After its first midweek loss of the season to Mississippi State in the Governor’s Cup, Rebel baseball is hoping to get back into the win column with its upcoming series against LSU this weekend.
Head coach Mike Bianco seemed to understate his midweek frustrations on Wednesday, expressing his readiness to forget the performance and move on.
“When the game doesn’t end the way you want, it’s not a lot of fun,” Bianco said. “But it’s too late in the season to get caught up on one game. It’s the Southeastern Conference and you have to get ready to play the next day.”
A major bright spot for the Rebels moving forward is the ability of senior outfielder Tim Rowe to step up when he’s needed. As a fill-in for Ryan Olenek, who was downed by a shoulder injury last weekend against Georgia, Rowe was outstanding on Tuesday. He had big shoes to fill, as Olenek saw his injury take him off the field in the middle of a19-game hit streak. Coach Bianco expressed minimal concern about the status of Olenek’s injury given the depth of his lineup and lack of severity of the injury.
“From yesterday to today he’s made gains, so we are hopeful,” he said Wednesday. “There’s a chance he could play this weekend.”
Tim Rowe’s performance off the bench is just the latest proof of the strength all the way through this Rebel lineup. From the explosive offense to the relentless pitching rotation, this team has the depth and skill to be consistently dangerous.
“One of the reasons we’ve had success this year is because it’s happened from different people,” Bianco said. “It hasn’t just been one guy in the lineup. It seems like every night we’re talking about a different hero.”
Bianco has seen so many outstanding performances from his starters this season: Thomas Dillard, Tyler Keenan, Ryan Olenek, Chase Cockrell, Ryan Rolison, etc. The righty Will Stokes has emerged as the hero closer recently, lighting it up from the mound. Lately, however, depth guys like Tim Rowe and Michael Fitzsimmons have been showing the strength of this roster through and through and demonstrating why the Rebels could be headed to Omaha this summer.
With one of the strongest bullpens in the country, the Rebels are facing an evolving LSU pitching rotation who have been stringing together some solid performances in recent weeks. Brady Feigl will be starting on Saturday and hoping to add another win to his perfect record of 6-0 when pitching at Swayze this season. He will be pitching against freshman Ma’Khail Hilliard, who matches up impressively well with the redshirt junior.
No. 5 Ole Miss is trying to win yet another SEC series. Having won four out of six this year, the Rebels will be looking to finish out the season strong. Ole Miss and Arkansas have dual possession of first place in the SEC West, but LSU sits only a single win behind.
This is the first week this season that LSU has not been in the rankings. This ended a 124-week streak of consecutive appearances in the polls for the Tigers. The Rebels have not lost a series at home this season and are hoping to continue the streak this weekend, while LSU is 2-10 on the road in SEC play.