By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
Most college baseball fans have many words to describe the game’s umpires, but “perfect” typically is not one of them.
However, when Ole Miss designated hitter Matt Snyder wasn’t getting good pitches to hit, he began to scrutinize each one and rely on the umpires to make what he thought was the best call.
“I was taking pitches that may have been two inches outside, but I still could have hit them. The umpires, are still going to call those (strikes), because they’re human. It’s not like they’re going to call every pitch perfect. I was trying to make it perfect,” Snyder said.
If the last two weekends are an indication, it’s a rejuvenated Snyder who will be in the lineup tonight when the Rebels open a three-game SEC series at No. 5 Florida.
Ole Miss (24-17, 9-9 SEC) begins the weekend tied for first in the Western Division with Arkansas and Auburn.
The Rebels will need every hot bat they can find against the Gators (31-10, 14-4) who will start a pitcher with a sub-3.00 earned run average each day. Game times are 6 p.m., tonight and Saturday, noon on Sunday.
Going into the Kentucky series Snyder was hitting just .176 in SEC play, just 6 for 34. He was 3 for 6 with two doubles against the Wildcats and followed that up with a big series at Auburn last weekend, going 5 for 12 with a home run, a double and six RBIs.
Snyder’s lack of aggression and success had begun to affect his playing time. Though he got to the plate only six times against Kentucky, one of his biggest at-bats was an unofficial appearance when his patience paid off. Snyder drew a walk in the Rebels’ three-run eighth inning as they rallied on Sunday to win 6-5 and earn the sweep.
“He looks like he’s back,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “You watch his at-bats, I thought he looked terrific this past weekend. He looked locked in and confident. From at-bat to at-bat he looked like himself.”
While struggling, Snyder had slipped from the cleanup spot he’s occupied most of his Ole Miss career. Bianco said he’ll most likely move Snyder back into that four hole for the Florida series.
“We’ve been missing that big bat for a while. It produces a lot of runs and takes some pressure off some of the other guy,” Bianco said.
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.