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Ole Miss Baseball Set to Host No. 18 Alabama for Early Weekend Series

Ole Miss Baseball Set to Host No. 18 Alabama for Early Weekend Series

OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss Baseball (22-18, 6-12 SEC) hosts No. 18 Alabama (26-15, 7-11 SEC) for a Thursday-Saturday series at Swayze Field.

Here are the projected starters for each team:

LEADING OFF

  • The Rebels took care of North Alabama Tuesday morning, winning 9-4 in their annual Kids’ Day game.
  • Ole Miss took one of three last weekend at No. 23 Georgia, winning the series finale in Athens.
  • Liam Doyle struck out eight batters in his start in game two, giving him 8+ strikeouts in five of his seven starts.
  • Austin Simmons pitched in both games of Saturday’s doubleheader, combining for 2.2 innings and three strikeouts. Five of his last six outings have been scoreless.
  • Ethan Lege is hitting .333 with three home runs, six walks, six RBI, and seven runs scored over his last six games.
  • Will Furniss is hitting .346 with two home runs and eight RBI over his last eight games.
  • Gunnar Dennis has given up zero earned runs and struck out nine batters over his last three appearances.
  • Ole Miss is currently No. 1 in Strength of Schedule, having played the hardest schedule in the country.
  • The Rebels are ranked 19th in the nation in strikeouts per nine, averaging 10.5 punchouts per game.
  • Ole Miss is 15th in the NCAA in walks drawn (241), averaging 6.03 per game.
  • The Rebels lead the SEC in sacrifice flies with 28.
  • Jackson Ross’ 40 walks this season are the second-most in a single-season over the last four seasons, behind only Jacob Gonzalez’s 50 in 2022.
  • Ethan Lege is the fourth-hardest hitter to strike out in the SEC, striking out just 14 times in 141 at bats.
  • Connor Spencer has five saves this season, third-most in the SEC.

STAND UP
Thursday’s game against the Crimson Tide will be a collaboration between both teams and Stand Up To Cancer.

The game will feature a Placard Moment™ between the third and fourth innings in which fans at Swayze Field will be invited to stand in recognition for a moment of silence. This impactful moment draws attention to just how many people are impacted by this disease and the need for further research.

Placards will be placed in each seat for fans to fill out when they arrive at Swayze Field. Extra placards can also be picked up at the left field and home plate entrances.

Fans that can’t make it to Swayze Field can also create a digital version to share on social media using the SU2C placard generator at StandUpToCancer.org.

SCOUTING REPORT
Rob Vaughn is in his first year as head coach for the Crimson Tide. Prior to Alabama, Vaughn spent eleven years at Maryland, including five years as an assistant coach before taking over the reins as head coach for the Terrapins from 2018-2023.

Last season, Alabama had a 43-21 (16-14 SEC) overall record. The Crimson Tide made a run in the SEC tournament beating Kentucky and Auburn but fell to Vanderbilt and Florida ending their run in Hoover.

Alabama went on to host a regional in Tuscaloosa and secured wins over Nicholls, Troy and Boston College to advance to the NCAA Super Regional in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Crimson Tide fell in two games to No.1 ranked Wake Forest, ending their postseason run.

Alabama’s third baseman, Gage Miller, was named to the 2024 Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List. The junior is batting .386 and boasts 17 home runs and 45 RBIs. On the mound, Greg Farone contributes to the Crimson Tide with a 3.57 ERA, 48 strikeouts through 45.1 innings pitched and has held opponents to only 18 earned runs.

Ole Miss has played Alabama 373 times, more than any team except Mississippi State. The Crimson Tide holds the 216-155 lead in the series. Last season, the SEC foes squared off in Tuscaloosa and Alabama walked away with the series win.

1,000 WINS AND COUNTING
Ole Miss head baseball coach Mike Bianco became one of only 21 active NCAA DI coaches with 1,000 career wins on April 20, 2024 as the Rebels defeated Georgia in game two of a doubleheader in Athens. He is also now the 98th head coach in NCAA history to reach the mark.

On his road to 1,000 wins, Bianco has delivered 18 postseason appearances, including eight Super Regional berths, a pair of trips to the College World Series, and the first national championship in program history. He has racked up 900 victories at Ole Miss and holds a 1,000-603 (.624) overall record for his career. His 900 wins at Ole Miss are the most in Rebel baseball history and rank third all-time among coaches in the SEC.

DOYLE RULES
Liam Doyle has struck out eight or more batters in five of his seven starts this season. In each of those five starts, he has only issued one walk and worked through 4+ innings.

Doyle struck out 10 batters in each of his first two SEC starts, becoming the first Rebel since Dylan DeLucia in 2022 to post multiple double-digit strikeout games in a season. He is also the first Rebel since Doug Nikhazy in 2021 to have double-digit strikeouts in consecutive outings.

GUN DAY: RELOADED
Gunnar Dennis has not allowed an earned run over his last three appearances, working 7.1 innings with nine strikeouts and four walks. Saturday against Georgia he made his first start since March 31, working 4.1 innings and allowing one unearned run on four strikeouts.

In his previous four outings, the left-hander had allowed 20 earned runs and five walks over 9.2 innings of work.

WALKING TALL
Jackson Ross’ 40 walks this season are the second-most in a single-season over the last four seasons. He trails only Jacob Gonzalez’s 50 total walks in 2022. Gonzalez led the team in walks each of the last three seasons with 35 in 2023, 50 in 2022, and 38 in 2021.

The program record for walks in a single season was set by Thomas Dillard in 2019 when he had 61.

Ross is second in the SEC, trailing only Texas A&M’s Braden Montgomery, and 12th in the NCAA in walks. He is currently averaging one free pass per game.

CHANGE OF SCENERY
Since moving to second base two weeks ago, Luke Hill has not made an error and seen his batting average start to rise. In nine games on the right side, Hill is hitting .278 (10-for-36) with eight runs scored, four RBI, and a home run.

In 29 games at shortstop, Hill was hitting .250 with five errors and just 15 RBI.

BIG GAME TWO GUY
Andrew Fischer is hitting .359 (14-for-39) with 10 home runs, 17 RBI, and 17 runs scored in game two of series this season. He has hit at least one home run in five of this season’s 10 game twos and all four of his multi-home run games have come in game twos. Over the first six weeks of SEC play, Fischer has hit seven home runs and driven in 10 runs in game twos.

STEALING YOUR HEART
The Rebels have stolen 42 bases so far this season, tying their entire season total from 2023 and already eight more than 2022. Since setting a new single-season program record in 2019 (93), Ole Miss has not stolen more than 44 bases in a season. They are currently averaging 1.05 stolen bases per game.

Ethan Groff has stolen 13 bases in 2024, having not been caught yet. Luke Hill is 10-for-11 in stolen base attempts.

CAPTAIN CLUTCH
Ethan Lege has been the Rebels’ most clutch hitter, hitting .435 (20-for-46) with two outs in an inning. He has 18 two-out RBI, is hitting .314 with runners in scoring position, and is 8-for-13 when hitting with a runner on third base and less than two outs.

GETTING THEIR STEPS IN
Ole Miss has drawn the 15th-highest number of walks in the nation with 241 free passes in 40 games. The Rebels are averaging 6.03 walks per game and are one of four teams from the SEC in the top-15 (South Carolina, Texas A&M, Georgia, Ole Miss).

During their series against High Point, the Rebels set a new single-game program record for walks with 19 in game three.

Evelyn Van Pelt

Evelyn Van Pelt

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.

About The Author

Evelyn Van Pelt

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.

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