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Baton Rouge, La. – Ole Miss has a knack for getting hot at the right time. The Rebels have won four consecutive games including Wednesday night’s 4-1 victory over No. 11 Southern Miss.
But there’s no rest for the weary in the SEC, and Ole Miss continues its road trip this weekend at No. 17 LSU (33-15, 14-10 SEC).
Winning baseball games at Alex Box Stadium is never an easy feat. The raucous, energetic LSU crowds are well known around the entire conference and provide a fantastic home field advantage.
But the Tigers don’t just rely on their fans. They consistently put a winning product on the field, and this season has been no different, as they sport a 25-6 record at home.
The LSU offense hits .294 as a team and has crushed 87 homers while racking up 365 RBI’s.
The Tigers are led by Dylan Crews, who bats .340 with 16 home runs, 54 RBI’s and a 1.105 OPS. His bombs are known affectionately in Baton Rouge as “Crews Missiles.”
— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) May 8, 2022
Crews took home SEC Co-Player of the Week honors last week. He finished with a .636 average, racking up 3 homers and 7 RBI’s on 7-11 hitting with five runs scored.
— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) May 9, 2022
Two other names Rebel fans will be familiar with also wear the LSU purple and gold, Jacob Berry and Drew Bianco.
Berry, who followed head coach Jay Johnson from Arizona to Baton Rouge, hasn’t lost a step since donning his new uniform. He’s batting .378 with 15 HR’s and 46 RBI’s. Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco’s son, Drew Bianco, is also a member of the LSU squad.
The Tiger pitching staff is formidable as well, boasting a 3.74 ERA in 424 innings.
Despite the current four-game winning streak, the optimism around the Rebel squad is certainly cautious.
In SEC play, Ole Miss (28-19, 10-14 SEC) has hit .229 against teams that were above .500 in conference play at the time of the series.
The Rebs have hit .272 against the rest of their conference foes, and are hitting .279 as a team overall.
The pitching staff has a 4.62 ERA overall, but that number has risen to 5.72 in conference play.
Despite the lack of production in the early part of conference play, Ole Miss has seemingly turned a corner and at just the right time.
In the four-game winning streak, the Rebels are hitting .305 with six home runs and 25 RBI’s on 42 hits.
The pitching staff has also put up a combined ERA of just 2.25 in those four games, allowing just nine total runs in that stretch while racking up 44 strikeouts and allowing just 10 walks.
Looking ahead to the weekend set, it will be crucial that the Rebels limit early damage and avoid having to play catch-up.
Despite winning its last four, Ole Miss has fallen behind by at least one run in three of those games. Fall behind early at LSU, and the Tigers’ potent offense might not give you the luxury of catching back up.
The Rebs will also need to give their Saturday and Sunday starters run support. Dylan DeLucia has been lights out since earning his spot as the Friday starter, and other than a lengthy outing against Mizzou, hasn’t needed much run support.
— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) April 30, 2022
It will be a quick turnaround for the Rebels following Wednesday night’s game against USM. First pitch for Friday’s contest is set for 7:30 p.m. CT on ESPN 2.
Projected starters include Dylan DeLucia (4-0, 4.14 ERA, 50 K 12 BB) for Ole Miss and Ma’Khail Hilliard (5-0, 3.95 ERA, 54 K, 12 BB) for LSU.
Both the Saturday and Sunday contests will be afternoon games, at 2:00 p.m. CT and 1:00 p.m. CT respectively.
(Feature image credit: Kiana Dale, Ole Miss Athletics)
Austin has more than ten years in sports media, including sports talk radio, play-by-play broadcasting and journalism. He has followed Ole Miss athletics for his entire life and has covered the Rebels and the rest of the SEC while working in the Memphis media market. Outside of sports media, Austin is a musician and outdoorsman. Before a serious accident forced him to be medically discharged, he was a multi-media journalist with the Mississippi National Guard.