By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
Winning big in the SEC and hosting an NCAA regional requires winning on the road, and Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco wants his team to have some experience with that before conference play begins.
The No. 8-ranked Rebels haven’t lost a weekend game after opening with back-to-back home sweeps against TCU and Rhode Island.
They will try to duplicate that success in Miami this weekend against Florida International. First pitch today in the best-of-three series is 5 p.m.
“We always like to go one weekend kind of as a dry run, and I say that not figuratively, and not like spring training or practice,” Bianco said. “It’s the first time a lot of these guys have traveled with us, and the first time with the plane, bus, itinerary, meetings, that type of stuff. We call it a business trip.”
The first order of business will be holding down a Florida International offense that is hitting a collective .329 and averaging 7.6 runs a game.
Ole Miss right-hander Bobby Wahl, today’s starter, has allowed just one run over his first two starter but gave up a career-high six walks last week against Rhode Island.
FIU’s weekend success
The Golden Panthers (7-2) play in the Sun Belt Conference and are coached by former LSU assistant Henry “Turtle” Thomas.
FIU has weekend sweeps of Stony Brook and Manhattan. Its losses have come against Texas Tech, with whom it split two games, and Bethune-Cookman.
Ole Miss (8-1) arrived on Thursday and practiced in the afternoon.
The Rebels split two mid-week games, losing 4-3 to Memphis while committing six errors, then winning 7-2 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
“So we’re on the road. It’s tough on the road, and we have to learn how to win games on the road,” Bianco said. “Florida International will be a huge challenge. They’re very good.”