By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – The best fit for the Ole Miss baseball staff moving forward will not include promoting from within, Rebels coach Mike Bianco said Wednesday.
The Rebels finished 30-25, 13-17 in the SEC and failed to reach the SEC and NCAA tournaments for the first time since 2002.
On Monday, hitting coach Matt Mossberg resigned.
At this point in the life of Bianco’s program, shuffling the deck is not an option.
“I don’t think that can happen at this time. Certainly we’re not going to bring somebody up. We’re going to try to get the best hitting coach we can,” Bianco said.
The remaining staff includes Carl Lafferty, the recruiting coordinator and Bianco’s lead pitching assistant, volunteer assistant Kirk McConnell and administrative assistant Fuller Smith.
In a season highlighted by a change in bats that reduced the impact of the long ball, the Rebels were third in the SEC with 46 home runs.
They were in the bottom third in most offensive categories, including success in advancing baserunners, where their .471 percentage ranked 11th, a factor in another ranking – double plays. Ole Miss hit into 45 of them, second in the league.
The Rebels tied for seventh in batting average at .282.
Bianco described the Rebels’ offense as inconsistent.
“When I look back at this year, it’s like there were no comebacks, no games that we won really late … zero in the ninth inning, one in the eighth inning, and that’s really over the last two years,” he said. “I think that has to do with a lot of factors. One is that confidence, that consistency. If you hit .300 vs. hitting .280, there are more hits, then more belief, more confidence, so when you get in those situations late in the game when you need to score runs, you’re more apt to do that.”
Bianco said he’s looking for an assistant coach to implement his own system.
Experience at the Division I level is preferred, not mandatory.
“We’re looking for somebody who has the leadership quality to run an offense, somebody that exudes confidence, toughness and can implement their system and get us to be the best offense in the country,” Bianco said.
n Snyder injury update: Designated hitter Matt Snyder received an encouraging initial injury report after being hit in the face with a pitched ball in a summer league game last Saturday in his home state of Virginia.
Tests for Snyder’s vision were positive. He’ll see his doctor again today, and Bianco didn’t rule out surgery for Snyder, who had shoulder surgery last summer.
Snyder was drafted in the 44th round by Washington on Wednesday.
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.