One quick practice note: Starting shortstop Austin Anderson did not participate in the team’s practice.
Head coach Mike Bianco said Anderson got sick with a stomach virus Wednesday night and was resting at the team’s hotel.
“I’d be shocked if he wasn’t playing tomorrow,” Bianco said.
In Anderson’s place was Jake Overbey, who has mostly been used as a defensive replacement for Ole Miss’ revolving door of second basemen this season, got extra reps at shortstop.
Last season, Overbey started all four games of the College Station (Texas) Regional due to injuries to Anderson and Blake Newalu.
Anderson has been a top-of-the-order bat for Ole Miss this season, hitting .300 with three homers, 39 runs scored and 38 RBIs. He has also only struck out 13 times in 55 games.
Overbey is hitting .130 in 23 at-bats.
(UPDATED: 9:50 a.m. CT, 5.21.2013) THAT’S WHAT HE SAID: Below are some questions and answers from Thursday’s post-practice interviews:
— — — Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco — — —
Message to Auston Bousfield?
Just stay positive. It’s been a tough couple of weeks but a guy who has been our guy. He’s been there all year long. Baseball is a tough game and there’s times that you don’t feel good and there’s times that you don’t have success. Mentally it can really cripple you, but mentally you have to stay positive. One of the good things about this is that there really is a break. A lot of times when you’re slumping you tell kids, ‘hey, turn the page. Act like you’re batting .ooo now and start over.’ But you can really do that in the post season. You can really start anew regardless if you’re a position player, pitcher or what have you. I think this week watching him take BP he looked terrific. he swung it great today on the field and hopefully he’ll have a good weekend.
Worry about his confidence?
I think you worry all the time about kids and how they feel about their game. But he has been through it. He has started just about every single game for two years and has had a terrific career up to this point. He’ll be fine. He’ll get through it.
He’s a difference maker, as we have talked about all year. People see the numbers and the batting average and the RBIs and certainly he’s a force in our lineup, but the reason he’s a true difference maker is defensively he’s as good as they come. He’s the best catch-and-throw guy that we have had. He’s great with the pitchers, a great receiver, he’s going to block all the balls and of course he can get rid of the ball very accurately with a very strong arm. To have that guy game in and game out for nine innings behind the plate has really been a big difference for us.
He’s back at the hotel with a stomach virus. I’d be shocked if he wasn’t playing tomorrow. He just got sick in the middle of the night.
On Doak Field at Dail Park (320 to left, 370, 400, 380, 330)
It’s much more fair to the hitters. I wouldn’t call it small because it’s not Baton Rouge or some of those other places, but it’s more true — especially down the lines. Even with the wind blowing in, Mathis and Jamison hit balls out today; they won’t do that at our place with the wind blowing in. It’s not as big as our park, but not as small as some of the others.
— — — Ole Miss starting pitcher Mike Mayers — — —
On starting vs. William & Mary:
I enjoy the pressure and obviously right now Game 1 is the biggest game of the year.
More about the Tribe:
I’ve been told they can swing it so we’re definitely going to have to play our best tomorrow.
On possibly throwing again on Monday:
That’s in the back of your mind, but then again you have to take care of business before you worry about anything. My goal right now is to get the ball to Bobby Wahl.
What can you take from UK start?
My last start just kind of proved that fastball command is big. If I can command both sides of the plate with my fastball it opens up a lot of things.
— — — Ole Miss catcher Stuart Turner — — —
On NCSU ace Carlos Rodon:
He’s a USA guy. I try not to face too much attention to it. It’s my first year and people laugh at me when they (mention someone) and I say ‘who’s that?’ You just have to go out there and play ball. I don’t know the scouting report on him and I’m not worried about it. We have to beat William & Mary. We’ll do that tomorrow.
How important is it for Bousfield to get straightened out:
We know he’s right around the corner. Any day he can go 4-for-4. Just having him in the outfield tracking down balls, we need him for more than just his stick. We need him to play great D and he does every day.That’s one thing about him, he might be 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, but he’s going to make a spectacular play and run a ball down in the gap that you thought was a base-clearing double. … We know one of these day’s he’s going to get that big hit but until then we just know he’s going to play D and help us out that way.
On having success on the road:
We have stressed this year going on the road and being road warriors. Going on the road and being able to win and how important it is shows the character of our team. We’re able to go on the road, get out of our routine, get away from Swayze and still be able to accomplish our goal and win series and do pretty well on the road.
Talk much to Carlos Rodon or Trea Turner?
We talk a little bit and text. They’re always joking around with me and stuff and I’m always giving them crap.
On Trea Turner:
Trae’s a tremendous talent, one of the best hitters in the country. He’s extremely fast. His big thing is his speed tool and how well he runs the bases. … he’s ready to go at all times.
It’s been a long time since your last start:
It’s been a while. I threw a bullpen yesterday and the coaches were joking around with me asking if I still knew how to pitch.
— — — Ole Miss center fielder Auston Bousfield — — —
Where’s your confidence level?
It’s alright. You really just have to keep playing for your team more than anything. The guys need me out there on defense. Even if I can’t help at bat, I can always play defense. I just have to keep working and I’ll get out of it eventually.
What have you been working on?
Coach Godwin always helps us with our swing and stuff like that. We watched some video and he told me some things I can work on to shorten up my swing and hit more balls to the right side. Just working on staying inside the ball.
Tough not to look at stats and get consumed by that?
It’s hard. We have a QAB (quality at-bats) chart and Coach Godwin tells us to be more worried about our QAB average and hitting the balls hard that way you can still know you’re putting good swings on the ball. It’s hard not to look at your stats, but you have to remember we have a QAB chart for that reason. … I’m not too bad. I was pretty high before this little skid.
What about your swing got out of whack?
I think I was just trying to do too much, trying to swing a little too hard and too big. I’ve been working a lot on just shortening up my swing and going straight to the ball. I think I’m getting closer.
On starting over in the post-season:
When we were taking BP on the field yesterday, Coach Godwin was saying they’re not going to have your batting average up there, they’re going to say whatever you did in the post-season. It’s like a new season, just got to refresh and restart.
Also below are interviews with William & Mary left-hander Jason Inghram and head coach Jamie Pinzino as well as N.C. State head coach Elliott Avent:
(For more from the Raleigh (N.C.) Regional, check back at OxfordEAGLE.com.) (May 30, 2013)