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Nyman hopes to fill a void at second base

With All-American second baseman Alex Yarbrough gone, the Ole Miss baseball team may turn to incoming freshman Chase Nyman to fill his shoes.

The Ole Miss baseball squad has to replace their two best hitters from last year with first baseman Matt Snyder graduating and signing with the New York Yankees and second baseman Alex Yarbrough electing to start his professional career a year early.

It’s going to be tough to replace those guys, but Rebel signee Chase Nyman is up for the challenge. Nyman, a second baseman from Pascagoula High School, is ready to get his Ole Miss career underway.

“It kind of makes me a little nervous,” Nyman said. “I’ve talked to a lot of people who have given me advice. I’m just going to do my best to work hard and try to succeed the best that I can.”

Nyman grew up a Southern Miss fan, but that all changed in high school.

“In the 10th grade, I got to come up to Ole Miss on a visit for the Tennessee series,” Nyman said. “The atmosphere for all three games was the best I had ever been around. I kind of fell in love with that. Plus, I got to know the coaches. After that, I was sold and I was just waiting on the offer for the chance to come play.”

And he got that offer. Nyman and Ole Miss two-sport player Senquez Golson were a dynamic duo at Pascagoula, and next spring they’ll be on the field together again.

“We grew up playing together,” Nyman said. “He has a late birthday, so he always played in my league from little league on up. We’ve got a lot of playing time together.”

When Golson left to head to Oxford for his freshman season, Nyman was the leader of his high school team. Things were up and down during his senior campaign, but they ended as well as they could have.

“It started off bad,” Nyman said of his senior season. “I wasn’t really hitting the ball like I knew I could. I was getting pitched around. I think I saw two fastballs the first four games. Late in the year, playoffs came around and something just clicked. We ended up winning a state championship, and I guess I helped a little bit.”

Now, Nyman hopes to help out Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco and his team. Nyman said he knows there is a lot going back, but losing Yarbrough and shortstop Blake Newalu opens the possibility of early playing time wide open.

“Seeing some middle infielders go, it kind of opens up a spot for me,” Nyman said. “I guess I’ll be in contention to get the starting role at second base. Backing (what Yarbrough did at Ole Miss) up is going to be hard, but it’s something I look forward to. I think I can handle it.”

But Nyman understands that high school ball is not like battling in the Southeastern Conference. He said he's ready to start working to do what he can to be an early contributor.

“I think the biggest thing I need to work on is getting stronger,” he said. “I think my skills, as far as baseball goes, are all there. I think getting stronger and getting polished and learning the little stuff about playing in the SEC would help me a lot. Just being a student of the game.”

It looks like Nyman is ready to be a bright spot on the diamond for Ole Miss. Will he be the next Yarbrough? That can’t be expected. But for a guy with the confidence of Nyman, you just never know.