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Hello, Hoover: Rebels Prepare for First-Round Matchup with Vandy

by | May 23, 2022 | Baseball | 0 comments

HOOVER, Ala. – Ole Miss arrived in Hoover on Monday for the Rebels’ afternoon practice session as they prepare for a matchup with Vanderbilt on Tuesday.

The Rebels (32-21, 14-16 SEC) come into the tournament as the No. 9 seed while the Commodores (35-19, 14-16 SEC) are No. 8.

DeLUCIA READY TO DEAL

Ole Miss will send RHP Dylan DeLucia (5-1, 4.60 ERA, 64 K, 20 BB) to the mound Tuesday following an uncharacteristically rough outing on Thursday vs. Texas A&M (1.2 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 4 BB). But DeLucia isn’t letting that affect him.

The Port Orange, Florida native visited with media Monday in Hoover and spoke about the difference in how he feels going into Tuesday compared to last week.

I was a lot tighter. I was just kinda muscling stuff so instead of my ball running like it usually does it was flattening out and I was leaving it over the middle of the plate. We’re a lot looser now, we did a lot more stretching this week and I feel good.

Dylan DeLucia 

‘THE OLE MISS INVITATIONAL’

The SEC Tournament is lovingly referred to in Rebel circles as “The Ole Miss Invitational” due to the great turnout of the Rebel faithful and the success the team has had on the field.

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco spoke about the environment in Hoover.

We’re fortunate. We draw really well at home and we draw really well here. There’s a huge Ole Miss contingency here and so I really think it’s one of the reasons we’ve had success here because you can feel it. You can hear the people when you’re on the field and that’s what makes this tournament so special.

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco on Rebel fans in Hoover

IMPROVEMENT ON OFFENSE

After struggling through the first half of SEC play, the Rebels have made significant improvement on offense over the last two weeks of the regular season.

Perhaps no one player has had a more drastic improvement than catcher Hayden Dunhurst. He entered last weekend hitting just .229, but after a six-hit weekend is now hitting .258. Coach Bianco spoke of the improvement from his catcher.

It’s just confidence. He had a really good weekend and it really started back during Missouri and the LSU weekend. Not just against right handers, not just against fastballs. You can tell he’s feeling really good because he’s handling all kinds of pitches and handling the righties and the lefties.

Coach Bianco on Hayden Dunhurst

WIN OR GO HOME

First pitch between the Rebels and Commodores is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. CT at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. Vanderbilt will counter DeLucia with freshman sensation LHP Carter Holton (7-3, 3.42 ERA, 86 K, 27 BB).

The Rebel Walk’s Austin Eldridge and Chris Muller discussed the matchup in depth on a preview show Monday night. If you missed the show, you can watch a replay on The Rebel Walk’s Facebook, YouTube and Twitter pages.

Notes from the Diamond

• Ole Miss has reached at least the semifinals of the SEC Tournament every year since 2018.
• The Rebels finished the season winning eight of their last 10 games, including five victories over top-15 opponents, four within the top-10.
• Ole Miss is coming off of a 2-1 series loss to No. 4 Texas A&M. In Friday’s victory, the Rebels racked up 14 runs on 17 hits, the most in both category in an SEC game since the final game of the Auburn series.
• Ole Miss landed three players on the All-SEC teams, announced Monday. Jacob Gonzalez was a first team honoree, while Tim Elko earned second team recognition and pitcher Hunter Elliott earned an SEC All-Freshman spot.
• Elko was one of five finalists for the 2022 Boo Ferriss Trophy, which was awarded to Southern Miss’ Tanner Hall on Monday.
• Elliott’s 3.29 ERA is the 11th lowest in the country amongst freshman.
• In his lone SEC Tournament appearance a year ago, Gonzalez batted .421 with two doubles, three runs and three RBIs over five games.
• Both Gonzalez and Justin Bench are currently riding a 19-game reached base streak.
• Ole Miss has won 30 or more wins for the 24th-straight season, the only team in the SEC to accomplish the feat.

Stay tuned for all the coverage from Hoover!

(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)

Austin Eldridge
Austin Eldridge

Austin has more than ten years in sports media, including sports talk radio, play-by-play broadcasting and journalism. He has followed Ole Miss athletics for his entire life and has covered the Rebels and the rest of the SEC while working in the Memphis media market. Outside of sports media, Austin is a musician and outdoorsman. Before a serious accident forced him to be medically discharged, he was a multi-media journalist with the Mississippi National Guard.

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