By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Ole Miss players say past performance really is a good indicator of future results.
That’s in spite of their weekend against Auburn.
The Rebels (15-5) hit just .200 in losing two of three against Auburn, well below the .334 average they’d compiled through a 14-3 record in the non-conference season.
Ole Miss began the weekend as the No. 2 hitting team in the SEC. When the Rebels dropped two against Auburn – completing a 2-3 week that included a split of a road series with Louisville – the polls took notice.
Ole Miss peaked at No. 12 in the Baseball America Top 25 last week but in Monday’s release dropped to five spots to No. 17.
The Rebels are back in action tonight at home against Southern Miss at 6:30 p.m.
“We’re fine. It’s like Coach B told us, we can’t win every game in the SEC,” said outfielder Tanner Mathis, who had two of the Rebels’ six hits, one a triple, in Sunday’s 3-2 loss. “We’ll be fine. We’ll bounce back and have a great game against Southern Miss, and we’ll definitely be ready for Alabama on the road.”
Sophomore catcher Will Allen (.471) and senior first baseman Matt Snyder (.400) had strong weeks at the plate, but there were not enough productive at-bats around them.
The Rebels struggled to string hits together over the weekend, getting four hits in the third inning alone, but the inning produced just two runs.
In a game where confidence is often as strong as your last at-bat, Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco is hopeful the Rebels will have greater success tonight. He doesn’t think confidence will be a problem.
“We’ll find out on Tuesday night. We’ve had a lot of good games and had a lot of good outings by guys offensively. I don’t think so, but it’s disappointing that when you start conference play you don’t play better than this,” he said. “One of the things we’ve been able to do all year is bounce back from a bad offensive day and put good at-bats together.
“We certainly couldn’t do it this weekend.”
The Golden Eagles arrive at an uncharacteristic 11-9, a team with youth and key injuries having lost three of its last four, including two in a three-game set with Murray State over the weekend.
Freshman outfielder Mason Robbins is hitting .444 and carries a 19-game hitting streak into tonight’s game. The Golden Eagles collectively are hitting just .287.
“We hit the ball hard, had a couple of balls hit to the wall, Allen got robbed (on a home run), that happens,” Mathis said. “We’ve got to do a better job of having quality at-bats and getting the timely hit.”