Thu Mar 15 11:22am EDT
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The last 11 days have been far from kind to Senquez Golson.
The Ole Miss freshman outfielder left Swayze Field on March 3 with a .500 batting average. The Rebels had beaten Miami (Ohio) 11-3, and Golson went 2-for-4 at his spot in the UM lineup. But since that afternoon, the two-sport athlete has found hits hard to come by.
Golson is 1-for-25 in his last six games with the one hit a single in No. 12 Ole Miss' Saturday victory over Houston. His average has plummeted to .244 and he's walked once while striking out nine times this season.
All the at-bats haven't been bad. Golson squared up several balls against Louisville, but the hard-hit ones found gloves just like the other ones. Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said baseball is a game of failure, so Golson just needs to stay positive and keep working. Bianco has been happy with many of his at-bats during the difficult skid.
"I told him in the dugout (Wednesday) it's the baseball gods and it works that way," Bianco said. "He comes out and has some great at-bats. But he had some balls that fell in for him and some good fortune the first few weeks. Now he hit like four balls in these two games right at the third baseman and hasn't had a lot of good fortune."
In his first plate appearance on Wednesday, Golson hit a shot to the shortstop, who gloved and turned it into a double play. In the ironic way only baseball can torment, Golson hit it too hard to beat it out.
"The double play ball they played him in the six hole, and it's usually a base hit for him," Bianco said. "So he just didn't have a lot of good baseball fortune. Just keep swinging and keep barreling balls up."
AUBURN FEELS PREPARED AFTER ROAD TESTS: Ole Miss (14-3) opens Southeastern Conference play this weekend at home versus Auburn. The Tigers are just 10-7 on the season but have played a difficult schedule to this point, including a road series at No. 6 Arizona (14-3).
The Wildcats took the Friday (8-1) and Saturday (15-4) games before Auburn avoided the sweep on Sunday (8-3). The announced attendance was just 2,470 for the series opener, however. Auburn also beat Alabama, 8-3, in the Capital City Classic at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Ala., on March 6. An attendance of more than 7,000 watched that one.
"I think reality struck for our team (in Arizona) with the new faces and things aren't as easy as they seem," Auburn head coach John Pawlowski said. "Competition goes to another level, and you learn how much you have to do to be successful (on the road).
"We learned a lot about our team and went to Montgomery and played in front of a big crowd. The question is can we execute... A great challenge lies ahead this weekend."
No. 3 South Carolina (15-1) at Kentucky (18-0)
Tennessee (10-6) at No. 18 Georgia (13-5)
Vanderbilt (7-10) at No. 1 Florida (16-1)
Alabama (8-9) at No. 4 Arkansas (16-2)
No. 21 Miss. State (14-5) at No. 13 LSU (14-3)
Auburn (10-7) at No. 12 Ole Miss (14-3)