Rebel bats beginning to wake up

The Rebels' hitting wasn't what anyone wanted it to be nor thought it would be through four games. But back to back 14-hit games have everybody feeling better about the Ole Miss offense.

New assistant coach Rob Reinstetle, in charge of hitting, says the fact that it took a little while for things to come around isn't necessarily surprising.

"The last couple of games, we've done some very good things," he said. "We've been more aggressive and had some guys step up and do well. But we knew that would happen."

He also knows there's always a good chance that any one day or any one game could find the Rebels struggling at the plate again. That could be because of the pitchers the Rebels face that particular game. Or it could be a bad approach some hitters take or some bad habits that they suddenly develop that might need to be corrected.

The last time out it was the long ball that gave Ole Miss what appeared to be a comfortable early lead at 11-3 on Memphis. But the Tigers closed the gap as the game went on, and basically all the Rebel runs were needed. In the top of the ninth inning, Memphis had the tying run at the plate. The final score was 12-9.

Fuller Smith launched a two-run home run in the bottom of the first, and Cody Overbeck sent one over the wall, a grand slam that put Ole Miss up 6-3 in the bottom of the first. Before the second inning was done, the Rebels had the eight-run lead with Logan Power launching a three-run homer that nearly hit the scoreboard in left center and a solo shot by Overbeck for his second roundtripper on the day.

Power is the team's leading hitter so far, batting .450. Three other Rebs are currently batting at least .400 - Brett Basham at .438, C.J. Ketchum at .421, and Jordan Henry at .400.

"There are several reasons," Reinstetle said of the Rebels' improved hitting. "After this many games, the hitters have seen more pitching. They're feeling better at the plate and have had a lot of good BP. It all seemed to come together against Evansville (Sunday, a 14-hit, 4-1 UM win) and Memphis (Tuesday)."

Players and coaches know there are ups and downs at the plate, but consistency is obviously what they strive for. Overbeck says the Rebels knew the bats would eventually come around, and they hope things stay that way.

"We're a great hitting team," the Rebels' third baseman said. "After five or six games, you knew we'd hit the ball better and score more runs. It was time for the bats to break out. We're gaining more confidence all the time."

The 11th-ranked Rebels, 5-1 on the season, host Wright State today at 3 p.m., Saturday at 1:30 p.m, and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The Raiders, who had three games at Morehead State in Kentucky called off due to weather last weekend, are opening their season in Oxford.

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