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Weekend Preview: No. 5 Ole Miss hits the road to face No. 12 Aggies

Weekend Preview: No. 5 Ole Miss hits the road to face No. 12 Aggies

This weekend SEC baseball fans can watch two of the league’s best compete as Ole Miss travels to College Station to take on the Aggies.

OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss (20-2, 2-1 SEC) hits the road for the first time in SEC play this season as the No. 5 Rebels travel to College Station, Texas for a Thursday-Saturday series at Blue Bell Park against western division foe Texas A&M.

Among the nation's finest
Both teams are ranked high nationally, with the Rebels coming in at No. 5 in D1Baseball, USA Today and NCBWA, as well as sitting at No. 7 in the Baseball America poll and No. 9 in Collegiate Baseball’s weekly ranking. The Aggies enter the series ranked No. 11 by NCBWA, No.12 in the D1Baseball, USA Today and Baseball America polls and No. 18 by Collegiate Baseball.

After dropping its first two conference games to Auburn, A&M owns a 17-4, 1-2 SEC record. Last season the Aggies compiled a 41-23 overall record and finished 16-14 in SEC action. The Aggies were both a Regional and Super Regional host, as well as a College World Series participant.

Ole Miss hosted A&M in Oxford last May, and the Rebels took the series, 2-1.  The Rebels lost game one, but rebounded in game two with Will Ethridge notching the relief win and Dallas Woolfolk the save. In the deciding game three, David Parkinson picked up the win for Ole Miss, while Woolfolk tallied his second save of the weekend.

Ole Miss Batting Leaders

Thomas Dillard

Dillard has 6 HRs this season.
(Photo: Josh McCoy)

Entering the series with the Aggies, here’s a look at some of the Ole Miss superlatives at the plate:

Top batting average – Chase Cockrell: .439
Most at-bats – Will Golsan: 83
Most runs scored – Thomas Dillard: 24
Most hits – Grae Kessinger: 30
Most doubles – Grae Kessinger: 8 (tied for 2nd in SEC)
Most triples – Will Golsan and Thomas Dillard, 1
Home Runs – Thomas Dillard, 6 (tied for 9th in SEC)
Most RBIs – Thomas Dillard, 21

Scouting the Aggies

A&M Batting Leaders

Here’s a look at how the Aggies are faring at the plate as they prepare to face the Rebels:

Top batting average – Michael Helman: .375
Most at bats – Michael Helman and Braden Shewmake: 88 (tied for 1st in SEC)
Most runs scored – Zach DeLoach: 22 (tied for 8th in SEC)
Most hits – Michael Helman: 37 (tied for 2nd in SEC)
Most doubles – Michael Helman: 6
Most triples – Zach DeLoach: 5 (leads SEC)
Most home runs – Logan Foster: 6 (tied for 9th in SEC)
Most RBIs – Logan Foster: 26 (tied for 2nd in SEC)

Defensively for the Aggies:

Barring any unforeseen changes, look for 1st to 3rd to be: Chris Andritsos, Michael Helman, Braden Shewmake and George Janca.

In the outfiled, left to right, expect Logan Foster, Zach DeLoach, and Allonte Wingate/Will Frizell.  The catching duties will fall to Hunter Coleman or Cole Bedford.

Anticipated lineup for A&M:

1) Zach DeLoach
2) Michael Helman
3) Braden Shewmake
4) Logan Foster or Chris Andritsos
5) Andritsos or Foster
6) Will Frizell or George Janca
7) Hunter Coleman or Cole Bedford
8) Allonte Wingate or Aaron Walters
9) George Janca or Allonte Wingate

Projected Pitching Matchups:

Brady Feigl (Photo: Josh McCoy)

Thursday night:

Ole Miss: Ryan Rolinson (3-2, 2.37 ERA)
A&M: Stephen Kolek (3-2, 1.50 ERA (8th Best in SEC)

Friday night:

Ole Miss: Brady Fiegl (5-0, 1.10 ERA (3rd Best in SEC)
A&M: John Doxakis (3-0, 1.65 ERA)

Saturday:
Ole Miss: James McArthur (3-0, 1.35 ERA (6th Best in SEC)
A&M: Mitchell Kilkenny (5-0, 1.32 ERA (5th Best in SEC)

Team Comparison (as of 3/19/18):

Batting:  In overall batting average, Ole Miss sits 4th in the SEC at .303, while and A&M is 8th at .298. Interestingly, the Aggies lead the league in hits (227), while the Rebels are 9th (207). In runs scored, Ole Miss has notched 150 and the Aggies have 146. Ole Miss has tallied 25 homers, while A&M has hit 21.

Pitching:  A&M and Ole Miss are doing quite well on the mound this season. The Rebels are No. 1 in team ERA at 2.11 and the Aggies are No. 2 at 2.24. As one would expect, the two teams are very close in most statistical pitching categories, with the exception of saves and strikeouts. Ole Miss leads the conference in saves with nine (9) and strikeouts (217).

Fielding:  Ole Miss is No. 3 in the league in fielding percentage (.982) and has committed only 14 errors (tied for 10th). A&M, on the other hand, is last in the league with a .969 fielding percentage and the most number of errors at 26.

Prediction

Grae Kessinger

Grae Kessinger leads the team with
8 doubles. (Photo: Josh McCoy)

Make no doubt about it, Aggieland is tough place to play in any sport. Aggie fans are passionate, loyal and stay ‘til the end. This weekend, the Rebels will face the best pitching they’ve seen all year; this is the kind of series that will test every part of our club.

Having seen two series now in which Ole Miss has faced adversity and risen to the occasion, I have no reason to believe they won’t meet the challenge again this weekend.

Ole Miss wins the series, two games to one, in three very competitive ballgames. Hotty Toddy!

About The Author

Chris Muller

Chris is our Director of Baseball Content and Senior Baseball Writer. Muller is a 1995 Graduate of Ole Miss. He is a collegiate recreational sports professional currently residing in Arlington Texas with his wife of 24 years, Amber, and German Shorthaired Pointer, Sophie. Chris is an avid Ole Miss Baseball and Football fan. His hobbies include watching college football and baseball and playing poker with his friends.

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