Here’s what the lineup will look like on Friday in the season opener against William and Mary and for most of this first weekend.
Infield: 3B Colby Bortles, SS Errol Robinson, 2B Tate Blackmon (true freshman), 1B Sikes Orvis, C Austin Knight.
Knight will be backed up by Henri Lartigue, who could be the DH on opening day.
Outfield: RF Cameron Dishon, CF JB Woodman, LF Connor Cloyd.
Here’s Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco from today’s presser with his opening statement plus the rundown on the lineup:
Bianco seemed pretty settled on eight of his nine position players out of the gate.
“Left field is really the big question mark as we enter the season. Early on we will probably play a lot of guys.”
In addition to Cloyd candidates for early playing time are Josh Watkins and Kyle Watson.
Cloyd and Watkins are juco transfers. Watson is a true freshman, an infielder that Bianco said has played so well in the fall and winter that he really wants to get him on the field.
Dishon is a junior who has been primarily a pinch-runner for his career. He made big gains on offense in the fall and has held off the competition of newcomers to earn the opening day start.
Pitching: Friday Christian Trent, Saturday Sam Smith, Sunday Brady Bramlett.
Here’s Bianco from part of his Q-and-A:
It was looking for a time like Sean Johnson, a juco transfer righty with a big fastball, would be the No. 3 starter.
“He came up a few days before our first intrasquad game with some tendonitis in his shoulder. He’s fine. He threw a bullpen on Friday and will throw another bullpen tomorrow and will pitch on the first weekend,” Bianco said.
Bramlett, another big guy at 6-4, 250, is an intriguing part of this staff. He’s coming off labrum surgery with a world of potential but the question mark of not know how he might respond after a major injury.
“You don’t know when they come off that injury where they’re going to be and how they’re going to be that first year back when they’ve been released, but he had a really good fall. Once we got back his three starts were probably better than any of the starters. He was pretty spotless in January and early February. We’re excited, a guy that when we recruited him a few years ago we knew he would have a big-time fastball, but the slider keeps coming, and there’s an improved change-up. We think he’s going to have a big year,” Bianco said.