A Step

Now that was more like it, this 10-2 Ole Miss win over Central Arkansas on Tuesday. Wednesday at 3 p.m., the Rebels try to follow up.

Over the weekend the Rebels didn't look in any way, shape, or form like the No. 6 team in the country. They struggled to win any of the three games and won only one.

After trailing 2-0 through four and a half against UCA, the Rebel offense came alive with nine runs in the next two at-bats and left little doubt who would win the game.

One thing is apparent. The Rebels would have been in better shape last weekend had Tim Ferguson been available. He talked postgame Tuesday about being a spark for the team. He was that, and the Rebels need more of that from him.

"He brings so much to the lineup," Coach Mike Bianco said of the sophomore. "He's so athletic. He's a guy who is going to hit for average and also hit for power. He can run. He's only like a step behind Jordan (Henry). He's that fast. He's got a lot of dimensions to his offense. Defensively he played third, then moved to second. He can play anywhere in the infield. He brings a lot to the lineup."

Taylor Hashman bombed one out of the park, his first Division I homer. He had just been called on to DH. He may be a player the Rebel coaches call on more in the games ahead, either at DH or in the outfield.

Bianco said Tuesday it continues to be difficult to select just the right player in several areas.

"I've never had this much difficulty trying to figure out the starting lineup, and even after that who the first guys we're going to go to – who is the first right hander, who is the first left hander? Who do you want to get in? So many guys are deserving, and it's one thing to say depth. But really to this point some of the guys have been interchangeable. It's really guessing."

Bianco expects some of the normal separation.

"It's not likely to stay like that. Some guys will probably separate themselves. So that's what we'll have to do over the next two weeks, play enough people, not just in the positions but also on the mound, to see."

Evan Button's pulled hamstring Sunday unfortunately made some decisions a little easier for the coaches.

"We first thought probably around three weeks," Bianco said of Button's absence. "But each day we feel better about his situation. It seems to not be as bad as we thought. That doesn't mean he will be back in a week. Hamstrings are very tricky things. It's a physical and also a mental thing for him to get through."

Bianco liked his pitchers against Central Arkansas on Tuesday.

"On the mound (Nathan) Baker and (Jake) Morgan were tremendous. Baker had a real good fast ball going for him today, and a good curve ball he didn't throw last year, something he picked up last summer and worked on this fall. Wade (Broyles) and Matt (Tracy) got in at the end and pitched very well."

Bianco said playing in their newly renovated and expanded home park was a thrill for all concerned.

"I'm very proud," he said. "Proud for the program. Proud for the University, for all the Ole Miss fans. This is here because we outgrew the last one. It's not just an expansion. It's a new stadium, and it doesn't look anything like the old one. The field is immaculate. It's a big-league surface. Everything about today was something to be proud of and very neat."

The Rebels didn't have a documented miscue for the first time through four games.

"It was a clean game," Bianco said. "Our first errorless game of the year."

It was that, and it was also a step in the right direction for the 2-2 Rebels.


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