The terrible, awful, no good, very bad season is creeping closer to its conclusion for the Ole Miss baseball team and Friday was more of the same for the defending national champions.
Ole Miss had yet another doubleheader and this time was swept by Auburn to put the Hoover hole to near insurmountable depths after a pair of Southeastern Conference losses.
An eight-inning 16-4 blowout in the opening game followed by a 8-2 defeat in the nightcap punctuated a day where Ole Miss looked to be listless at times once the games got out of reach. In fact, the Rebels (25-25, 6-20 SEC) looked almost zoned out and going through the motions throughout the second game.
“I don’t know how to assess that. Just bad,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco of the day. “Don’t give ourselves a chance and we’re not that bad. That’s the sad part about it.”
Could be the season that went awry is catching up with the players who are now 50 games in and there is very little left to play for, if anything, beyond personal pride.
No NCAA Tournament berth is coming. No last team to get in on that Memorial Day morning. Hoover is a win or two more away from mathematically and officially out of reach, though it has felt out of reach for a while now.
The body blows Missouri landed a week ago were shots Ole Miss could not overcome and without a midweek game due to exam week the effects looked to be lingering in the home team’s dugout on Friday.
With five games left in the season Ole Miss is a team just trying to land the plane, park it and just wait to try and start anew in nine months.
For a team that had the closing stretch of least season to fall back on Ole Miss could not muster the same magic.
Friday was another microcosm of a season filled of them that encapsulates Ole Miss in 2023. The Rebels were outscored 24-6 in 17 innings.
Game one starter Xavier Rivas did not have the strong outing against the Tigers that he did on May 4 against Missouri. Rivas lasted 2.1 innings, giving up six runs off seven hits while striking out five and walking two more Auburn batters.
JT Quinn got the start in game two and went 2.2 innings, giving up three runs off three hits.
“You look at the first game and Rivas, too many bad counts. Too many base runners,” Bianco said. “Then the second game I thought Quinn looked really good in the first inning. (Auburn) made him work coming off a really good game one, but he was able to get through the first and make some really good pitches. Then we just don’t do anything for him, defensively.”
The Ole Miss offense managed only four runs off 11 hits in game one and were held to a run off three hits in the nightcap. Auburn needed only five pitchers to get through two games as the Rebels failed to get into the bullpen and use up some arms.
Meanwhile Ole Miss used 10 pitchers in two games and emptied out the top arms of its bullpen.
Saturday marks the final SEC home game of the season for Ole Miss, which is currently sitting with a SEC home record of 8-22 over the past two seasons.
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