Not surprisingly, freshman Andrew Clark has already turned some heads in a couple of weeks of fall baseball.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder from New Palestine, Ind., signed with Ole Miss last year and was immediately tabbed as one of the stars of another outstanding recruiting class for Ole Miss baseball. Most observers felt he would be on the field somewhere in his first season at Ole Miss.
Right now that appears to be a great possibility. But - as is the case with first base, third base, and two outfield slots vacated by departed players - where the talented Clark will be is still up in the air.
It could be at first base, but the competition is fierce. There's returning senior first baseman C.J. Ketchum and fourth-year junior Peyton Farr. There's also redshirt freshman Cullan Kight. Those guys have been in the program for some time.
Clark could also DH if he doesn't get the nod at first. There are several candidates for the DH role, and one of the front-runners, Kyle Mills, continues to recover from a recent surgery to clean out some bone chips in his elbow after major surgery early last spring.
Clark's situation, improvement, and status are just a few of the several important "things to watch" as fall ball continues with three intrasquads this weekend.
"The first week or so I just went out there and tried to show them why I'm here and work real hard and show ‘em what I've got," Clark said of the first week of fall ball, which began on Sept. 18. "And also for me it was getting used to things here and the players here and how things work."
So far, Clark appears quite comfortable in his new surroundings.
"I feel things are going well so far," said Clark, who launched a home run out of the park last Saturday in the intrasquad and continued to produce offensively Sunday and this week. "As we continue to play and go on, I'll get more comfortable and get my timing down. My timing is a bit off because I haven't seen a lot of live pitching. For the most part my swing feels good. I'm looking forward to the rest of the fall."
The Rebels' head coach says Clark has been just as advertised so far.
"Andrew Clark is having a good fall," Mike Bianco said. "Offensively you can tell what everybody said about him. All the recruiters and scouts knew about him. Certainly his reputation precedes him. It's nice to see him out on the field and know you've got another player out there. You can already see he's all business. He's a very serious player."
Clark, who knew current Rebel pitcher Lance Lynn from his Indiana days as well as fellow UM freshman Dan Black from the Hoosier state, knows that with all the talent on the Rebel roster that he's in a battle to be on the field in the spring. But he's excited about the opportunity and the challenge.
"It's on my mind but it makes me want to work hard and not make any errors," he said. "Those other guys have been here before and they know how things work. I just want to work hard every day and see how things go."
Clark adjusting quickly to college baseball
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