Preseason sixth place pick was a motivation for Ole Miss

A sixth-place projection by SEC coaches didn’t sit well with Ole Miss players in the preseason even if you didn’t hear them comment on their unflattering position.

“We weren’t going to say anything in the media. We just wanted to go out and do our plan and let that speak for itself.”

“We had a lot of question marks coming into the season,” Austin Anderson said. “Being around the guys all fall, coach (Ben) Fleming, the new strength coach, really pushed us to our limits. I knew this team would be tough.”

One of those questions marks was pitching, but a program veteran, Chris Ellis, and a juco transfer, Christian Trent, both finished the regular season undefeated.

“We knew Ellis had great stuff, but he really hadn’t proved himself until this season,” Anderson said. “Christian Trent, we knew he was good, but you never know until you get to SEC play. Our freshmen, J.B., Errol … they’ve played well and have played consistently all season.”

Senior catcher Will Allen said the team’s experience could not be overlooked.

“We knew we had guys coming back who had awesome experience and that we could definitely make a run,” Will Allen said. “And the new guys have stepped in and done a great job.”

The buzz word around the group has been toughness, and that has allowed the Rebels to put themselves in a better position as postseason arrives.

“Obviosuly it was disappointing last year. We hadn’t had much success. We had a pretty good season, but losing … William and Mary had a good team but losing to them twice and never really having a shot at North Carolina State was disappointing. We were looking obviously to make a better run than that. The past is the past now.”

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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