Diamond Rebels Look for Smooth Weekend on Rocky Top

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor
adam.brown@hottytoddy.com

Doug Nikhazy is set to take the mound Friday night against the Tennessee Volunteers. Photo by Petre Thomas/Ole Miss Athletics.

The No. 15 Ole Miss baseball team closes out the regular season this weekend as they travel to Rocky Top to take on the No. 23 Tennessee Volunteers in an SEC series tilt. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. on the SEC Network.

Ole Miss (32-21, 15-12 SEC West) looks to bounce back from a four-game losing skid. On Tuesday night the Rebels dropped a heartbreaker to Arkansas State 6-5 on the road. 

Last weekend, the Mississippi State Bulldogs swept the Rebels in their final home series. Ole Miss enters this series tied for third in the SEC Western Division going into the final week of conference play.

This season, the Rebels’ pitching staff is No. 18 in the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 2.84. Ole Miss is 19th nationally and second in the SEC with 3.17 walks allowed per nine innings. The offense is No. 21 in the nation and No. 4 in the SEC with 384 runs scored on the season. 

Tennessee (36-17, 12-15 SEC East) enters the weekend on a three-game win streak after taking the series from the Florida Gators on the road and defeating Tennessee Tech on Tuesday.

The Vols are batting at a .266 clip as a team with 338 runs scored this season. Tennessee has belted a total of 48 home runs.

Sophomore Alerick Soularie leads the Vols at the plate with a .369 batting average that includes 45 runs and 62 base knocks.

Ole Miss leads Tennessee 49-38 in the all-time series. The Rebels have won five of the last six series, including the last three in Knoxville.

Last season, UT claimed Game 1. An early pitchers’ duel between Ryan Rolison and Garrett Crochet broke in the seventh when the Volunteers posted six runs and the Rebels answered with four. UT’s Zach Linginfelter closed it out with two scoreless innings. The Rebels then dominated the final two games of the series. Ole Miss took Game 2, 7-1.

Ole Miss Head Coach Mike Bianco will send to the mound junior right-hander Will Ethridge (tonight) and southpaw Doug Nikhazy (Friday). Saturday’s hurler has not been named. Tennessee will match arms with right-hander Garrett Stallings (tonight), LHP Garrett Crochet (Friday) and RHP Zach Linginfelter (Saturday).

Game times for this series are set for 6 p.m. tonight on the SEC Network, Friday at 5:30 p.m. on SEC Network + and the series finale at 11 a.m. on the SEC Network. Fans can hear all of the action on the Ole Miss Sports Radio Network.


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