Baseball gets started

After a couple of days that the weather dictated they couldn't get outside on the field, the Ole Miss baseball team finally got to play an intrasquad game Sunday at Oxford High School.

Scout Day, when pro scouts from all MLB teams attend, was scheduled for Saturday but was called off. The Rebels will intrasquad again Monday afternoon at OHS.

"It's disappointing to lose a couple of days to the weather, but it was good to finally get out here today," said Ole Miss ninth-year head coach Mike Bianco. "Today was a good day, and every time you're out here for a first day it always has that enthusiasm to it."

There should be some stats available from the first two days following Monday's game, and Bianco added a few comments on Sunday about some of the individual hitters from day one.

"Cullan Kight got two big hits. Jeremy Travis did well (a double, a home run). Michael Hubbard got a big home run at the beginning of the day. Zach Miller got a home run. Tim Ferguson got a double and a home run and hit the ball really well. Some guys had good days."

The Rebels hit with aluminum bats Sunday for the first time this fall. In earlier workouts they'd used wood.

"Mentally that probably was a big difference," Bianco said. "You're swinging something a little lighter and that the ball jumps off a little more. Certainly the size of the field (315-345-360-345-315) has something to do with it.

"Pitching-wise we probably didn't throw as many strikes as we should have," Bianco said. (Full lineup of pitchers from Sunday and Monday will be available after Monday's intrasquad.)

Travis, the 6-foot-4, 214-pound senior outfielder from Spring, Texas, said it was good to be out on the field and get some hits.

"It's real fun to be playing and to see some live pitching," he said. "Everybody was having fun, and that's an important of it."

Travis, who was in Oxford all summer, was 2-for-3 with a home run, a double, and a strikeout. He led off the innings when he came up to bat.

"Just to get out here and start competing is great," he said. "You get a feel for the game again, and that's part of what the fall is all about."

Aaron Barrett, a 6-4, 205-pound junior RHP from Evansville, Ind., said pitching on day one was special.

"I felt good out there," said Barrett, who pitched two innings, striking out three and allowing two hits with a run and no walks. "Everything went well. I'm glad to be out here."

Barrett has a fastball of 90-94 mph, a changeup, and a slider he claims is likely his best pitch. He said the first day of any practice period is always a day to look forward to.

"This was the first time to really be out here and play baseball," Barrett said. "We've done a lot of individual work, and it's good to be out here as a team."

Barrett said he definitely has some goals in mind for the fall.

"I'm expected to be one of the weekend guys, and I'm going to work hard to fill one of those spots," he said. "I want to do everything I can to help the team win."

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