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Monday, May 25, 2015

Quick hits from Ole Miss’ first intrasquad

BLOG: While the Gridiron Rebels were getting dismantled in Nashville, the Diamond Rebels were hard at work playing their first intrasquad game of the fall at Oxford-University Stadium.

Because of errands and a few other things I was only able to catch the final four innings of today’s scrimmage. Even so, plenty stood out to me.

THE RUN DOWN: Not that it matters since it’s a scrimmage, but the Red team tied the Blue team 6-6.

Trailing 6-4, the Red squad plated two in the top of the 10th. With Scott Weathersby on the mound and the bases loaded with no outs, Jimel Judon struck out and Will Jamison reached base via an error that allowed Sikes Orvis to score from third to tie the game.

With the bases still loaded, Blake Newalu flew out to center fielder Auston Bousfield. The freshman center fielder fought off the sun, made the grab and doubled up Austin Sullivan at second base to get Weathersby out of the jam (to Sullivan’s credit, Mike Bianco had just said Newalu would be the last out so he was running like there were two outs instead of one…).

In the previous inning, pitcher Casey Mulholland made a diving grab to rob Newalu of a double in right field three pitches before Matt Snyder placed a Weathersby pitch in the visitor’s bullpen. Snyder, who was hit in the face by a pitched ball during summer ball, was wearing a shield over his right cheek when he batted and ran the bases.

THE BOUS: After the intrasquad Bianco said that while the infield defense needed a little work, he liked what he saw from the outfielders. It was easy to see why, considering Mulholland made a diving grab and Bousfield assisted in the play at second and also threw out Jake Overbey at home (with a nice grab-and-tag by Sumrall standout Austin Knight) in four innings I witnessed. As if that wasn’t enough, Bousfield crashed into the center field wall tracking down a ball from Zach Kirksey. After laying face down for a few moments, Bousfield popped back up and remained in the scrimmage. Who says fall ball doesn’t matter? Post-game, Bousfield said the battle to flank junior outfielder Tanner Mathis in the outfield is wide open, listing Kirksey, Judon and Jamison as immediate competition. Will Allen also saw time in left when Jamison came on to pitch the 11th inning (a 1-2-3 inning for the freshman).

LOOKING TO STEAL: Speaking of the outfield, Mathis said his goal this fall is to improve on stealing bases. As a sophomore last season, Mathis was 7-for-13 in heist attempts and 2-for-4 the year before. The speed is there, Mathis said he just needs to focus on better base running and reading the pitcher better (to over-simplify the art of base stealing…).

Look for more from today’s scrimmage in Monday’s print edition of the EAGLE.

THE STARTING NINE: The Red squad consisted of: Austin Sullivan (C); Sikes Orvis (1B); Blake Newalu (2B); Jake Overbey (SS); John Gatlin (3B); Jimel Judon (RF); Will Jamison (CF/P); Zach Kirksey (LF/CF); Will Allen (DH/LF); Matt Snyder (DH). The Blue squad consisted of: Austin Knight (C); Tyler Roach (1B); Alex Yarbrough (2B); Austin Anderson (SS); Preston Overbey (3B); RF Casey Mulholland (RF); Auston Bousfield (CF); Tanner Mathis (LF); Taylor Hightower (DH); Chase Reeves (P/DH).

NEXT UP: Ole Miss will return to the diamond next weekend for a Friday-Sunday-Monday three-game set of intrasquads. For a complete fall schedule and fall roster, click HERE (September 17, 2011)

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