Don’t look now because the Rebel offense is starting to look the part (knock on wood). Ole Miss upset #10 Arkansas by taking two of three from the Razorbacks last weekend, and will look to follow that up with a strong showing in a two-game mid-week series against Louisiana-Monroe.
Over the weekend, the captains Tate Blackman and Colby Bortles continue to take the reigns of the offense and combined to hit .417, each hitting two home runs. The pair continues to climb toward the .300 mark and are finding their swing at the right time here in the last month of the season. Bortles leads the team with 8 home runs and 36 RBIs. Heading into the season, Bortles was expected to be the big bat in the lineup and his production is finally starting to pile up. Bortles and Blackman weren’t the only Rebels that contributed over the weekend. Ole Miss totaled 29 hits in the series, which is hopefully a sign of things to come.
ULM isn’t on par with the likes of Arkansas or the Florida Gators, who Ole Miss faces this weekend, and with two games to help prepare for #7 ranked Gators, the Rebels have a chance to capitalize on recent momentum at the plate. It’s a lot easier to stay in a groove than it is to break out of a slump, and that needs to translate into an aggressive approach at the plate moving forward.
The area in which we still haven’t seen much of an improvement is defensively. In the two games won by Ole Miss over the weekend, they had 0 errors. In the loss, they had 3. You can’t give good teams extra outs and that’s exactly what the Rebels have done throughout the season, accumulating the SEC’s 4th most errors with 49.
With a 12-32 overall record, the ULM Warhawks don’t come into Oxford as a daunting opponent, but it’s important not to overlook anyone at this juncture of the season. ULM has many of the same shortcomings as the Rebels, totaling 60 errors and compiling a .260 team batting average. The Warhawks lineup lacks a power element to it with just 20 home runs as a team, but they may be able to small ball their way to a few runs, which at times is all teams need against Ole Miss.
OM: Greer Holston RHP (2-3, 3.38 ERA)
ULM: Kyle Backofen – LHP (1-4 7.86)
OM: Sean Johnson – RHP (0-0, 4.70 ERA)
ULM: Stephen Morrison – RHP (0-0, 6.86 ERA)
Where to Watch/Listen
Tonight’s game will begin at 6:30 and first pitch on Wednesday is set for 4 p.m. Both games can be seen on the SEC Network+ and heard on the Ole Miss Radio Network along with OleMissSports.com.
Tonight’s game should go on as scheduled, but a slight chance of rain may interfere tomorrow afternoon.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.