Preview: Ole Miss baseball hosts No. 1 LSU; Hunter Elliott set to start game two
OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss welcomes No. 1 LSU to Swayze for a three-game series this weekend. Halfway through league play, the Rebels are sitting at 3-12 (SEC) and are hoping to trigger a turnaround, much as they did last season after they swept LSU in Baton Rouge for the first time in program history.
LSU leads Ole Miss, 179-159, in a series that began in 1906. LSU posted a 2-1 series victory over Ole Miss in its last visit to Oxford in 2021.
Tigers’ head coach Jay Johnson is eager to play the Rebs at Swayze.
“The top of the Ole Miss lineup is as good as any in college baseball. It’s a complete team with a lot of experience back from last year’s national championship. We’re looking forward to the challenge this weekend. We’re playing the national champs on the road; we’re excited to play in a great environment and have the opportunity to get after those guys.”
LSU head coach Jay Johnson
Ole Miss: Rebel fans got some good news Thursday when the probably pitching lineups were released, as ace Hunter Elliott is set to start the Saturday game against LSU. This will be Elliott’s first game back since mid-February when he suffered a UCL sprain in the season-opener against Delaware.
Xavier Rivas will take the mound Friday against LSU. He’s 5-2 on the season with a 5.40 ERA, 51 Ks and 24 BBs. Sunday’s starter for Ole Miss is to be announced.
LSU: The Tigers will send junior right-handed pitcher Paul Skenes to the mound Friday. He’s 6-1 on the season with a 1.69 ERA in 53.1 innings pitched. He’s notched 104 Ks and only 9 BBs.
In game two, the Tigers will have junior righty Ty Floyd on the bump. He’s 5-0 with a 3.92 ERA in 39 innings pitched. He’s tallied 40 Ks with 17 BB.
Christian Little will be LSU’s starter in game three. The junior righty is 2-1 this season with a 3.86 ERA in 23.1 innings pitched with 32 Ks and 13 BB.
About the Tigers
- LSU’s 29-7 record is its best through 36 games since 2015, when the Tigers were 31-5 … the 2023 Tigers have been ranked No. 1 in all of the college baseball polls for 10 consecutive weeks.
- LSU enters this week at or near the top of several NCAA statistical categories … the Tigers are No. 1 in the nation in on-base percentage (.454), scoring average (10.3 runs per game) and shutouts pitched (7) … the Tigers are No. 2 in runs scored (370); No. 3 in slugging percentage (.584); No. 4 in strikeouts pitched per nine innings (11.7); and No. 5 in batting average (.328), hit-by-pitch (82) and hits allowed per nine innings (7.12).
- LSU centerfielder Dylan Crews is No. 1 in the nation in batting average (.491), on-base percentage (.647), walks (42) and runs scored (61); Crews is No. 9 in slugging percentage (.828) … third baseman Tommy White is No. 1 in the nation in RBI per game (1.88), and he is No. 3 in total RBI (62) … right-hander Paul Skenes leads the nation in strikeouts (104), strikeouts per nine innings (17.55), hits allowed per nine innings (4.72) and WHIP (0.69) … Skenes is No. 3 in strikeout-to-walk ratio (11.56) and No. 6 in ERA (1.69).
- Sophomore third baseman Tommy White was named SEC Player of the Week on Monday, as he led LSU to three wins in four games last week, including an SEC series victory over NCAA RPI No. 1 Kentucky
Ole Miss superlatives
The Rebels are ranked fourth in the SEC in doubles with 77 on the season. They hit seven last weekend in their series against Mississippi State and 16 total on the week. Calvin Harris and Jacob Gonzalez each hit four doubles last week to make up half of the team total. Gonzalez is third in the conference and 26th in the nation with 15 total doubles.
The Rebels are the best fielding team in the SEC with a .982 fielding percentage. They have only made 21 errors on the season and were the only team in the conference to not make an error last week.
Kemp Alderman is currently riding a 32-game on-base streak and has hit six extra-base hits in his last six games. He is ranked sixth in the SEC in home runs and RBI and fifth in total bases. His 15 home runs are a career-best and have him tied for 14th in the nation in round-trippers.
Who: Ole Miss (21-16, 3-12 SEC) vs. LSU (29-7, 9-5 SEC)
Where: Oxford, Miss., Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field (11,477)
When: Friday, April 21, 6:30 p.m. (CT)…Saturday, April 22, 2 p.m. (CT)…Sunday, April 23, 1:30 p.m. (CT)
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
Talent: David Kellum (PxP), Brad Henderson (Color)
TV: SEC Network+ (Friday, Sunday), ESPN2 (Saturday)
Talent: Richard Cross (PxP), Mike Ferrin (PxP), Matt McLaughlin (Analyst), David Dellucci (Analyst), Ben McDonald (Analyst)
Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.