ESPN College Baseball analyst and former Stanford Cardinal pitcher Kyle Peterson will soon be involved in his 20th College World Series, and 11th in the broadcasting booth. With such a wealth of knowledge of the sport, Peterson joined the media on a conference call on Wednesday to discuss those teams in the College World Series, including the Ole Miss Rebels.
When discussing Ole Miss, Peterson recognized the talent early, particularly when it comes to the offensive lineup and knew it would be a matter of time to turn things around as soon as other issues were resolved.
“There’s a reason why they were No. 1 at one point during the course of the season,” Peterson said. “The biggest reason at that time I think now is how deep that offense is. You just had the feeling if they got in, they were going to cause some problems for somebody, because they pushed the restart button and they don’t lack for Talent nor experience. Tim Elko is the one everyone is going to go to first. Jacob Gonzalez is a big leaguer. He could be the first position player taken in the draft next year. You have him in the middle of a lineup. You have Hayden Dunhurst who can control the running game… And for whatever reason, they just took longer to get going… Now they’re coming in with as much confidence as you can possibly have you look at the pieces of the offense.”
Peterson was also very high of freshman left-hander Hunter Elliott, crediting him for being one of the main reasons Ole Miss is where they are now, in just their second College World Series under head coach Mike Bianco.
“I love the way they’ve progressed (Elliott) into this spot,” Peterson said. “When I had Ole Miss, I think he came out of the bullpen and probably just before they put him into the rotation. That’s when they tried to figure out that the rotation was and he looked like a piece that was going to fit, but “You didn’t know exactly what it was going to be. He just kept getting better. As with most freshman that go through the season, by the time you get to the end of it, they’re not freshmen anymore. The’ve.” been in environments, he’s been in SEC environments for a lot of the season.He’s got plenty of stuff, but that’s not usually the deciding factor to whether or not someone has success both on a weekend in the SEC and when you get into he postseason “It’s about how you handle all the intangibles and how are you able to slow the game down. Clearly he’s been able to do that. They needed him. I think he’s one of the reasons why they are where they are. After DeLucia, they.” needed stability in the weekend rotation and it just so happened to be a freshman that did it else like he’s getting better every week.”
Peterson called a game at one point during the season, when Ole Miss’ rotation was still uncertain week after week. With Dylan DeLucia and Hunter Elliott, who started the year pitching out of the bullpen, head coach Mike Bianco knew the stuff was there for both, but it was more of a matter of figuring out where they fit in their pitching puzzle. Peterson commented on the matter, and even went as far as the new top of the rotation being an advantage in Omaha.
“I think from a coaching stand point, the easy part is identifying stuff,” Peterson said. “That profiles into someone who’s going to be a starter at this level. Your eyes will tell you what that is. What you ultimately don’t know is how that will translate into the game and what the outcome is… this is where I think it benefits you if you’re Ole Miss, their innings numbers when you get to this point. They’ve (DeLucia and Elliott) both thrown around 70-75 innings. That’s a low number for aces going into the College World Series… The work load hasn’t been insane. You would think there’s a higher level of freshness with those two guys at the end of the year than someone who’s started every single weekend. That would make me feel good if I’m Ole Miss going in. You want to have those horses over the course of the year because you need them a lot of times, they just identify them a little bit later. It helps you have more bullets when you get to this point.”
Up first, the Rebels will take on the Auburn Tigers, a team they took two of three games from to begin Southeastern Conference play with. First pitch is set for 6 pm CT on Saturday, June 18 and can be seen on ESPN2 or listened to on the Ole Miss Radio Network. Inside The Rebels will be on site to provide updates, notes, facts observations and more.