Rebel pitching on roll, offense struggles as SEC play looms

ERIC OLSON (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press
FILE - In this June 21, 2014, file photo, Mississippi coach Mike Bianco hangs his head after losing 4-1 to Virginia in an NCAA College World Series baseball game in Omaha, Neb. Mississippi showed it has arms aplenty. Now if the Rebels can just find some offense. They posted four shutouts in five games last week, including three in a row in a weekend sweep of Furman. (AP Photo/Eric Francis, File)

Rebel pitching on roll, offense struggles as SEC play looms

FILE - In this June 21, 2014, file photo, Mississippi coach Mike Bianco hangs his head after losing 4-1 to Virginia in an NCAA College World Series baseball game in Omaha, Neb. Mississippi showed it has arms aplenty. Now if the Rebels can just find some offense. They posted four shutouts in five games last week, including three in a row in a weekend sweep of Furman. (AP Photo/Eric Francis, File)

Mississippi has shown it has arms aplenty. Now if the Rebels can just find some offense.

Ole Miss posted four shutouts in five games last week, including three in a row in a weekend sweep of Furman. It was the program's first three-game series shutout since March 2004 against Nicholls.

Five starting pitchers allowed no runs in 37 2/3 innings against Georgia State and Furman, allowing 12 hits and five walks and striking out 40. A Furman team that entered the weekend batting .317 was held to 10 singles and struck out 30 times.

''That's about as dominant as you can be on the mound to a team that can hit,'' coach Mike Bianco told reporters. ''They came in with some really good numbers. They have success and average about eight runs a game coming in. Our guys answered it and pitched well all weekend.''

The week started with Ryan Rollison and two relievers combining on a 1-0 win over Georgia State. Freshman Will Ethridge gave up two hits, walked none and struck out 10 over 7 2/3 innings the next day in a 2-0, 11-inning loss.

David Parkinson and Brady Feigl each pitched complete games in 2-0 and 5-0 wins over Furman, and Greer Holston worked the first seven innings of Sunday's 1-0 win. Parkinson on Monday was named pitcher of the week in the Southeastern Conference.

The Rebels rank sixth or higher in strikeouts per nine innings, hits allowed per nine innings, strikeout-to-walk ratio, walks and hits per innings pitched and shutouts.

Offense is the main concern, especially with Vanderbilt visiting this week to open SEC play. The Rebels (11-5) have no one batting .300, and they're 205th nationally in team average (.246) and 208th in scoring (4.6 runs per game).

A look around the country:

CHANGE AT THE TOP

For the first time this season, there's no consensus at the top of the major polls after TCU lost two of three at UC Irvine.

Florida State (13-3) is the new No. 1 by D1Baseball.com, Louisville (15-0) is the choice of Baseball America and Oregon State (14-1) heads the Collegiate Baseball newspaper rankings.

TCU, which had been No. 1 since the preseason, lost 11-2 and 6-3 to Irvine before winning the finale 16-7. The Horned Frogs slipped to No. 3 in each poll.

The Seminoles won two at UCF and took two of three from Boston College in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener. Louisville is the nation's only unbeaten team and is off to its best start since the 1957 squad opened 17-0. Oregon State has won nine in a row on the strength of the nation's best pitching.

THIS GUY'S A TIGER

LSU senior left-hander Jared Poche' (4-0) threw seven shutout innings against Wichita State on Saturday to extend his scoreless innings streak to 29, the second-longest in program history. Ben McDonald set the record of 44 2/3 innings in 1989.

COACHING MILESTONES

Rick Heller, a 30-year fixture in Midwest baseball, posted his 800th career victory in Sunday's doubleheader sweep over Lehigh. Heller is 800-638-4 at Iowa, Indiana State, Northern Iowa and Upper Iowa. He's one of nine coaches all-time, and one of five active coaches, to lead three different Division I programs to the NCAA Tournament.

A victory in the opener of a doubleheader sweep of Bryant on Sunday let John Szefc hit the 150-win mark faster than any coach at Maryland. Szefc is 150-104 in his fifth season with the Terrapins, who have won eight straight after a 1-5 start.

NO PANIC AT COASTAL

Coastal Carolina is 11-7 for the second straight year. That's not where the similarities end. Some statistics, with last year's 18-game numbers in parentheses: 117 runs (127), 23 doubles (25), 3 triples (3), 25 homers (22), 4.86 ERA (5.06) and 169 strikeouts (162).

The Chanticleers got hot at this point last year, winning 18 of their next 21 and 44 of 55 on their way to the school's first national championship.

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