Win or go home. That’s what the #9 seeded Rebels face as they begin play in the SEC Tournament today against the #8 seeded Auburn Tigers. Ole Miss and Auburn finished a three-game series this past Saturday, with Auburn taking two of the three games. The location of the game moves from the plains of Auburn to Hoover, Alabama for the conference tournament.
In the weekend series, Ole Miss scored just one run in each of the first two games resulting in two straight losses. In game one the Rebels managed just three hits and improved to seven hits in game two. It wasn’t until game three that the Rebel offense got going, and with 13 hits and eight runs, they got back in the win column to close out the regular season.
Unfortunately for Ole Miss, Auburn will put Keegan Thompson on the mound after he was able to silence the Rebel offense on Thursday. Thompson pitched six scoreless innings and didn’t allow a hit during his outing.
Brady Feigl will get the start for Ole Miss today. Feigl pitched 2.0 innings without allowing a hit in a relief appearance in game one on Thursday.
In game three of the weekend series, Tate Blackman went 4-5, Nick Fortes went 3-5, and Ryan Olenek also turned in a 3-hit performance. The trio of Rebel hitters have been among the teams most consistent throughout the season, and Ole Miss may need to lean on them if they can continue their hot streaks. Experience counts for a lot in the postseason, and as a senior Colby Bortles could have a big game to help the Rebels advance.
The Rebels will have to make some last minute adjustments after SS Grae Kessinger suffered a season-ending foot injury while playing ping pong in the player’s lounge in Hoover.
Auburn’s CF Jonah Todd hit .500 over the weekend against the Rebel pitching staff. As the leadoff hitter, Todd provided a spark for the Tiger offense all weekend. If Feigl can shut Todd down, he may be able to quiet the Tiger lineup. Auburn didn’t commit a single error over the weekend, while the Rebels had four. When it’s an elimination game, every mistake is magnified. The Rebels must be mindful of this as the SEC tournament begins.
If the Rebels win today, they move on to face Florida in the second round tomorrow. The Gators swept Ole Miss in the first weekend of May.
OM: Brady Feigl – RHP (2-2, 3.83 ERA)
AU: Keegan Thompson – RHP (6-4, 2.30 ERA)
Where to Watch/Listen
First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. The game can be seen on the SEC Network and heard on the Ole Miss Radio Network and OleMissSports.com.
Rain may play a role today in Hoover with a high chance of rain around the start time.
Steven Gagliano is the managing editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.