Bianco says first weekend was typical

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco sent his troops through their first two intrasquads of the fall over the weekend. He says things were fine and should get even better as the sessions continue.

It was a typical first fall weekend, said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco, as he sent his Rebels through intrasquads on Saturday and Sunday.

"There was some good and some not so good," he said as the Rebels hit the field again Monday to continue fall practice. "Nothing really stood out either way. We saw some good things and also some things we know we can improve on."

Young pitchers were the rule of the day Saturday, while on Sunday the veterans took center stage.

"The young guys gave up more runs on Saturday than we'd like, but defensively we were OK," Bianco said. "On Sunday we were better defensively and the older guys pitched well. But you expect that."

Among the new players, Bianco thought Nathan Baker pitched well on Saturday, and on Sunday he liked what he saw from veterans Will Kline, Lance Lynn, and Craig Rodriguez.

"But it's so early in the fall and most of them have pitched only a handful of innings so far. It will be good to see them more as the fall continues.

Freshman RHP Matt Smith impressed on the mound and at the plate. Freshman Andrew Clark had two good offensive days as did first-year juco player Fuller Smith. Veterans Logan Power and Zack Cozart also produced offensively for the Rebels on Sunday.

On Saturday Clark sent one out of the park as did freshman Tyler McMullen. Obviously the freshmen and newcomers so far have stepped in and stepped up.

"As I said, there weren't really a lot of surprises out there," Bianco said. "It's the first week and we feel good about things. We'll see how things go as we continue fall practice. But so far it's been about what you'd expect."

The Rebels will intrasquad at 2:15 p.m. on Friday, at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday in the fall's annual Red-Blue Game, and on Sunday at 1 p.m.

"We usually wait until later in the fall to have the Red-Blue Game, but we wanted to do it in conjunction with a football weekend, and we felt like Georgia was a good weekend to do that," Bianco said. "We hope we get a lot of fans to come out for all the intrasquad games, and especially the Red-Blue Game on Saturday."

Below are Seth Keshel's reports from the two scrimmages this past weekend:

Saturday's opening scrimmage of the 2006 Fall campaign saw many new faces take the field for the Rebels. The Blue squad, captained by the likes of Zack Cozart and Jon-Jon Hancock, defeated the Justin Henry and C.J. Ketchum's Red squad by a count of 10-5.

The Blues took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth, when freshman first baseman Andrew Clark launched a Jake Morgan fastball well over the right field wall to make it 4-3 Blues. Two more runs in the frame made it 6-3. The Blues would add a pair of runs in the eighth when freshman Tyler McMullen took fellow freshman right-hander Matt Smith deep to left.

Evan Button (2x4), Jordan Henry (2x3), and Cozart (2x5) led the Rebels on offense. Appearing on the mound were (Blue team): rFr. RHP Rory McKean (2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K), Fr. RHP Tyler McMullen (1.67 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K), Fr. LHP James Wiley (Win, 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 K), Fr. LHP Kevin Parker (1.67 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HBP), and Jr. RHP Jon-Jon Hancock (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K). For the Reds, it was rFr. RHP Wade Broyles (2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB), Fr. RHP Jake Morgan (Loss, 1.33 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB), Fr. LHP Nathan Baker (1.67 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 K), Fr. RHP Matt Smith (1.33 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K), and Jr. RHP Colby Wark (1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 K).

Three freshman pitchers showed good power arms. Nathan Baker is a lefty who was 87-90 with a sharp 80 MPH slider. Morgan was 86-91 with a solid curve, and Smith was as high as 92 with a heavy fastball. Wiley has a good-looking curve, and should pick up velocity as he continues to work this fall.

In scrimmage action Sunday, the Blue Rebels defeated the Red squad by a count of 5-2. Pitching was the name of the game today, as mostly veteran hurlers threw today. Jr. OF/RHP Jon-Jon Hancock gave the Reds a 1-0 lead in the second when he homered to right off So. RHP Lance Lynn (2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 K). Jr. 2b Justin Henry scored for the Reds in the fourth on Jr. OF Fuller Smith's groundout to make it a 2-0 game. The Blue would take the lead for good when they tagged So. LHP Brett Bukvich for three earned runs in the fourth, with the first coming on Cody Overbeck's towering homer just to the right of straightaway center field. Freshmen Andrew Clark and Matt Smith were instrumental in the offensive firepower for the blues, as were Logan Power and Zack Cozart.

Appearing on the mound were as follows: Blue: Lynn, Sr. LHP Craig Rodriguez (2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER), Jr. RHP Scott Bittle (Win, 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 K), Jr. RHP Nick Hetland (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K), Jr. RHP Thomas Flautt (2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB). Bittle was very impressive. He features a low 80s cutter with exceptional movement. For the Red, it was Jr. RHP Will Kline (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 4 K), So. RHP Cody Satterwhite (1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K), So. LHP Brett Bukvich (Loss, 1.67 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K), So. RHP Jesse Simpson (2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 K, 1 WP), Jr. LHP Michael Robbins (1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K), and walk-on RHP Dayne Cutrell (2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 K). Kline was outstanding, already throwing 89-93 MPH fastballs at this stage in the fall. Cutrell is a walk-on from Alabama who was up to 88 MPH on the gun Sunday. Overall, Sunday's game was much sharper than Saturdays, especially from a pitching standpoint.

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