Ole Miss team morale remains high despite losses in last two SEC series
OXFORD, Miss. — The Rebels are coming off of an up-and-down three weeks, to say the least. After starting the season red-hot, Ole Miss has come back down to earth a bit after losing its last two league series. But head coach Mike Bianco, who spoke to the media during Tuesday’s practice, is positive his team can bounce back Wednesday against Arkansas State.
“One of the things that these guys have done all year, and I would be surprised if it would be different now, is they’ve always handled it (well),” Bianco said.
“When it didn’t go our way, either because of the way we played or the other team just played better, they’ve answered and showed up the next day.”
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco on his team’s ability to bounce back
Players were upbeat Tuesday, showing no signs of a team that has been on something of a rollercoaster ride the last three weeks. Freshman Tyler Keenan expressed confidence in his team in his team’s ability to rebound.
“We just need to make a play to get off the field. Our pitchers are doing good and we’re hitting the ball; we just need to make that one play.”
Ole Miss freshman Tyler Keenan
Three weeks ago, the Rebels hosted Arkansas, defeating the Razorbacks 2-1 in the series to solidify their position as a consensus top-five team.
A week later, they traveled to Starkville to take on heated in-state rival Mississippi State, who has struggled mightily after firing their coach three games into the season. Ole Miss would lose the series on a walk-off homer in game three, the Rebels’ first series loss in SEC play.
“I don’t think it’s (our) mentality or anything,” Keenan said. “It’s just baseball, it happens.”
They followed that up with an impressive midweek win over then No. 16 Southern Miss, their second win of the year over the Golden Eagles.
Finally, Ole Miss traveled to Nashville to take on No. 14 Vanderbilt this past weekend. The Rebels took game one, 11-3, but dropped the final two with a score of 8-7 in a doubleheader that consisted of two, seven-inning contests.
“You can’t just blame the bullpen or blame one guy,” Ryan Olenek said.
“We’re just trying to work on little stuff to get better as a team.”
Ole Miss junior Ryan Olenek
Ole Miss is set to play Arkansas State on Wednesday in what will likely be the worst team Ole Miss has played to this point. The Red Wolves are sitting at 12-20 on the year. The matchup should provide a much-needed win going into a tough weekend series at home against No. 23 Georgia.
“We’re very confident,” Olenek said. “We’re starting to realize how good we really are and we’re a tough team to beat.”