Rebs Talk

The Ole Miss Rebels practiced this morning and then met the press afterward. Following a year on the Regional road, they say it's good to be playing at home again.

"We're excited to be in a Regional and at home," Coach Mike Bianco said. "Certainly we're ready to play some baseball. It's been a long time."

It was a week ago today, to be exact, since the Rebels were eliminated from the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Hoover, Ala.

Ole Miss, 40-17, weren't at their best in the SEC's postseason event. They are asked often about the other teams in the Regional. Bianco said it still remains as much about themselves as the other teams in the field.

"Certainly we try to get scouting reports and get as much information as we can," Bianco said. "Sometimes that's easy and sometimes that's difficult. But I do think it's more about our execution and how we play. We feel we can compete and play with anybody in the country if we play well. We also understand that if we don't play well, anyone can beat you. It's still more about us, how we pitch, hit, field, how we execute."

The Rebels, who still have lost no more than two consecutive games all season, say they are only focused on four-seed Monmouth. The Rebels and Hawks play at 7 p.m. Friday.

"Of course you can't take anyone lightly," said junior outfielder Jordan Henry. "Everyone who gets there deserves it and obviously has a great team. They (Monmouth) will come out and have a good pitcher to throw against us. We'll have to bring our 'A' game, and that's what we plan to do."

Obviously the biggest news from Thursday's Ole Miss press conference was the fact that Scott Bittle is again not available. There is hope he will be ready if the Rebels advance to a Super Regional.

Drew Pomeranz started the Rebels' first elimination game in Miami last year, a 14-1 UM win over Bethune-Cookman. He'll be on the mound when Ole Miss faces Monmouth.

"I know more what to expect," Pomeranz said. "Bethune-Cookman was a good team. Monmouth is a good team. We'll have to bring our 'A' game Friday night."

The Rebels might even keep an eye on the Irvine Regional, which the Rebels are matched up against for next weekend.

"I'm sure some people will probably look at scores," Henry said. "But our main focus will be on each game, one pitch at a time and just concentrate on that and everything will work out the way it's supposed to. We'll worry about that (Super Regional) when the time comes."

Logan Power agreed with his fellow players and coaches that the Rebels have played well basically all year. But he said immediately after a dramatic Friday night loss to Georgia at home in late April, things really came together for this squad.

"That Saturday game against Georgia after that tough loss, we kinda looked at each other and said we really want to play well the rest of the season," he said. "That was a big win for us."

Bianco said this year's Rebel team is equipped again to advance if it plays well.

"Certainly I belive we have the pitching depth," he said. "This team plays outstanding defense. Offensively much has been said about the home run numbers. But they're probably about the middle of the road for all the teams that we've had. Certainly runs scored I think we're right up there with any team that we've had.

"This is a team that won 20 games in the Southeastern Conference, which might have been the strongest year in the SEC since I've been here collectivey as teams go. The 10th team (in the league this season) had a 40-something RPI. The 20 wins in the conferecne were two more than we've ever had, and we tied the most wins with 40 in the regular season.

"For a lot of reasons if you can line them up and judge them, this team is probably as good as any team we've ever had as far as winning games. This is a very talented team that might have flown under the radar a little bit for whatever reason."

They can certainly change that now, beginning with Regional play Friday night.

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