After a mid-week sweep of ULM, the competition stiffens and the Rebels (29-17) head on the road to Gainesville for a three-game series with the #7 Florida Gators (32-13). Ole Miss won four of their last five, including their series victory over #10 Arkansas last weekend.
Over the stretch of five games, the Rebels’ offense has been a much-needed upswing. Thanks to a 21-run performance on Tuesday, Ole Miss has scored 43 runs in the last five games. Twenty-one runs against ULM doesn’t make the Rebels’ offensive woes completely disappear, but confidence is worth a lot, especially on the road. With five hitters above .285, there’s still room for improvement, but compared to the lineup just a few weeks ago, this is a much higher level of productivity. Nick Fortes’ insertion into the lineup continues to pay dividends as he has consistently produced, and leads the team with a .320 average. Another weekend of improvement at the plate could keep the Rebels in position to steal a game or two from the Gators.
While Tate Blackman has improved at the plate as the season has gone on, he has now overtaken SS Grae Kessinger for the most errors on the team with nine. A captain needs to lead by example, so hopefully Blackman’s error-prone days are over heading into the home stretch of the season. Against quality opponents, Ole Miss can’t afford to extend innings and give the Gators extra at-bats.
While the Rebel pitching staff holds the top spot in the SEC with a 3.03 ERA, Florida isn’t far behind. The Gators currently hold a 3.17 ERA, so if the Rebels hope to sustain their newly found offense, they have a difficult task ahead. The Gators own a slight .001 advantage over the Rebels in terms of team batting average, so we could be in for three low-scoring games this weekend. No Gator hitter has more than six home runs or 13 extra base hits, so look for a small ball approach from Florida.
OM: James McArthur – RHP (3-3, 3.08, ERA)
UF: Alex Faedo – RHP (6-1, 2.62 ERA)
OM: Ryan Rolison – LHP (6-2, 1.84 ERA)
UF: Brady Singer – RHP (5-3, 2.09 ERA)
OM: David Parkinson – LHP (5-2, 3.43)
UF: Jackson Kowar – RHP (7-0, 3.90 ERA)
Friday – 5:30 p.m.
Saturday – 5:30 p.m.
Sunday 1 p.m.
Where to watch/listen
Friday and Saturday’s games can be seen on the SEC Network+ app, and Sunday’s game will be nationally televised on the SEC Network. All games can be heard the Ole Miss Radio Network and OleMissSports.com.
It’s called the sunshine state for a reason, no problems in the forecast.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.