That’s a wrap

Ole Miss went 0-2 in the Los Angeles Regional with offensive struggles against opponents’ front-line pitching.

The Rebels had just nine hits and scored just runs in the two games.

Going back to their only appearance in the SEC tournament the Rebels had complete games pitched against them twice in their last three outings.

Ole Miss finishes the season 30-28.

It was an unusual season. Offense was never approached the levels of last season when Ole Miss won the SEC West and made its College World Series run.

But it was much better late in the season when the Rebels won six of their last season and finished with a winning SEC record at 15-14. Ole Miss upped its team batting average about 20 points over the last month of the season.

At other times though hitting was more erratic, and pitching depth was never really there.

At mid-season the Rebels were hitting .249, and in seven of their losses gave up 10 runs or more. They end the season hitting .265 and with a 4.38 team ERA.

The pitching depth was hurt by injuries, the loss of junior college transfer Sean Johnson, who was set to be the No. 3 SEC starter.

Though he did not sustain a season-enduring injury I suspect health was an issue at some level for senior Sam Smith, who began the season as the No. 2 starter but wasn’t nearly as productive as he’d been earlier in his career.

In the regional the Rebels had opportunities — whether with walks allowed by Maryland’s Mike Shawaryn or with hits against Bakersfield’s Hayden Carter. Christian Trent on Friday and Brady Bramlett last night both pitched well enough to win, but Ole Miss could never get the big run-scoring hit. Against Maryland the Rebels almost got no hits, finishing with two, but the opportunities were there.

The positives with this team were the way it played in big series — winning series against Florida and Vanderbilt, splitting with Texas A&M and getting games off LSU and Louisville — and bridging the gap after the CWS team with another NCAA bid. At times that was very much in question because of the inconsistency that led to an unusually high number of non-conferences losses.

Pitching will be interesting next year. Probably Trent and Bramlett. Johnson’s plans are unknown, but a guy who was going to be a starter this year would certainly be a boost. I could see Wyatt Short or Jacob Waguespack possibly transitioning to SEC starter.

A lot of experience will return among the position players, but Sikes Orvis will not, and there’s no obvious star power among the hitters right now. Someone will have to emerge.

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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