Rebels host Cardinals in battle of ranked teams
Three numbers stand out prior to the Ole Miss-Louisville series which begins this afternoon at University Stadium — 21, two and zero.
The Rebels come into the weekend ranked 21st nationally; Louisville is ranked No. 2, and between the two clubs, there are zero losses.
Ole Miss (4-0) and Louisville (4-0) open the three-game set today at 4:30 p.m., followed by games Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 1:30. The Rebels swept Florida International last weekend, then used a ninth-inning run to beat Arkansas State Wednesday. Louisville has cruised so far this year, outscoring its opponents 57-7.
A LOOK AT THE REBELS
Tate Blackman is simply tearing the cover off of the ball early in the season. The Altamonte Springs, Fla., native has eight hits in 12 at bats, including a pair of doubles and a home run. He is also leading the team with seven runs batted in. J.B. Woodman is also hot. The junior is hitting .385 with a homer and he has driven in six runs. As a team, the Rebels are hitting .274
On the mound, the Ole Miss staff has compiled an impressive 2.75 earned run average this year. Tonight’s starter, Brady Bramlett picked up his first win of the year against FIU, striking out six batters in only five innings of work.
Sean Johnson and Dallas Woolfolk also have wins in the starting rotation, while Andy Pagnozzi has picked up a victory out of the bullpen. Wyatt Short has converted in his only save opportunity.
ABOUT THE CARDINALS
They might be known as the Cardinals, but after the first week of the season, they could simply be called the Louisville Sluggers. Corey Ray, the ACC’s player of the week, is hitting .733 with three home runs.
Colin Lyman is hitting at a .545 clip while Blake Tibiri is at an even .500. Six Cardinal are hitting .400 or better and the team has an average of .395.
Under former Ole Miss assistant coach Dan McDonnell, Louisville has scored 10 or more runs in each game this season. The Cards have a three-game sweep of SIU-Edwardsville and a single win over Eastern Kentucky.
Drew Harrington, Kade McClure and Brenden McKay have not surrendered a run this season for Louisville. Kyle Funkhauser has given up just two in five innings.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday: Ole Miss – Brady Bramlett (1-0); Louisville – Funkhauser (1-0)
Saturday: Ole Miss – Chad Smith (0-0); Louisville – McKay (1-0)
Sunday: Ole Miss – Sean Johnson (1-0); Louisville – Harrington (1-0)
How to catch the game
Television: SEC Network+
Richard Cross (Fri., Sat.)/Will Kollmeyer (Sun.), play-by-play; David Dellucci, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
David Kellum (Sun.)/Eli Savoie (Fri., Sat.), play-by-play; Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.