Rebels open practice with scrimmage
With the sun shining, a clear sky and the temperature reaching 60 degrees, the Ole Miss baseball team held its first practice of the 2016 season Friday afternoon at Swayze Field. To begin the Road to Omaha, the Rebels broke up into two teams to play a seven-inning scrimmage.
After a two-run homer by junior Colby Bortles in the first inning, the red team never looked back and claimed the 4-1 victory.
“I thought at first it looked like the pitchers were going to get the best of our hitters, but they warmed up and had some good swings as the game went on,” said head coach Mike Bianco. “For opening day, to play seven innings and get two home runs was nice to see. It was a solid first day, but we’ve got a long ways to go.”
Redshirt-junior Brady Bramlett, the Rebels’ lone returning starting pitcher, began the intrasquad on the mound. After retiring the first two Red hitters, Bramlett battled against junior Henri Lartigue, who fouled off multiple pitches and eventually earned a walk. The quality at-bat by Lartigue proved to be crucial, keeping the inning alive for Bortles. The third baseman found his pitch to hit and belted a two-run home run into the left field bullpen to give the red team a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Junior college transfer Chad Smith got the start for the Red team and pitched two scoreless innings without allowing a hit. Will Stokes followed with a pair of scoreless frames as well and allowed the squad to increase its lead behind a triple by Kyle Watson. The sophomore reached third on a ball hit into the right-center field gap, and he scampered home on a wild pitch to give Red a three-run cushion.
Freshman DJ Miller got Blue on the board with a solo home run that cleared the left field fence. The blue team also got extra-base hits from sophomore Nic Perkins and freshman Nick Fortes as the two catchers each smacked a double.
The Rebels will play another intrasquad scrimmage tomorrow with first pitch set for noon. All intrasquads are open to the public.
The 2016 Ole Miss baseball season is just three weeks away as the No. 24 Rebels host Florida International at Swayze Field on Feb. 19.