Fall Report: Ole Miss

Fall Report

OXFORD, Miss. — It feels like a new era at Ole Miss, as most of the members of the Rebels’ hallmark 2016 recruiting class are now off in pro ball, after leading the program to 89 wins in the last two years and back to back home regionals. The 39-man fall roster features just four seniors (three of whom arrived a year ago as junior-college transfers) and eight juniors (four of whom are new to the program as juco transfers this fall). So Ole Miss will clearly be a young team in 2020 — but maybe not quite so inexperienced as you might expect.

“When you look at us on paper and you think about it, you go, ‘Man, they’re young, they’ve only got a handful of juniors and seniors on the entire team,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “But man, some of those juniors and sophomores have played a lot and contributed. You start looking around and you go, ‘Wait a minute, that doesn’t look too new.’ These guys have been in the program, and even though maybe they didn’t start every day, they’re names that our people know, it’s not like they’re all new.”

Most notably, Ole Miss returns two-thirds of its weekend rotation in talented sophomores Gunnar Hoglund and Doug Nikhazy. That’s a change from this time a year ago, when the entire rotation had to be replaced. Righties Greer Holston and Max Cioffi have accrued loads of experience over the course of their collegiate careers, giving Ole Miss a couple of battle-tested veterans to lean on in the bullpen — or in Holston’s case, perhaps in the rotation. That group looks like the backbone of a very good pitching staff, even before you look at potential breakout candidates among the other returnees or this year’s batch of talented newcomers. …

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