BASEBALL: Defense is what it is

The Rebels field .966 as a unit. Only three SEC teams committed more errors this season.

When Mike Bianco fielded questions about his team’s defense following its 8-2 loss to LSU in the title game, he said, “It is what it is.”

The translation is he’s pushed all the buttons. There no remaining options as Ole Miss prepares for Friday’s game against Missouri in the Coral Gables Regional.

The area of concern is the infield’s left side, Cody Overbeck and third base and Tim Ferguson at short. Both made nice plays in Hoover, and both had errors as well. Both also offer something very important that allows them to keep their jobs … offense.

Overbeck, the team leader in average (.350), home runs (15) and RBIs (53) has been solid at the plate all year.

Ferguson, a freshman, has come on with the bat, and that’s what’s enabled him to beat out junior college transfer Sean Stuyverson for the everyday job.

The two newcomers waged a near season-long battle at short after Evan Button went down with a back injury earlier in the year.

Sometimes it looks like a throwing error will come from Ferguson if he has too much time to think. He was pretty solid with the glove in Hoover, though his error on a ground ball leading off the eighth led to a run for Kentucky in game two. Overbeck had just made a throwing error the previous inning which led to another run.

Ferguson had an error in the first against LSU, again leading to a run, but bounced back with a decent game.

“He made the error in the first but then made the next two or three plays, which a lot of kids wouldn’t have been able to do,” Bianco said.

Ferguson also had two triples in the tournament, and his steal of third base in the ninth inning against Georgia allowed the Rebels to score a big run late in the 4-1 win.

He gives Ole Miss a chance to do some things in the eighth spot in the batting order.

Missouri is fielding at an identical .966 clip, and it looks like the Tigers’ left side is struggling too. Friday’s game may be about who makes the fewest mistakes.

— PA


4 Responses to “BASEBALL: Defense is what it is”

  1. cr Says:

    At a .966 clip and 27 putouts per game the most we are talking about is one baserunner per game. Walks will be a bigger issue in my opinion.

  2. djrebel Says:

    CR, it seemed to me that some players, I’m thinking Fuller Smith in particular, seemed more willing to take pitches in Hoover. There was still a lot of first-pitch swinging, but on the whole, I thought the Rebels took a few more.

    — PA

  3. cr Says:

    I agree. Justin Henry and Logan Power are the best and just having Justin in the line up helps set a different tone. He is an excellent lead off batter. Ferguson and Basham are the worst with only 7 walks apiece. These guys at the bottom of the order are really hurting us but I hate to be critical of Basham. He did walk once at Hoover. If those two would work at getting at least 4 pitches an at bat it would be real progress.

    Cody and Michael can swing anytime they want as far as I am concerned.

  4. djrebel Says:

    You’re right. Those two need the green light all the time.

    — PA

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