Published on March 27th, 2012 | by TLV News0
Wake-Up Call Comes Early For Diamond Rebs (by Carver Rayburn)
University, Miss. (TLV) – A two out rally gave Auburn a victory and series win over the Rebels on opening SEC weekend in Oxford, paving the way for a test of resiliency early in the season. Early Monday, Assistant Coach Cliff Goodwin tweeted: “New Day, New Week—Tough Times don’t last, but tough people and tough teams do! The REBS are tough!”
Although the result of the series loss to Auburn, one of the SEC’s weaker baseball teams (if there is such a thing) in 2012 was not the expectation of those in attendance, the attitude of the coaching staff and team seem to be stronger now than ever. #wintheday.
A wake-up call of the sort can be the best thing to happen to great programs. Ole Miss got one early. How well they respond should tell us just how serious this year’s squad is about winning.
Unfortunately, the winning attitude was absolutely missing against Southern Mississippi Tuesday, March 20, as the Rebels were whipped by the Golden Eagles, 10-0. In fact, maybe the wake up call extended itself into Tuesday night. These Rebels looked nothing like the team we saw beat #22 Louisville 18-8 March 14.
A trip to Alabama this weekend will produce the first road test of the season. The Crimson Tide, or Elephants (see, other schools have mascots that have nothing to do with their nickname), came out flat during their opening SEC weekend and were swept by Arkansas. In fact, the Tide has the 11th best overall record in the SEC at 8-12.
If Ole Miss is going to get a road sweep this year, Alabama seems to be the place for it to happen. On the other hand, this could be one of those times we hear a message board junkie use the phrase “That’s Baseball” for the 1 millionth time.
After Alabama, the Rebels return home for a four game home stand. A midweek game against powerhouse Jackson State sets up for the ultimate showdown against the number one ranked Florida Gators.
The Gators, 20-1, will give Ole Miss its toughest assignment of the year. Florida has dominated its competition, losing only once to Cal State Fullerton back in mid February.
The bright spot for the Rebels has been the power behind the bats. Ole Miss has belted 17 homeruns on the season so far with outfielder Zach Kirksey leading the way with eight dingers. Kirksey, who was limited to playing time in 2011, has been the breakout weapon on the offensive side of the ball in 2012.
The Senior is tied with Florida’s Preston Tucker for the most homers in the SEC. However, Florida has four players in the top 10 in that category and has belted a whopping 31 homeruns through 20 games.
Kirksey is not the only Rebel making the headlines. Junior Alex Yarbrough is currently fourth in the league in RBI (25); third in runs scored (22); third in batting average (.410) and eighth in slugging percentage (.477).
On the mound, Bobby Wahl is fifth in the SEC in strikeouts with 34; fourth in ERA (1.55) and third in wins (4). Closer Brett Huber stands at third in the SEC for saves with five.
In order for Ole Miss to get a series win against Florida, the pitching staff will have to be near perfect on the weekend. The defense will have to be error-free and the offense will have to be timely and powerful. Oh, and the fans will have to be loud. And heckle. Just don’t use the same techniques the Southern Miss Pep Band does. #wintheday
(from TLV #152)