said of the junior catcher. "He made a great throw (to second) on a great jump by Chris Coghlan, and he needed to make a great throw to get him out. So good stuff by Brashear."

Defensively Bianco has been impressed so far.

"The infield defense has been spectacular. They've turned like six double plays (in two days), and we expect the defense to be good," he said. "The infield has been sharp. On Saturday in the outfield, we made a couple of bozo plays which was a lack of concentration, misjudging or overrunning some balls which cost us some runs."

Here is the complete (or near complete) list of who played where position-wise on Sunday:

First: C.J. Ketchum, Cullan Kight, Peyton Farr.

Second: Justin Henry, Zach Miller

SS: Zack Cozart, Evan Button, JoJo Tann

Third: Chris Coghlan, Devin Hicks, C.J. Ketchum

Left: Logan Power, Jon-Jon Hancock, Cody Overbeck, Brett Bukvich

Center: Alex Presley, JoJo Tann, Evan Button

Right: Mark Wright, Jon-Jon Hancock

Catcher: Justin Brashear, Brett Basham, Alex Kliman, Miles Cabeceiras

As far as DH, it appears several hitters are in the mix: Kyle Mills (currently with a slight injury and did not play this weekend), Kliman, Cabeceiras, Bukvich, Basham, Overbeck (who hit a home run Sunday), perhaps others.

All in all, not a bad start for the Rebels, according to the sixth-year head coach.

"It's the first weekend, but we've got to be a little cleaner," he said. "The season is approaching, so we need to stop making those mistakes. But overall, not bad for the first weekend."

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