Great hitting, or not so great pitching. Take your pick.
The Ole Miss baseball Rebs were on fire at the plate this weekend, combining for 58 runs in three intrasquad games.
It's always hard to evaluate collectively during the fall. When an Ole Miss pitcher is facing an Ole Miss batter, it's hard to be 100 percent correct on which is better or to feel totally good about the outcome of an at-bat, an inning, or even a game.
So in this case, I choose that it's great hitting the Rebels are coming up with halfway through fall ball. I saw most of the activity and this team obviously has some great hitters. Newcomers and veterans alike got into the act.
Alex Kliman, a two-letterman junior, is trying to work his way into the lineup somewhere – either at DH or catcher or in the outfield. His bat is doing some talking. The Germantown, Tenn., product hit three home runs over the weekend including two round-trippers on Sunday in a 3-for-4 day.
First baseman Peyton Farr, the fourth-year junior, continues to press for playing time with performances like his 5-for-6 one on Sunday, including a two-run triple.
And those are guys that haven't played a lot here in the past. But we're seeing those type efforts throughout the squad in the hitting department.
Five home runs on Saturday – one each by Jon-Jon Hancock, Dan Black, Logan Power, Cody Overbeck, and Zach Miller – spiced up the 20-run contest before several hundred fans who dropped by prior to the Ole Miss-Georgia football game.
The Henry brothers - veteran Justin and rookie Jordan – had three hits apiece on Friday. Jordan, likely the speediest guy on the team this season, drove in a pair of runs and stole two bases – all on Friday.
Freshman first base candidate Andrew Clark had a solid weekend as did fellow Indiana rookie Dan Black, who homered twice.
Newcomer (juco) Fuller Smith continues to impress with his bat and also his play in the outfield. It will be hard to keep him out of the lineup. All-star SS Zack Cozart is quietly having a solid fall and was 3-for-5 on Sunday with a home run and five RBI.
Senior C.J. Ketchum and sophomore Brett Basham continue to lead at the catching position. Basham is likely ahead right now in that situation. Both had two hits on Sunday.
The race for third base is heated and fun to watch. Sophomore Cody Overbeck is really playing well there and is having a great fall at the plate. He was in the outfield some last season but is naturally an infielder; actually a third baseman. The Atoka, Tenn., (Munford High) native was 3-for-4 Saturday with a single, double, and home run.
Black is also in the mix at third, as is redshirt freshman Devin Hicks, who had a home run on Friday. I'm going to breakdown a few positions with some stories as the fall moves on. We'll take a look at the third base candidates (or at least the ones playing there most of the time this fall) in the next few days as the Rebs try to find a replacement for all-everything Chris Coghlan who manned the hot corner for three great years.
Sophomore Logan Power isn't flashy; he just goes out and gets the job done every day. With the competition for outfield spots, I wouldn't say his job is completely secure. But I feel fairly certain Power will be one of the three come springtime. Last year he was more in left; this fall more in center.
Sophomore JoJo Tann has played some outfield and done well. Redshirt freshman Cullan Kight is still heavily in the mix at first, along with last year's first baseman turned catcher Ketchum, Farr, and Clark.
Players like Zach Miller and Evan Button are what I'd call more than able backups in the infield. Freshman David Kindred has been getting some PT there as well.
Freshman Matt Smith, listed as an outfielder, pitched well on Sunday, going three innings, allowing two hits, no runs, with three strikeouts. He came in as one of the stars of this new class and his versatility has shown already.
More on the pitchers later. This weekend was all about offense.
Lots of decision to be made, obviously. It's as competitive as any fall I've seen covering this program in a decade and a half.
Couple of other notes. Junior DH Kyle Mills continues to rehab from his latest surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow a couple of weeks ago. He should be fine in a month or so.
Sophomore pitcher Cody Satterwhite won't see any more action this fall. He's been bothered by some tendonitis in his throwing arm/shoulder, and the trainers/doctors feel it's in his best interest and the team's as well to rest him for a while. He should be fine by second semester and should again be one of the Rebels' top pitchers, just like last season when he set a freshman record for wins with 11.
The Rebels will intrasquad again three times this upcoming weekend: Friday at 2:30, Saturday TBA (probably 5 p.m.), and Sunday at 1 p.m.
It was a tough weekend for Ole Miss as far as refs go. We all saw what happened in the Georgia football game. Has that crew gotten it together yet?
Then Sunday at soccer, the Lady Rebs were basically robbed. That's my opinion, and of course the action happens so fast it's truly hard to tell.
Here's the scenario. In NCAA soccer, there are two OTs of 10 minutes each. If nobody scores, the game ends in a tie.
On Sunday with 4:12 to go in the second OT of a heated battle and with Ole Miss and LSU tied 1-1, freshman Hannah Weatherly scored a goal as the crowd erupted and the Rebs dogpiled on the field. But the officials ended the celebration as they said a Lady Rebel was offsides.
It's soccer. I don't get all the rules. There was no way for me to determine if the call was right or wrong. Our coaches and players protested as LSU's entourage stood quietly watching but cheering internally I am certain.
If that wasn't enough, then with the gameclock winding down, the Rebels had a free kick toward the goal. Brittany Potts kicked it goalward, Jen Hance put the ball in the net with a header.
Second celebration. Second eruption from fans and players alike as Ole Miss had beaten LSU in a very important contest for first place in the SEC West.
But we forgot about the officials. Running out from the goal area, the goal was waved off by a ref. Lady Rebel players fell to the ground in disbelief for yet a second time as disgusted Ole Miss folks from coaches to players to fans voiced their disapproval.
Their main contention was that the ref didn't allow Ole Miss time to set up for the final kick as the clock continued to run. He has the option to stop it and there was some bad communication among the refs and our players. Go figure.
My dad was in the stands watching this one. He summed it up best.
"It was LSU and there were four seconds left when we kicked," he said, with some sarcasm and disgust in his voice as well (he doesn't like LSU much anyway). "Everybody knows you can get two kicks off in four seconds against LSU."
Ah, but old memories die hard. His reference? The Ole Miss-LSU football game in Baton Rouge in 1972 when the Tigers ran two plays in the final four seconds to score a touchdown and extra point and beat Ole Miss 17-16.
So I guess we should have known, huh.
Congrats to the Ole Miss volleyball team on their latest win – this time at Arkansas on Sunday. The Lady Rebels are playing better and could build on their nice start with home matches Friday night against Auburn and Sunday afternoon against Florida.
Offense ablaze for baseball over weekend
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