Can Bianco do it Again? Rebel Baseball Faces #1 Kentucky this Weekend

Fresh off of a night of tomfoolery in the Mississippi Braves' Trustmark Park and a weekend series victory against the then-#1 Florida Gators, Ole Miss travels to Lexington, Kentucky to face a Wildcats baseball team which has surprised pretty much everybody who follows college baseball this year by amassing an impressive 28-2 (7-2) record on the season so far. If you ask the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll, they'll tell you that Kentucky's indeed the number one team in the country thus far (ESPN has them at #4 and Baseball America has them at #8 so, at the very least, they're a consensus top-10 team). The Rebels won't have the beer soaked, fever pitched, and friendly confines of Swayze Field to lean against when times get tough, meaning that this road series could be one of the most difficult ones this team has all season.

Kentucky, as you'd expect from a team which is 28-2 on the year, has shown very few weaknesses thus far. Only one of their starting batters has an average below .300 (middle infielder Matt Reida). On offense, they're led by OF Lucas Witt (.365 avg, 9 RBI), OF Austin Cousino (.363, 26), and 1B AJ Reed (.346, 30), . Reed has also been incredibly impressive in SEC play, where he has posted a .371 average thus far. But, really, they've just got a lot of guys who can get on base. In fact, they lead the SEC in on base percentage (.426), slugging percentage (.508), hits (347), total runs (247), runs batted in (226), and doubles (66). Oh, and their team batting average (.333) is the best in the NCAA. Really, we're going to have a tough time keeping them from scoring.

On the bump, their starting weekend rotation is entirely made up of lefties (which is interesting because ours are all righties). On Friday, they'll put junior Taylor Rodgers (4-1, 4.65 ERA) to go up against Rebel ace Bobby Wahl. That matchup, in itself, against these offenses is enough worth watching. Their Saturday guy is junior Jerad Grundy (3-0, 3.41) and their Sunday guy is sophomore Corey Littrell (4-0, 1.88).

A series win this weekend would be huge, and certainly not impossible, but I wouldn't count on it. I expect the Rebs to take one win this weekend. Let's hope I'm wrong.


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