Ole Miss Baseball Wraps Up Regular Season Against No. 19 Alabama
TUSCALOOSA — Ole Miss baseball (25-26, 6-21 SEC) finishes out the 2023 regular season on the road in Tuscaloosa against No. 19 Alabama (35-17, 13-14 SEC).
Here are the projected starters on the mound for the Rebels and Crimson Tide for the Thursday-Saturday series:
- The Crimson Tide swept the Rebels in Oxford last season, scoring seven or more runs in each game.
- Before 2022, the Rebels had won four-straight series against Alabama, sweeping the series in 2021 and 2017.
- Ole Miss has dropped their last two SEC series, being swept by Auburn last weekend and dropping two out of three to Missouri before that.
- Jacob Gonzalez was named as a 2023 Brooks Wallace Award semifinalist this week. The award is presented annually to the nation’s top shortstop.
- Peyton Chatagnier was named to the 2023 SEC Community Service Team this week.
- Kemp Alderman is currently riding a 46-game on-base streak dating back to February 25,
- The Rebels are ranked fifth in the SEC in doubles with 96, just two behind league-leader LSU. They are averaging almost two per game.
- Ethan Lege is the hardest hitter to strike out in the SEC, having only struck out 15 times in 170 at bats.
Cream of the Crop
The College Baseball Foundation released their list of the 2023 Brooks Wallace Award semifinalists Tuesday and Ole Miss’ Jacob Gonzalez was named as one of the top-25 shortstops in college baseball.
Gonzalez was named a semifinalist last season and is one of four players to make the list in both 2022 and 2023. The junior is trying to be the first Rebel to win the award since Grae Kessinger did so in 2019.
Gonzalez leads the Rebels in on-base percentage (.440), doubles (18), walks (35), and sacrifice flies (7). He is hitting .418 (23-for-55) and has 19 RBI when hitting with two outs this season and is ranked fifth in the SEC in doubles with 18 total two-base hits.
Gonzalez has made just five errors all season and has a .968 fielding percentage while playing arguably one of the most important defensive positions on the field.
Calvin Harris: Household name
Calvin Harris has had a huge week two weeks ago, gaining national attention for his record-breaking performance against Missouri. Harris made history as he hit four home runs, drove in 10 runs, scored four times, and compiled 16 total bases in Ole Miss’ 20-14 win over the Tigers.
The junior became the first SEC player to ever hit four home runs in a conference game and just the third SEC player to do it in any game. He is also now just the fourth player in SEC history to have 16+ total bases in a single game.
His four home runs and 16 total bases also set new Ole Miss single-game records in both categories and his 10 RBI tied an Ole Miss single-game record that has stood since 1947. All marks were career-highs for Harris, and he also set a new career-high with four runs scored in the series finale.
The junior hit .471 (8-for-17) with five home runs, a triple, 13 RBI, and nine runs scored over four games that week earning him the titles of SEC Co-Player of the Week and NCBWA Dick Houser Trophy National Hitter of the Week while also winning the Golden Spikes Performance of the Week Award.
Can’t be stopped
Kemp Alderman is currently riding a 46-game on-base streak and a 16-game hitting streak. He is ranked third in the SEC in total bases, fourth in hits, fifth in home runs, sixth in RBI, seventh in batting average, and ninth in slugging percentage.
The outfielder leads the team in batting average (.377), slugging percentage (.733), hits (72), RBI (59), total bases (140), and home runs (19).
His on-base streak is tied for the fourth-longest active streak in Division I and is the second-longest active streak in the SEC. LSU’s Dylan Crews has a streak of 51 games dating back to last season and FGCU’s Brian Ellis has a NCAA-record 117 game streak going that dates back to 2021.
199 innings (48.4 percent) of Ole Miss’ innings on the mound this season have been thrown by freshmen.
Seven freshmen have pitched at least seven innings and five have pitched 25 or more innings. JT Quinn leads the newcomers with 50.2 innings worked, followed by Grayson Saunier who has pitched 42. Quinn, Saunier, and Jordan Vera have combined to start 26 of the Rebels’ 48 games.
In total, 273 innings (66.4 percent) have been pitched by Rebels who were not on the roster in 2022.
Jacob Gonzalez, Kemp Alderman, and Calvin Harris have been the best Rebel hitters with two outs in an inning. Gonzalez is hitting .449 (22-for-49) with two outs in an inning while Alderman is hitting .348 and Harris is hitting .310.
Alderman leads the team in two-out RBI with 23 and the three of them have combined for 55 total two-out RBI.
Ethan Lege continues to be the hardest hitter to strikeout in the SEC. He has struck out just 15 times in his 161 at bats this season. The third baseman has only struck out more than once in a game one time this year (2/24 vs. Maryland) and only has seven strikeouts in SEC play.
Kemp Alderman had an exceptional month of April, leading the SEC in total bases with 59. The junior was also ranked second in hits (31), fourth in doubles (7), fifth in home runs (7), sixth in RBI (21), and seventh in both batting average (.397) and slugging percentage (.756).
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.