By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Opening weekend consisted of two games instead of three and a mixed bag of results against a ranked opponent for Ole Miss baseball.
The Rebels have their home opener today at 3 p.m. against Arkansas State.
Ole Miss (1-1) moved up to No. 20 in the Baseball America top 25 after a split against TCU, which remained No. 15 in Monday’s updated rankings.
The Red Wolves (0-2) lost twice at Lamar over the weekend, falling 10-2 and being out-hit 15-6 on Sunday.
Arkansas State is coached by former Mississippi State player and assistant coach Tommy Raffo.
Going to Fort Worth, Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said he felt like the Rebels were as prepared as he’d seen them in his time as coach to begin a season.
Bianco got five innings and a win from Bobby Wahl in his first Friday night start. R.J. Hively went four innings and got a no-decision in Sunday’s 5-3 loss.
“We showed that (readiness) at times, especially offensive Friday night,” he said. “Andrew Mitchell, their guy, was outstanding. We had some good at-bats against him and hung in there. There we some times on the mound, nothing alarming, but times where Wahl and Hively did not pitch great but hung in and competed.”
Offensively the veteran players had good weekends.
Infielders Alex Yarbrough and Matt Snyder had RBI hits each day. Yarbrough was 2 for 5 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored on Friday.
After an 0 for 5 night in the opener, outfielder Tanner Mathis was 3 for 4 with an RBI on Sunday.
Snyder has a 10-game hitting streak dating to last season.
The outfield included Mathis and two freshmen starters – Auston Bousfield in center and Will Jamison in right – and Bianco liked what he saw from his young guys.
Bousfield threw out two runners in Friday’s game and had a base hit and a run scored in each game.
Jamison was 2 for 4 on Friday, one of his hits a bunt single, and he had a not-so-easy to maneuver catch up against the wall in right field.
“They were terrific. Bousfield throws out one guy at the plate, then dives for a ball, misses, and hits the cut-off man, who throws out a runner at the plate,” Bianco said. “Jamison beats out a bunt and had the leaping catch against the wall. That was a game-changer.”