Bianco Reflects On Summer With Team USA
Head coach Mike Bianco

Aug. 2, 2013

By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com

OXFORD, Miss. -- Head coach Mike Bianco is back in Oxford, having served as the pitching coach for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, which wrapped up its summer tour on July 23. Team USA finished with a 20-3 record overall, including 7-3 in international play, capped by a historic five-game sweep of Cuba.

"Initially when you do it, you're just excited for the opportunity to represent your country and put USA across your chest, but it's so much more than that," Bianco said of the experience. "It's a great honor.

"On other levels, to coach the best 24 college baseball players in the country and be around a great staff, to sit on a bus or be in a hotel room and talk baseball every day, and exchange ideas, to talk to different pitchers and see what they do, it's just a great experience. I learned so much. I had a terrific time."

Bianco joined Tim Esmay of Arizona State and Ed Servais of Creighton as assistant coaches under head coach Jim Schlossnagle of TCU. Bianco was also reunited with former Rebel Brett Basham, who served as bullpen coach, having most recently served as a graduate assistant at Mississippi College.

And with only two catchers on the roster, Basham's duties often also included bullpen catcher.

"A lot of times he's stuck in the bullpen by himself warming these guys up who throw 95-100 mph," Bianco said of Basham. "So physically you still have to be very talented to be able to do that, and then be a coach, and throw batting practice, and help me with the pitchers.

"I know he's very thankful for the opportunity. But I know as a staff we were thankful that he was there because he did things we physically could not do. I'm proud the other coaches got to see him and get to know him, and see what a great coach he is going to be."


 

 

The tour started with games against collegiate summer league teams in North Carolina and Virginia, mostly from the Coastal Plain League, which included games against a pair of current Rebels in junior left-handed pitcher Austin Blunt (Thomasville Hi-Toms) and freshman catcher Holt Perdzock (Wilson Tobs).

Team USA started international play with a five-game series in Japan, in which the Japan national team won the series three games to two.

Then, in between its series against Japan and Cuba, Team USA had the opportunity to practice at Wrigley Field in Chicago, where Bianco and Basham also got to see and catch up with former Rebel right-hander and current St. Louis Cardinal Lance Lynn before his game against the Cubs.

This five-game series against Cuba marked the first time they met on U.S. soil since 1996, with games in Triple-A parks in Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Neb; and Durham, N.C., as well as the National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.

Team USA won the first two games in extra innings, clinched the series with a 1-0 win in game three and completed the sweep with wins in games four and five. The series-clincher, the last couple of outs in particular, stood out for Bianco, as he reflected on the experience.

"Another Aha! moment was when we were in Omaha for game three [of the series with Cuba]," Bianco said. "[Arizona State right-handed pitcher] Ryan Burr was on the mound, ready to close it out, and as he was on the mound and got two strikes on the first hitter, you could hear the crowd chanting 'U-S-A.'  You're about to win the first three games against the Cuban National Team. We had heard it before, but it was very loud, very vocal.

"When you watch the movie 'Miracle' and different Olympic moments, to hear the fans chanting USA, that gives you chill bumps sitting in the dugout, waiting to close this game out, knowing you're going to beat their professionals."

Looking ahead, Bianco said it's hard to pinpoint one thing he will bring back from the experience, adding that there will be little things they did collectively as Team USA, or things that he heard people do in their own program, both on and off the field.

However, Bianco said, it works both ways, with other programs also taking things from him and the way Ole Miss does things in its program.

"You bring so much back as far as working with players and coaches, but also, you feel good because you realize you are there for a reason, and a lot of the things you are already doing, you are doing it the right way," Bianco said.

Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller

    • Tunsil Named AFC East Rookie of the Year by ESPN

      Monday, January 16, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Miami Dolphins offensive lineman and Ole Miss' former blind side protector Laremy Tunsil was named AFC East rookie of... read more

    • Three Rebel Coaches Among Top-20 Recruiters Nationally

      Friday, January 13, 2017 - Football

      With the hiring of Jacob Peeler as wide receiver coach, #OleMiss now has three asst coaches ranked in @247Sports '16 Top 20 best recruiters.-- Brad Logan (@BradLoganCOTE) January 10, 2017 Ole Miss football bolstered its coaching staff by adding coaching... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Georgia

      Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - Men's Basketball

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Georgia (10-5, 2-1) KenPom ranking: 61 Best win: at No. 103 Auburn Worst loss: at No. 79 Oakland Ole... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Auburn

      Saturday, January 7, 2017 -

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Know the Opponent: Auburn (10-4) KenPom ranking: 105 Best win: No. 28 Texas Tech Worst loss: No. 172 Boston... read more

    • Longo Named FCS Coordinator of the Year

      Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} p.p3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; color: #333333; -webkit-text-stroke: #333333; background-color: #ffffff; min-height: 17.0px} p.p4 {margin:... read more

    • Freeze to Join Finebaum Film Room During Peach Bowl

      Friday, December 30, 2016 -

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Helvetica; min-height: 16.0px} ESPN is providing fans multiple ways to view the College Football Playoff, and Ole Miss head coach is playing... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Kentucky

      Thursday, December 29, 2016 - Men's Basketball

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; min-height: 14.0px} Know the Opponent: Kentucky (10-2)KenPom ranking: 4Best win: No. 3 North CarolinaWorst loss: No. 13 UCLAOle Miss opens up... read more

    • Know the Opponent: South Alabama

      Thursday, December 22, 2016 - Men's Basketball

      Know the Opponent: South Alabama (7-5)KenPom ranking: 218 Best win: at No. 187 UNLV Worst loss: at No. 303 Stetson Ole Miss has one final tuneup before conference play begins and it comes in the form of South Alabama. South Alabama on Offense:... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Bradley

      Monday, December 19, 2016 - Men's Basketball

      Know the Opponent: Bradley (5-6) KenPom ranking: 235 Best win: at No. 222 Eastern Illinois Worst loss: No. 253 Delaware Ole Miss faces Bradley in the second-to-last nonconference matchup before SEC play begins. Bradley on Offense: Bradley has not been great this season on... read more

    • New Coordinators Help Address Critical Areas

      Friday, December 16, 2016 - Football

      Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze had specific deficiencies that he wanted his coordinator hires to address. On offense, he wanted to improve the rushing attack, third down efficiency, and red zone scoring. On defense, Freeze wanted his new coordinator... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Murray State

      Thursday, December 15, 2016 - Men's Basketball

      Know the Opponent: Murray State (5-5) KenPom ranking: 162  Ole Miss returns home to face Murray State in its first home game in nearly two weeks in a matchup of two strong offenses.Murray State on Offense: Once again, Ole Miss... read more

    • Haynes' Return a Boon for Ole Miss Defense

      Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; min-height: 14.0px} p.p3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 15.4px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #292f33; -webkit-text-stroke: #292f33} p.p4 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Virginia Tech

      Sunday, December 11, 2016 - Men's Basketball

      Know the Opponent: Virginia Tech (7-1) KenPom ranking: 36 Ole Miss faces one of the most well-rounded teams in the nation Sunday in Blacksburg, Virginia. Virginia Tech. Va Tech's offensive efficiency ranks 24th nationally, while their defensive efficiency also strong at 67th.... read more

    • Archie to Receive Gold Medal from NFF on Tuesday

      Monday, December 5, 2016 - Football

      Ole Miss legend Archie Manning will be receiving the National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame Gold Medal on Tuesday, December 6, at the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner. The highest and most prestigious award presented by the National... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Memphis

      Saturday, December 3, 2016 - Men's Basketball

      Know the Opponent: Memphis (6-1) KenPom ranking: 89 Ole Miss is presented another opportunity on Saturday to grab a nice win when Memphis travels to the Pavilion for the Tigers first road game of the season. The Rebels let an opportunity slip... read more

OFFICIAL STORE

GET SOCIAL

Twitter

  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago

Instagram

Facebook