Notes and observations from the Rebels' loss in Jonesboro ...
A few weeks ago Josh Laxer had all the right stuff (7 ip, 4 hits) in a combined shutout of Southern Miss, but the freshman right-hander hasn't been as good as he was against the Golden Eagles since that time.
Laxer gave up two hits, two runs (both earned) and three walks in three innings. He actually had a 2-1 lead after three innings, but in the fourth inning, things began to unravel.
Casey Mulholland and Dylan Chavez struggled behind him.
Arkansas State totaled 14 hits off six Ole Miss pitchers.
Mid-week games and weekend conference games are incredibly different, because who's on the mound changes everything. Pitching depth has at times been pretty good on the weekends, particuarly last weekend against Tennessee when Tanner Bailey and Aaron Greenwood had such strong outings out of the pen. If Mike Bianco can manage the staff in such a way that R.J. Hively is available to start Game 3, so much the better for the Rebels.
The Arkansas State game, however, shows an unfortunate state of depth on the whole, and that will be magnified in tournament play.
Earlier this week Boyd Nation didn't think a loss at Arkansas State would have too much of a negative impact on the Ole Miss RPI. Too much water under the bridge at this. Boyd's numbers aren't out yet this morning, but Warren Nolan's RPI computes Ole Miss at No. 21 following the Jonesboro loss. Ole Miss went into the game at No. 20, and now they play their final three regular season games on the road at an opponent ranked No. 35.
We'll talk to players and coaches today before they board the bus for Nashville.