Mississippi 2012 Baseball World Series Capsule

Ole Miss Rebels
SEC (34-22, 14-16)

The Ole Miss baseball program, under the direction of Mike Bianco, has definitely gone up a level but it is still searching for that elusive trip back to the College World Series in Omaha. The Rebels have arguably the best fan support environment for baseball at Swayze Field in Oxford and have had their opportunities in Super Regionals like in 2009 against Virginia where, if they had defended their home field, that elusive trip to Omaha would have happened.  With the annual trip through the SEC, Ole Miss will be battle tested and ready for another strong post season run. The draw they get from the selection committee will be critical.

Big Wins: 3/14 at Louisville (18-8), 3/30 vs. Florida (3-0), 4/1 vs. Florida (7-6), 4/7 at Kentucky (9-3), 4/20 vs. Arkansas (8-2), 4/21 vs. Arkansas (1-0), 5/5 vs. LSU (7-4)
Bad Losses: 3/9 vs. Miami Oh (8-9), 3/20 vs. Southern Miss (0-10) 3/24 at Alabama (2-3), 4/24 at Memphis (2-4)
Coach: Mike Bianco (12 seasons at Ole Miss)

Why They Can Surprise:
This team has the ability to battle offensively against top flight pitching as they have seen against the likes of Florida in the SEC. Alex Yarborough and Matt Snyder are the core of the offense along with Tanner Mathis setting the table at the top of the line-up. Zach Kirksey is the other major power source with double-figure homerun totals.  The Rebels should be able to score runs against anyone in the opening regional weekend as long they have good, tough at bats and don’t press against the top-flight pitching that they will see in the Regionals. Brett Huber has evolved nicely out of the bullpen into a quality closer, which is important as usually the bullpens become very important in whether or not a team can go deep in the postseason and make it to Omaha.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Ole Miss does not have that Drew Pomeranz type of pitcher in its rotation in 2012. They have good pitching that keeps their team in most games but opponents can get their offenses going against them. Bobby Wahl is the ace of the starting rotation but, as only a sophomore, he won’t bring a ton of postseason experience to the table. How he reacts will be a huge key for the Rebels. Also, if their offense has games like they have at times in the regular season where they have not quite had as many tough at bats as they should, they could struggle offensively.
Key Field Players:
Alex Yarborough, Junior, IF, .386 BA, 41 RBI
Matt Snyder, Senior, IF, .327 BA, 12 HR, 57 RBI
Zach Kirksey, Senior, OF, .288 BA, 13 HR, 45 RBI
Tanner Mathis, Junior, OF, .350 BA, 21 RBI
Will Allen, Sophomore, C/IF, .311 BA, 23 RBI

Key Pitchers:
Bobby Wahl, Sophomore, Pitcher, 2.20 ERA, 6-2 W/L, 81.2 IP, 84 SO
R.J. Hively, Senior, Pitcher, 2.88 ERA, 5-5 W/L, 75.0 IP, 89 SO
Brett Huber, Junior, Pitcher, 3.38 ERA, 2-2 W/L, 21.1 IP, 22 SO, 9 SV

By the Numbers:
Batting Average: .301 (25th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Offense: 5.6 (110, 6)
Doubles per Game: 1.75 (96, 5)
Triples per Game: 0.20 (174, 7)
Home Runs per Game: 0.66 (56, 5)
Slugging Percentage: .421 (48, 4)
Stolen Bases per Game: 0.66 (240, 11)
Earned Run Average: 3.56 (64, 6)
Fielding Percentage: .976 (22, 5)
Double Plays per Game: 0.70 (204, 9)

Recent Postseason Appearances:

2010Regionaldefeated St. John's, lost to Virginia, eliminated by St. John's
2009Regionaldefeated Monmouth, defeated Western Kentucky, lost to Western Kentucky, defeated Western Kentucky
2009Super Regionaleliminated by Virginia
2008Regionallost to Missouri, defeated Bethune-Cookman, defeated Missouri, eliminated by Miami (FL)
2007Regionaldefeated Sam Houston State, defeated Southern Miss, defeated Sam Houston State
2007Super Regionaleliminated by Arizona State
2006Regionaldefeated Bethune-Cookman, defeated South Alabama, defeated Tulane
2006Super Regionaleliminated by Miami (FL)

*all team stats through 5/20

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