The Rebels’ play has been a mixed bag lately, getting swept by Mississippi State, sweeping Alabama, losing two of three to LSU, and then scoring 14 runs in a win over UAPB earlier this week. Missouri comes to town for a three-game series this weekend with Ole Miss trying to find consistency heading into the later stages of the season.
Wednesday’s matchup with UAPB saw a shakeup in the lineup with Cooper Johnson returning to his starting role behind the plate. Nick Fortes moved to 1B, DJ Miller started at SS in place of Grae Kessinger who leads the team with 8 errors. Kessinger entered the game late, but Mike Bianco has now shown his willingness to move players around. Showing that no player’s spot in the starting lineup is safe will hopefully motivate a Rebel team that clearly has talent but has struggled to put it all together at certain points this season.
Before the mid-week game, I mentioned Ole Miss’ inability to hit. They must’ve heard me as 11 different Rebels were able to get a hit, including 3-hit performances from DH Tim Rowe, Ryan Olenek and 3B Colby Bortles. I’m not saying that a 14-run game against UAPB fixes all of Ole Miss’ problems, but it allowed a struggling lineup to put a solid game together and it will hopefully carry over into the weekend.
While the Rebels still dwell at the bottom of the depths of the offensive categories in the SEC, they rank at the top of the conference in terms of pitching. With a team ERA of 2.90, pitching continues to be this team’s strong suit. The Rebels staff anchored by solid starting pitching and complimented by a reliable bullpen continues to lead the SEC in numerous categories.
Missouri comes into the matchup having lost three of their last four, including dropping a series to Kentucky last weekend and an upset loss to Missouri State on Tuesday. Either the Tigers will come in defeated, or they’ll play like a team that has nothing to lose and needing to string a few wins together, and I’d bet on the latter. Mizzou is 5-1 on the road so far this season, and the Rebels are 18-6 at home, so something’s got to give this weekend. Looking to quiet the crowd will be Trey Harris who sits in the middle of the Tiger lineup with 11 home runs. Connor Brumfield is hitting team-high .345 with nine extra-base hits.
Missouri has their share of problems in the field, however, as one of just two teams with more errors than Ole Miss. If both teams don’t shape on defense, this weekend’s matchup could be decided by which team makes fewer mistakes.
OM: James McArthur – RHP (2-2, 3.03 ERA)
Mizz: Tanner Houck – RHP (3-5, 2.95)
OM: David Parkinson – LHP (5-2, 2.68 ERA)
Mizz: Michael Plassmeyer – LHP (6-1, 3.71 ERA)
OM: Ryan Rolison – LHP (4-2, 2.19 ERA)
Mizz: Bryce Montes De Oca – RHP (3-2, 3.06 ERA)
Showers are expected throughout the day today, but should clear out by game time with just a 15 percent chance of rain. Saturday may be a different story as a 100 percent chance of rain could be a cause for concern. Sunday shows just a 20 percent chance and cloudy, so don’t be surprised if we see a double header at some point this weekend.
Friday – 6:30 p.m.
Saturday – 4 p.m.
Sunday – 1:30 p.m.
Where to Watch/Listen
All games will be televised on the SEC Network+ and can be heard on the Ole Miss Radio Network and OleMissSports.com.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.