Lipscomb Visits Oxford: Rebs Need Sweep for SEC Momentum

A recent three-game skid has some fans on the brink of hysteria as baseball season was supposed to be the beacon of light for Ole Miss athletics this academic year.

And with some good reason, the Rebels enter SEC play a mere four games from now and only have a little time to tinker with its line-up before one of the tougher schedules in college baseball.

So in our preview for this weekend, we looked at what batting order would start producing more runs by using the beloved OPS (on-base percentage + slugging).

The Rebels starting pitching has been fairly consistent through the first 14 games of the 2011 season, but the run production has been hit or miss (pun intended).

Here's a likely line-up our fans have seen in mid-week series this year with corresponding OPS:

CF Mathis, .779

2B Yarbrough, .777

RF Smith, .675

DH Snyder, 1.013

3B Overbey, .793

LF Kirksey, .939

SS Anderson/Newalu, .620/.783

1B Allen, .969

C Hightower, .900

LHP Tracy, 1.047

The big four that stick out are Tracy, Snyder, Kirksey and Allen. These are four bats that should make up the core of our batting order. Stick them from 3-6 in the line-up for now until Matt Smith gets back on track, right? The only issue with that is where Tracy would play in the field or bat at DH. But then, where would Snyder go as his likely position, 1B, is occupied by another solid bat in Allen.

Allen could move to catcher, but Taylor Hightower has also proven he can hit for power and get on base at a fairly high rate.

Here's the proposed batting order I would put in place against Lipscomb and Jackson State to try out something different prior to SEC play against lesser opponents:

CF Mathis, .779

2B Yarbrough, .777

DH Tracy, 1.047

1B Snyder, 1.013

C Allen, .969

LF Kirksey, .939

RF Smith, .675

3B Overbey, .793

SS Anderson/Newalu, .620/.783

We've got to keep Mathis and Yarbrough at the top of the order as they provide speed and consistency in getting on-base. Smith could very easily regain his previous form as SEC play begins, and if he does then drop Allen or Kirksey down in the line-up.

Smith in SEC play last year had an .860 OPS along with a 1.015 OPS for the season. Undoubtedly, he is one of our best hitters in the last couple years, but he's definitely run on a tough stretch recently.

There's no reason why the Rebels should struggle against Lipscomb this weekend (they got swept in Nashville by Purdue). It's a good time to relax, switch things up a bit and find a good winning combination for the SEC play ahead.

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCH-UPS:
FRIDAY, 6:30 P.M.

LU - Richie Goodenow, Sr., LHP

OM - Matt Crouse, JR, LHP



SATURDAY, 1:30 P.M.

LU - Connor Sinclair, Jr., RHP

OM - David Goforth, JR, RHP


SUNDAY, 1:30 P.M.

LU - Dannie Strable, Jr., RHP

OM - Austin Wright, JR, LHP

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