The next six Ole Miss baseball games should be the best opportunity for a turn-around and strengthen the Rebels record before a harrowing 15-game SEC stretch to end the season.
A three game series against Georgia and another three games against Kentucky set in Oxford offers a chance for at least a 4-2 improvement on the SEC record. This would put the Rebels at 8-7, which is by no means great, but we'll take any above .500 record at this time considering the talent of the conference.
The final five SEC series are against the following: @ Auburn, @ Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi State and @ Arkansas. Going 8-7 in that stretch would be astounding at this point from what we've seen so far this season – anemic offense and solid pitching.
But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves and focus on Georgia as they have rebounded by a terrible non-conference start to be a solid SEC East contender.
Ole Miss (19-11, 4-5 SEC) vs. Georgia (16-14, 6-3 SEC)
Georgia's weekend rotation has undergone quite a few changes during the year. The rotation to be used for the Ole Miss weekend is the same Georgia used against LSU (a 2-1 series win in Red Stick) and Mississippi State (Sweep in Athens).
FRIDAY, 6:30 P.M.
UGA - Alex Wood, So., LHP (3-3, 3.40 ERA)
OM - Matt Crouse, Jr., LHP (6-1, 2.23 ERA)
On paper, Crouse looks to be a much better pitcher than Wood. Opponents batting are .217 against Crouse, he boasts a below 1.00 WHIP and the win and ERA totals speak for themselves. Crouse struggled last week for first time, so this game could be interesting to see how well he bounces back. Wood is averaging roughly 6.2 IP per outing, and the Georgia bullpen is by far their biggest strength in my opinion. If Ole Miss gets the early lead, it should be a win.
SATURDAY, 2:00 P.M. - SportSouth
UGA - Michael Pallazzone, Jr., RHP (4-1, 2.14 ERA)
OM - David Goforth, Jr., RHP (1-4, 3.32 ERA)
Goforth notched his first win last weekend behind a ridiculous offense leading to a 16-3 blowout of LSU. This Saturday match-up is by far the most likely loss of the series, however. I'm not sure why Pallazzone is not the Friday starter because his numbers almost completely mimic Crouse.
SUNDAY, 1:30 P.M.
UGA - Craig Gullickson, Jr., LHP (3-1, 4.38 ERA)
OM - Austin Wright, Jr., LHP (3-3, 3.96 ERA)
Heading into Sunday in a rubber match will be another great test for Austin Wright who has shown flashes of having next level stuff this season. His K/IP is still strong though he was touched up last week by LSU. Keep in mind this is his first D-1 and SEC season, so some bumps in the road are to be expected. Gullickson has won his last two outings against LSU and Mississippi State by pitching lights out in both appearances. Here's hoping Wright bounces back behind a hearty Oxford crowd.