ETA: The Diamond Rebs lost last night 4-3. Sam Smith was lit up early, and poor fielding didn't help, as Louisville jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Ole Miss scored a run each in the tops of the fifth, seventh, and ninth innings, but Louisville's lone run in the bottom of the sixth meant the difference. Our guys stranded nine on base, including two in the top of the ninth, as a late rally bid fell short. The Rebs need to get the split today to keep up their rankings and maintain the momentum garnered thus far on the season. Watch on RebelVision, listen on your radio, or follow the Gametracker. We'll be open threading, of course.
The Rebel baseball team isn't getting much of a spring break, as they've road tripped up to Louisville, Kentucky (not "Lewis-ville" or "Looey-ville," but "LOO-uh-vuhl") to take on the U of L Cardinals in a two game series. This is is likely to be the most challenging opponent Ole Miss will face before SEC play, meaning that a split series or even a sweep would be huge for this season going forward.
Notable about this series is Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell, who just four years ago was an assistant coach under Mike Bianco at Ole Miss. Known for his coaching and recruiting prowess, he took Louisville to the College World Series in his first year at the helm...
Yep, yet another team that has been to Omaha recently. WAOM.
Anyway, it should be interesting to see how this team handles the Spring Break travel against a fairly talented opponent.
Louisville is 10-5 on the year thus far. They opened the season with a loss to Minnesota before beating around a handful of other teams from the B1G (Indiana, Michigan State, Illinois), sweeping Oakland University, taking the series against Pepperdine, and knocking off a couple of other mid-majors. Their other losses have come to ECU, Alabama, and Eastern Illinois, so it's not as if Louisville has shown a consistent winning trend.
The Cardinals coach McDonnell will rely on most heavily to create some offense are 2B Nick Ratajczak (a MGCC product), OF Stewart Ijames, and OF Adam Engel. Ratajczak has a .362 batting average, .471 on base percentage, and 13 runs scored. Ijames (like an iPod?), a second-team all Big East selection last year, has a .350 average and a .452 on base percentage. He leads the team in home runs with five. Engel bats .349, gets on base at a .400 clip, and leads the team in stolen bases with ten.
Tonight's game is at 5:00 PM central. Taking the mound for the home team will be Jared Ruxer, a freshman righty who is 1-0 with a 6.14 ERA in 7.1 innings. Pitching for the Rebels will be freshman Sam Smith, who is 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA in 14.0 innings pitched.
Tomorrow's game is at 11:00 AM (yes, that's correct), and will see Louisville freshman Nick Burdi (Get it, like "birdie" as in a cardinal? Right?), another righty, square off against Josh Laxer. Burdi is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA. Laxer has had some shaky moments as a freshman, but he's sitting pretty with a 2-0 record and a 2.16 ERA.
So that's it. Watch the games on Rebel Vision or listen to them on the radio if you can't make it to Louisville. And feel free to treat this as your OPEN THREAD for the two day series. Hotty Toddy.