Fantastic Friday

All I've got to say is watch out Kentucky softball, if Friday was any indication. Today the Rebel softball team is in Lexington for the first two games of three against the Wildcats.

I can't recall a weekend when Ole Miss met the same team in so many sports. Call Friday a very good day for the Rebels.

Victories in all things vs. UK. Women's tennis there? Check. Men's tennis here? Check. Baseball at Swayze? Check.

Mark Beyers' Ole Miss women's tennis team has been one of the surprises of the spring, not just being competitive but winning some big matches. It's been a long road back for a once-proud program, but they appear to have turned it in the right direction.

The Lady Rebels, 10-6 overall and 3-4 in SEC play, are ranked 27th, and UK was 20th. They face another top 25 team Sunday at Vanderbilt.

The second-ranked Rebels wasted little time getting past the 13th-ranked Kentucky men at home Friday. After winning the doubles point in a bit of a battle, the Rebs took the first set in five of six singles and rolled on.

Sunday they host Vanderbilt in their final home match of the season - Senior Day for Bram ten Berge and Jonas Berg. Of course the Rebels will likely host an NCAA Regoinal again in May. But that can wait.

For now the SEC overall leader has four big matches remaining, including the final three on the road at LSU, Arkansas, and State. Once again, no favors from the folks who schedule. But these Rebs are capable of winning them all, no matter where they are played.

Friday night's baseball win for the Rebels was more of the same we've been seeing from this team. They are obviously the definition of the word "team."

Certainly they have never heard of the word "quit." So nobody tell them.

It's so far been a wild week for baseball. Comebacks over four teams to this point have put them Rebs at the 20-win mark the first Friday in April and 6-4 in league play. Couple those wins with the confidence this team seems to have, and you've got the potential for a noteworthy run the next few weeks.

But it's baseball and a lot of times things even out. Will the Rebels lose some close ones before it's over? Normally happens to all teams. It did to Ole Miss last Sunday in the 2-1 setback to LSU.

But the close ones this team is winning have been more of the comeback variety. Earlier in the season it was pointed out the Rebels had come back to win every game they had trailed. The trend seems to have continued.

No better examples than the Friday night 8-7 win against Alabama; remember that one two weeks ago? And then four games this week.

So many players are contributing. The coaches have said all along that there was some difficult decision-making going on to get just the right guys on the field at the right time. While that's normally a never-ending challenge, right now those decisions are working out just fine.

Guys like Evan Button and Kyle Henson are contributing. You know Tim Ferguson and Brett Basham will do their part the rest of the way.

Jake Morgan? Incredible and with a perfect closer's mentality. Never appears rattled. Very level demeanor. Just goes out and gets the job done.

Phillip Irwin? Maybe as key as any player on the roster to have emerged for the Rebels. Few would have predicted him to be this successful. But that's what it takes to make a run. Irwin's performance Friday night, from finding out he would start just before the game to taking care of the Wildcats for eight innings, are the things teams who win have to have.

Kevin Mort? Vacuum cleaner glove so far. Makes most of the plays the Rebels didn't last year at short.

Will Drew Pomeranz be able to go today? We'll know later.

But whoever the coaches put out there on the mound, if the Rebels get behind, they won't believe they're going to lose.

Not as long as there's an inning left to play or an out left to record.

Baseball players talk about "flushing" the negatives. This team seems to do that about as well as any here in a long time.

Kentucky, no matter the sport, is probably doing that today. Ole Miss was its biggest sports nightmare on Friday. Hopefully that will continue as the weekend moves ahead.


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