Ole Miss won 15-2 but it was over early. After three innings the Rebels led 11-0, and by then Mike Bianco was subbing.
“Proud of the way a lot of guys made their first appearance as an Ole Miss Rebel,” said the Ole Miss head coach, his eighth-ranked team now 4-0 on the season. “We put all the position players in by the fifth inning.”
It was another one of those tough nights to play baseball. The temperature was never out of the 30s, but a lot of players were able to be a part of their first time on a college field and others their first time this season.
The list was lengthy on those first-timers and also those who hadn’t seen much time this season – Cameron Dishon, Jake Overbey, Holt Perdzock, Austin Knight, Christian Helsel, Sam Smith, Matt Denny, Hawtin Buchanan, Brady Bramlett, and Austin Blunt.
One of the stories of the night was Preston Overbey at second. One of the team’s most athletic, versatile, and talented players, Bianco said he really needs for Overbey to be on the field somewhere as often as possible.
“He took some ground balls there yesterday, and we felt it would happen at some point,” Bianco said. “He’s got to get in the lineup. We’ve got to get him at-bats. In the outfield with (Tanner) Mathis and (Auston) Bousfield and (Will) Jamison, and Sikes (Orvis) at first swinging well and (Will) Allen and (Andrew) Mistone at third. You can’t have too many hitters by the end of the year, I promise you. But at this point you want to try to get him some at-bats.
“So knowing they were going to start a left-hander, we said why not? So we started Preston today, and said let’s try it now.”
Overbey turned a double play early in the game and was solid on other balls hit his way. He was also 2-for-5 with two RBI and four runs scored.
“I only practiced one day there,” Preston said. “I just want to be on the field anywhere with the team.”
He’d never played second base before, but he had played shortstop during his baseball playing days. He said he got a few pointers from some teammates and his roommate – brother Jake.
“My brother, Lance (Wilson), and (John) Gatlin, they all helped me learn it real quick,” Preston said. “Jake’s played it a lot, and we’re roommates and we went home and he continued to tell me about it.”
Is there anywhere Preston Overbey can’t play?
“Last year you know we even put the (catcher’s) gear on him,” Bianco said. “He’s a big, physical kid that’s very athletic. He can do a lot of things. He gives us some options. He’s a guy you can move around, and that’s nice to have.”
Sam Smith, the starter, got the win, pitching three innings with no runs on one hit with three strikeouts and a walk.
Bianco, whose Rebels host Rhode Island three times this weekend, said this was a good night for his team in a number of ways.
“I was proud of the way we played tonight,” he said after his team outhit the Skyhawks 18-5. “I thought the guys were really locked in. We challenged them that you have to be ready to play tonight. And they were. We played about as well as we could play through nine innings and playing that many people.”