My prediction: Ole Miss baseball is going to go really far this year.
It is hard for me to imagine what it would feel like to be able to see a Rebel championship win happen during my time here at Ole Miss. I tend to be optimistic about all of Ole Miss’s sports, but the baseball team gives me reason to do so.
The Rebels closed out the 2020 season ranked fifth nationally. The team also led the nation in home runs with 35 through 17 games. The Rebels continued to show dominance when they finished No. 3 in slugging percentage, No. 3 in runs scored per game, No. 5 total runs scored and No. 7 in walks drawn. The Ole Miss mound also finished with a team earned run average of 2.92.
The Rebels had one of the most impressive starts to a season in program history. Despite losing their season opener against No. 1 Louisville, Ole Miss went on to win 16 in a row. This landed them multiple preseason awards and Baseball America placed them at No. 4 in preseason rankings.
There are so many people who will be excited for their teams to be brought back out and to see them play. It has been almost a full year since they were able to see the Rebels in action.
“Players, coaches and fans, I know, are excited to put the uniforms back on and get started again,” head coach Mike Bianco said in a press conference. “We’re very fortunate — the players, the coaches — to be part of a university, an athletic department and a community that really cares about baseball.”
This year, Ole Miss is an older team that will be returning with a lot of leadership. Of the nine starters last season, seven will return. The team said goodbye to both Anthony Servideo and Tyler Keenan after the two were drafted into the MLB over the summer. While they left very big shoes to fill, there are others who will be able to step into them.
While these unprecedented times make things difficult, season ticket holders have done an incredible job of making sure that all of the season tickets would be sold out. Fans showed their loyalty, breaking the 2017 record for most ticket sales.
“We broke a season ticket record today, but I’m very privileged to announce today that 7,101 season tickets have been sold,” Bianco said. “Which breaks 2017’s record (6,275) by almost 900 tickets—not a reserved seat left in the stadium.”
Although Ole Miss will have a tough schedule ahead of them, I believe they will have a fantastic season. Many of these players are itching to get to playing again after their shortened season in 2020. With the strength of the bullpen and the incredible coaching staff, the Rebels will be able to go far in 2021.