Last weekend saw the opening of the 2023 Southeastern Conference baseball slate and then No. 3 Ole Miss took one on the chin, getting swept by then No. 6 Vanderbilt. The three losses in Nashville capped an 0-4 weekend.
Ole Miss slid in the polls down to No. 13 but got back on track with an 11-1 run-rule win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday to stop the four-game skid.
Now, Ole Miss (15-6, 0-3 SEC) has the chance to bounce back in SEC play as it hosts No. 3 Florida (19-4, 2-1) for its first SEC home series of the season.
The Rebels got ‘punched in the mouth’ last week but are ready to get off the mat and respond.
“When you get punched in the mouth you got to handle it a little bit better than we did last week,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco on Tuesday. “That being said, the great part about this game is the tough part of this game where it can really humble you. You can be playing really well and feeling really good about yourself and then you can have a week like we did and get knocked to the mat. So you got to get up and you got to play again and the good teams do.”
The Gators are coming off the SEC opening weekend having taken two of three from Alabama after playing the first two games in a doubleheader last Friday due to weather. That could be the case this week with the weather forecast not looking too friendly for Friday’s opening game of the series between Ole Miss and Florida.
SECOND TO ONE
With two more victories, head coach Mike Bianco will pass the legendary Skip Bertman for second-most wins by an SEC head coach. Bianco currently has 869 wins as the head coach of the Rebels, trailing just behind Bertman’s 870 wins as the head coach of LSU from 1984-2001. Bianco played for Bertman at LSU from 1988-89 and coached on his staff from 1993-97.
For the first time this season, every Rebel in the starting lineup scored at least one run in Tuesday’s 11-1 win over UAPB. This was the first time it had happened since June 6, 2022 against Arizona. Ole Miss had just four games last season in which every starter scored at least once.
OUT OF THE GATE
Ole Miss has scored 55 of their 175 total runs in the first two innings of games, 31.4 percent of their total run production. They are outscoring opponents 55-13 in the first two innings of play. 62 percent of their runs have been scored in the first five innings of games.
HOMERS ARE CONTAGIOUS
From March 7 to March 11 Ole Miss hit three or more home runs in three-consecutive games for the first time since the 2019 Oxford Regional. They hit three in a midweek win over Southern Miss, three in a series opening win over Purdue, and then four in their extra-inning win in game two against the Boilermakers. TJ McCants hit four of the 10 home runs, Kemp Alderman hit three, Peyton Chatagnier hit two, and Anthony Calarco hit one.
MVP, MVP, MVP
Ethan Groff was named MVP of the Cambria College Classic on March 3-5, hitting .500 (7-for-14) with eight RBI, five runs scored, and two stolen bases in Minneapolis. He drove in four runs against No. 18 Maryland and four more against Nebraska. The senior outfielder had at least two hits and scored at least one run in all three games of the tournament.
Grayson Saunier struck out 11 batters in his third collegiate start against Minnesota on March 4. It was the most by an Ole Miss starter since Dylan DeLucia struck out 12 in the opening game of the Coral Gables Regional against Arizona last season.