Never On Sunday?

The Ole Miss baseball team needs to rethink this day of rest thing on Sunday. For the fourth straight weekend, the Rebels lost in lopsided fashion in a series final, this time to Florida 13-1.

While it's obvious the pitching is a problem on Sundays, it's the hitting that hasn't come through as well.

"We've talked an awful lot about the pitching, because yes, it starts on the mound," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "One run on six hits. We've got to score too."

So they go back to the drawing board to search for an answer to their Sunday woes. Centerfielder Tim Ferguson said losing by large margins on Sundays have become a problem for this ballclub.

"It's pretty frustrating. I was frustrated all day," said the junior who had one of the Rebels' six hits after going 5-for-5 in Saturday's 15-3 win over the Gators. "It was everything. You can't pick out any one thing. It wasn't the pitchers. It wasn't the hitters. It was everybody. It got to 6-0 and we kinda shut it down, which is wrong. Coach (Bianco) warned us not to do this again, and we're not going to do this again."

The last four Sundays this season Ole Miss has lost 12-3 to Tulane, 10-8 (after trailing 10-3) to Louisville, 12-3 to Kentucky, and now by 12 runs to Florida.

Bianco said good teams, which the Rebels have proven to be at 19-6 overall and 4-2 in Southeastern Conference play, don't lose in this manner on a regular basis like the Rebels have four straight Sundays.

"You can't play like this, and that's the message (to the players)," he said. "It's one thing to have a bad game and get beat up. You can't get beat up once a week. You can lose, but you can't be a good club and get beat up too many of these games. It's not healthy for you. It's not good for your club. Regardless of looking at the silver lining and winning two out of three, getting beaten up is not acceptable."

The Rebels appear to continue to search for a Sunday starting pitcher. So far, only two have been given a shot – Trent Rothlin and Matt Tracy. But as the game progressed today, Bianco tried several pitchers, and everyone of them gave up at least one run to the visiting team from Gainesville.

"They all pitched and they all gave up runs," Bianco said of Eric Callender, David Goforth, and Brett Huber, who all came in after Rothlin and Tracy. "You try to pick the hottest guy, but it was hard to pick the hottest guy today. Rothlin was the hot guy coming out of the bullpen (based on recent relief performances). At certain times I thought certain guys pitched well."

But none of it allowed Bianco and staff to come up with who might start next Sunday against Tennessee in Oxford. After the game Sunday, there had been no decision made as to who would start The Governor's Cup game against Mississippi State on Tuesday night in Pearl.

The Gators led 8-0 before the Rebels got their lone run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Matt Smith grounded out to get Kevin Mort home after the senior shortstop had reached on a base hit. Mort had moved to second on a UF error as Ferguson reached, then Mort moved to third on a Taylor Hashman ground out.

The Gators (18-5, 4-2) went on to score five more runs and for the game outhit the Rebels 15-6.

Gator starter Brian Johnson got the win and is 2-1. Rothlin got his second loss of the season to go along with three wins.

Every aspect of the game was one-sided and not in the home team's favor. For a team that looked so dominant the first two games of the series, especially Saturday, the mystery remains as far as game three goes.

"It would be different if we didn't pitch, and we hit and it was a slugfest. Or if we didn't hit but we pitched," Bianco said. "You've got to give yourself a chance to win. We gave ourselves no chance to win today."

And that's become all too common on Sundays for this Ole Miss Rebel team.


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