Midweek Notebook

Ole Miss is 9-1 on the young season and will take its first road trip this weekend to face TCU of the Mountain West Conference. The three-game set with the Horned Frogs will be the Rebels' first action since dropping a 7-5 decision to Arkansas State Wednesday.

The setback to the Indians was a tough one to swallow for a team playing with confidence and momentum thanks to the hot start. With a busy travel day Thursday, getting past the first loss will be paramount.

The Rebels are departing from Oxford at 1 p.m. today for a flight leaving Memphis at 5 p.m. After getting into Fort Worth, Texas three hours later, Ole Miss will practice on site late tonight with possible rain and light snow flurries in the forecast. In the words of Mike Bianco, "What better conditions to bounce back."

With the loss and travel plans coming close together, this is the first test for the team leaders. The veterans know you lose in baseball, but that message needs to be translated for the younger guys that had yet to do anything but win.

"It is a game that we need to put behind us as quickly as possible," Logan Power said. "We just need to go to TCU and play well. We still have confidence. You tell the young players to keep fighting, put it behind you and stay focused. The quick turn-around in baseball helps with that."

No Break for Basham

Brett Basham had to fight for his job during the fall and early spring, but it appears that the junior will be locked into the starting spot everyday for the foreseeable future. With fellow catcher Kyle Henson expected to miss 18 more games due to a NCAA rules violation, Basham will be back there shouldering the load until at least the JUCO transfer is cleared for competition. Even after, expect Basham to log the majority of the innings.

Freshman Zach Rutland is the backup with Henson out, but starting Rutland in order to give Basham a day off isn't in the present plans. Rutland is 0-6 offensively and hasn't had a runner attempt to steal with him behind the plate in limited action.

"No (not worried), we try to get him out of the game when we can," Bianco said. "If you're talking about getting tired or the fatigue, no, I think he can do it."

Pomeranz Impressive Again

Freshman Drew Pomeranz is beginning to create a buzz each time he is called to the mound. The imposing left-hander was electric again Wednesday with a mid-90s fastball and a knee-buckling curve. The Collierville, Tenn., native pitched the final two innings, striking out four and allowing one seeing-eye single. For the season, Pomeranz has allowed one run and struckout 18 in 8.2 innings of work.

"You can see the gun up there," Bianco commented. "For a big left-hander to throw 93-95 consistently into the strike zone. And then what people haven't talked about is the curve ball. The curve ball is awesome.

"It is 78 to 80 MPH and is a hammer. It isn't a little spin ball. It is a true curve, not a slider. That is even more impressive. At 6-foot-5, that thing is coming down on you. It is pretty intimidating I would think."

Pomeranz's emergence has opened a variety of options for the Rebels at the end of games. For the time being at least, his role will be joining Justin Cryer and Scott Bittle as stoppers.

"With him, Bittle and Cryer, that is how we are looking at it," Bianco said. "Those three will come in late. He has pitched well even as the starter, but watching him at this point, and it may change in a couple weeks, it looks like that is what he can do. He can come in for two innings and really hold anybody at bay.

"With (Lance) Lynn and (Cody) Satterwhite starting and those three in the bullpen, we think we are in pretty good shape. We need a good start out of Nathan (Baker) this weekend."

Pomeranz was a possibility for the third starter slot, before Baker pulled away late in the preseason.

OM Spirit Top Stories