Wherever He's Needed

Zach Miller picked up right where he left off last season. Play him where you want, and he'll get the job done.

Second base? He played there last Friday and again Tuesday. Third base? Played it Saturday and Sunday. Looked like a pro? Equally at both.

But that's Zach Miller. The fifth-year senior is as solid as you'll find at getting the job done, whatever it is that he's asked to do.

"It was a good start, especially Sunday," said Miller, who was 3-for-3 that day with a double and two RBI, plus a walk and two runs scored.

Indeed it was. Miller is batting .364 through four games with a couple of doubles and four RBI. He's the team leader in getting hit by pitches, averaging one per game.

But it's his defense and infield play that usually bring him the most attention. At second he makes everything look routine. At third he normally makes a play for the highlight reel at least once a game.

That's that way it was in the past, and that's the way it's been already this season.

"Wherever the team needs me, it doesn't matter whether I'm at second or third," Miller said. "I just want to make the routine plays and make the great ones along the way. I'm up for any challenge."

Certainly that always appears to be the case for the 5-foot-6, 189-pounder.

Miller said he likes the challenges each position presents, and he knows believing in your abilities is the key to succeeding.

"It's all about confidence," he said. "Just knowing you can field any ground ball at any position. You have to be confident mentally, then you'll make the physical plays. Just knowing you can get the job done makes all the difference."

Miller said it was nice to see Mike Snyder back on the field at third base Tuesday as he returned from an appendectomy. When Miller moved to third base last weekend, freshman Alex Yarbrough ably manned second base.

"He did a great job," Miller said of Yarbrough. "The double plays were tremendous. They were smooth, like he's been doing it for four years like I have."

Miller said Yarbrough brings not only defensive skills, but a presence offensively as well.

"Hitting from both sides of the plate is something Coach (Mike Bianco) really likes," Miller said of the switch-hitter. "That's a good asset Alex has. He's open to learning the game more, and I try to help him out with the little things. With more experience he will learn more how to read balls, and he'll continue to get even better."

Offensively the Rebels have been an impressive unit for the most part this early season. A four-hit, three-run day against Arkansas State in frigid conditions being the exception, the Rebels have put up some outstanding numbers.

Against Louisiana-Monroe, Ole Miss lost the opener but won the back two games, amassing 40 hits and 32 runs in the three contests, along with seven home runs.

The Rebels are batting .302 as a team and are 6-for-6 in the stolen base department. They have accounted for 34 RBI and 35 runs scored so far this season.

Miller isn't surprised at all that the Rebels, who host Oakland (Michigan) University for three games this weekend, are a productive bunch on offense.

"This team is really taking advantage of its opportunities," he said. "There's no doubt we have the potential to score a lot of runs every time we play. It's just a matter of going out and doing it."

So far, mission accomplished.

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