RebelGrove - Calvin Harris picks up where he left off as Rebs bomb UNA
baseball Edit

Calvin Harris picks up where he left off as Rebs bomb UNA

OXFORD | Calvin Harris worked a walk in his first plate appearance in three weeks over the weekend, but that was the only time he saw the field until Tuesday.

The wait for more playing time delivered, as the sophomore kept swinging like he has all season.

Harris went 3-for-4 with five RBIs, finishing a triple short of the cycle, as No. 10 Ole Miss (17-7) clobbered UNA, 20–3, in a midweek tuneup before the Rebels head to Kentucky for a three-game set starting Friday.

Harris, who missed 19 days with a midsection strain, his the first pitch he saw over the left field wall and followed it up with a double and a single in his next two at-bats. Getting a start in left field, Harris now 16-for-28 on the season — a scorching .571 average.

We didn’t know a couple weeks ago against Auburn; it didn’t look good and not making progress,” Mike Bianco said. “And then he progressed from there and in BP I told him not only does he feel good but he looks so strong. It’s unusual because he hadn’t hit for three-plus weeks. He’s terrific. We wanted to make sure we got him at-bats to get ready for the weekend.”

With Kevin Graham likely sidelined for a few more weeks after wrist surgery, getting Harris back is a key for the Rebels. He is also a bit of a plug-and-play option defensively with the ability to play first base, catcher or corner outfield.

Harris threw out a runner attempting to steal after sliding from left field to catcher in the fifth inning.

“He caught great,” Bianco said. “Gosh that throw. A ball in the dirt and he showed arm strength.”

He’s also shown good ability against both left-handed and right-handed pitching. Harris was hitting .500 against lefties and .562 against righties entering Tuesday. A season ago, he had only six at-bats against lefties so the sample size remains low.

Bianco said he expects him to handle lefties because of his compact swing and ability to go the other way. The home run on Tuesday was to the opposite field.

“I feel really good physically,” Harris said. “It was a combined effort (with athletic trainer Josh Porter and the doctors) to get me back, and I feel really good.”

Ole Miss hit five home runs, with Peyton Chatagnier, John Kramer, Jacob Gonzalez and Justin Bench joining Harris isn that category. The Rebels had nine extra base hits.

Jack Washburn got the win and gave up a run on three hits and no walks in three innings with four strikeouts. Four different relievers pitched, and Bianco kept the pitch counts low. Mason Nichols and Drew McDaniel each threw 18 pitches getting three and four outs, respectively.