OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) – With the weeks winding down towards opening day, the Rebels opened up the new year Friday with the first official practice of the year.
This year, Ole Miss boasts one of the most impressive pitching staffs in the country, after a 2017 season that saw the team in the upper tier of pitching statistics both within the SEC and nationally. And after losing just one pitcher (David Parkinson) to the 2017 MLB Draft, the Rebels have a pitching staff laden with talent across the board, including two preseason All-Americans and three Freshman All-Americans from a year ago.
Led by sophomore Ryan Rolison, who has garnered much 2018 draft attention, and capped by closer Dallas Woolfolk, the Rebels have depth at all positions on the mound. The team will have many options to look for fulfilling Parkinson’s spot as a weekend starter, including redshirt junior Brady Feigl, who’s arsenal electrified the team over the fall, and a duo of returning Freshman-All Americans in Will Ethridge and Houston Roth, as well as returning weekend starter James McArthur.
Offensively, the Rebel bats will be led by senior Will Golsan, who, along with Feigl, earned the spot as team captain over the offseason. Golsan will be assisted along the way with many familiar faces, as the team returns seven of the nine most frequent starters from a year ago, including seasoned veterans Ryan Olenek, Nick Fortes, and Tim Rowe. The team will also rely on a multitude of returning sophomores, namely Thomas Dillard, who looks to help fill the void left by the pair of departing Rebels from a year ago (Tate Blackman and Colby Bortles).
As the season winds closer, the Rebels will look to shore up its pitching rotation, and fill in some gaps across the diamond, namely in the infield, where the team will have to replace two consistent starters from a year ago. Look for some new faces to be called upon to help do so, as head coach Mike Bianco has had high praise for freshmen Anthony Servideo, Tyler Keenan, and Tim Elko, all of whom are in the running for starting infielders.
With just three Fridays until the Rebels welcome Winthrop to Swayze Field for the season opener, Ole Miss is looking to continue their preseason momentum that saw the team garner multiple top-15 rankings.
Friday’s first practice saw the blue team defeat the red team 10-3 to kick off scrimmage action. Saturday’s originally scheduled scrimmage has been moved to Sunday (1 p.m.) due to weather. All intrasquads are open to the public.