OXFORD — Ole Miss has already finished its spring, but in this week’s Five for Friday I talk a little about what the offseason may entail and also preview this weekend’s series against Mississippi State.
My story on Ole Miss’ sudden power surger, and what has led to it, can be found here.
OXFORD — Austin Anderson’s walk-off home run against Auburn earned him a place in this week’s Sports Illustrated.
The Ole Miss third baseman is this week’s “They Said It,” for what he said following Friday’s 8-5 win. It’s notable because, in the 13th inning, the Auburn pitcher tried to intentionally walk Anderson. But the ball came across the plate, and Anderson hit it over the right field fence to end the game.
“I just tried to hit it as hard and as far as I could,” Anderson said.
The video quickly went viral, and was the talk of the baseball (both college and MLB) Internet late Friday night and into Saturday morning. Anderson talked about the reaction it today, saying that he was ready to move on from it but knew it was special.
“It was kinda crazy, obviously,” Anderson said. “It’s still surreal to me, just because I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen and then I had the chance to experience it.”
Anderson, a senior, is hitting a team-high .351 this season with four home runs and 23 RBI. All four of his home runs have come against SEC pitching. No. 13 Ole Miss (25-8, 7-5 SEC) plays at No. 21 Mississippi State this weekend.
Go to the 4:26 mark of the below video to see the home run.
OXFORD — With No. 13 Ole Miss heading to rival Mississippi State this weekend, coach Mike Bianco remains uncertain whether or not he’ll have reliever Aaron Greenwood with him.
Greenwood, a senior riding a 19-inning scoreless streak, was scheduled to pitch Thursday afternoon for the first time since aggravating “something” in his rib cage last week.
“At once we thought it was more serious than we think now because he’s felt a lot better each day,” coach Mike Bianco said. “We’re hopeful for this weekend. If it doesn’t happen then we’re pretty confident the following weekend against LSU he’ll be OK.”
Greenwood suffered the injury against Auburn on Friday while fielding a ball that was hit off his foot. He was pulled after the play (Bianco said that was the plan), and did not express any discomfort until Saturday morning.
“We’ll know more later today and probably won’t make a decision until tomorrow morning, after he throws today,” Bianco said. “But probably the biggest thing is how he feels tomorrow morning when he wakes up.”
Now 1-0 on the season with a 1.48 ERA and 16 strikeouts, Greenwood has been a durable multi-inning option out of the Rebels’ bullpen. In 13 appearances he’s thrown 24 1/3 innings, walking six batters and giving up 15 hits.
- Lots of talk this week about the Rebels’ bats, with 24 home runs so far this season. The team hit 23 all season. More on that in Friday’s Clarion-Ledger, but third baseman Austin Anderson (four homers, all in SEC play) said, “I find myself some last year and even more this year, early in the counts, I’m swinging to drive it.”
- Sikes Orvis leads the team with seven home runs, and cleanup hitter Will Allen is right behind him with five. Seven players have hit a ball over the fence so far.
- Anderson on his intentional walk-attempt home run against Auburn on Friday, which was the buzz of the baseball Internet Saturday morning: “It was kinda crazy, obviously. It’s still surreal to me, just because I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen and then I had the chance to experience it.”
- Ole Miss will go with its normal weekend rotation: Chris Ellis on Friday, followed by Christian Trent and Sam Smith. Mississippi State has not announced a Sunday starter, but did say Ross Mitchell (5-2, 1.48 ERA) will throw Friday night. The Bulldogs’ ace confounds hitters with stuff that is not at all overpowering, but gets guys out.
“He’s one of those guys that he looks like the typical soft-throwing lefthander but he’s obviously much better than that,” Bianco said. “The stuff has got a lot of sink, he commands his pitches very well and another thing that’s good about any pitcher is if you can make that pitch to get out of the inning. He has that knack to be able to get out of innings and jams. Another factor that nobody ever talks about is that there are certain guys when they pitch their teams play well. I think his team plays well when he pitches. I give him credit for that.”
OXFORD — Ole Miss is now No. 9 in the NCAA’s official RPI, released Tuesday.
That’s an improvement of one spot from a week ago for the Rebels (25-8, 7-5 SEC), who won all four games in the past seven days and are No. 13 in the USA Today coaches’ poll.
The only bad part of the above sentence is what sweeping Auburn did to the Tigers’ only RPI. Auburn fell 20 spots, all the way to No. 65.
No longer are those three wins top-50, which could have really helped an Ole Miss team that is 7-1 against No. 51-100 but only 1-6 against No. 1-50.
Today’s opponent, Memphis, is No. 32. Ole Miss will also play Murray State (No. 292) and Mississippi State (41) this week.