OXFORD, Miss. — Playing at home is always sweet, but especially so after an eight-game road trip. This past Wednesday, Ole Miss returned home and defeated Arkansas State, 10-3, to improve to 30-8 overall and 8-7 in league play, midway through the SEC schedule.
The Georgia Bulldogs pay a visit to Swayze this weekend. Scheduled action begins at 6:30 p.m. on Friday. Due to expected inclement weather on Sunday, the Rebels and Bulldogs will play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1:30 p.m. Game 2 of the doubleheader will be 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.
Here’s a preview of this weekend’s series.
Following consecutive, weekend series defeats, Ole Miss has dropped a tad in the polls. The Rebels are ranked as high as No. 7 in Baseball America and USA Today Coaches, while other rankings include No. 8 in NCBWA, No. 10 in Collegiate Baseball No. #11 by D1Baseball.
The Bulldogs are also ranked in the top 25. They come in at No. 12 in Collegiate Baseball, No. 19 in USA Today, No. 22 in NCBWA, No. 23 in D1Baseball and No. 24 in Baseball America.
Scouting the Dawgs:
UGA enters the series in Oxford with a 9-6 SEC record and a 26-11 overall record. Last week, Georgia faced Kentucky at home, dropping the series, 2-1, with final scores of 4-6, 9-7 and 0-1. Common SEC opponents thus far include Vanderbilt (against whom both Georgia and Ole Miss dropped the series, 2-1) and Texas A&M (both won the series 2-1).
Last We Met:
The Rebels and Bulldogs did not meet in 2017. In May, 2016 Ole Miss traveled to Georgia, taking the first two games before Georgia prevailed in game three.
In game one, shortstop Errol Robinson went 3-5 including a single, double and a triple, tallying triple four RBIs. Catcher Henri Lartigue also had three hits. Andy Pagnozzi got the win in relief and closer Wyatt picked up the save with final score in favor of the Rebels, 6-4.
In Game 2, the Rebels took the series with a 7-3 victory. J.B. Woodman hammered two home runs and recorded three RBIs to lead Ole Miss. Left fielder Cameron Dishon had a multi-hit game, as well, recording two singles. Starter David Parkinson recorded the win, and Wyatt Short earned his second save of the weekend.
Game three saw the Bulldogs use three homers and seven bases-loaded RBIs to avoid the sweep. Kyle Watson hit his first career home run in the game, and Errol Robinson increased his hitting streak to 14 games. James McArthur took the loss, his first of the year.
Ole Miss Batting Leaders (SEC games only)
|Batting Average||Ryan Olenek||.508|
|At Bats||Ryan Olenek, Nick Fortes||59 each|
|Runs Scored||Grae Kessinger||13|
|Home Runs||Tyler Keenan, Cole Zabowski||4 each|
Ryan Olenek is currently second in active SEC hitting streaks with 16 consecutive games in which he has recorded a hit. Earlier this season, Thomas Dillard tallied a 15-game hitting streak.
Georgia Batting Leaders (SEC games only)
Batting Average: Mason Meadows – .318
At Bats: Tucker Bradley – 69
Runs Scored: Keegan McGovern – 13
Hits: Tucker Bradley – 19
Doubles: Cam Shepherd – 5
Triples: Cam Shepherd – 2
Home Runs: Keegan McGovern – 4
RBIs: Adam Sasser and Keegan McGovern – 12 each
Projected Pitching Match-ups:
Ole Miss: Ryan Rolison (5-3, 3.27 ERA)
Georgia: Chase Adkins: (3-0, 3.97 ERA)
Ole Miss: Brady Fiegl (6-2, 3.29 ERA)
Georgia: Emerson Hancock (4-2, 3.78 ERA)
Ole Miss: James McArthur (4-0, 3.40 ERA)
Georgia: Ryan Webb (1-4, 4.30 ERA)
(Note: Stats are as of 4/19/18 and reflect SEC games only.)
In overall batting average, Ole Miss sits 2rd in the SEC at .305, while Georgia is 6th at .266. In runs scored, Ole Miss has 95 and the Bulldogs have 79. The Rebels have hit 17 home runs in league play, while the Bulldogs have tallied 11. Ole Miss leads the SEC in doubles with 34, while Georgia sits in 7th place with 23.
The Ole Miss pitching staff has a 4.90 conference ERA, striking out 140 batters in the process. Comparatively, Georgia enters this weekend’s series with a 4.02 team ERA and 142 strikeouts.
Ole Miss is fielding at .976 clip, having committed 13 errors in conference play. Georgia plays clean baseball and has a league-best .983 fielding percentage with only 10 errors.
Ole Miss has faced adversity the last two weekends; however, the Rebels return to conference play in the friendly confines of Swayze Field this weekend. I fully expect Ole Miss to rise to the challenge. The lineup will carry the team, while the bullpen will right the ship.
It’s bold but for this weekend my prediction includes a broom; the Rebels will sweep Georgia.