Ole Miss Baseball Weekend Preview: No. 12 Rebels Travel to Face No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks

Jordan Montgomery - Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Rebels begin SEC play against a doozie of an opponent.

Welcome to SEC play.

Despite the frustrating mid week loss to Memphis and losing one-of-three to Georgia State, the Rebels enter SEC play in a pretty good position and with the high hopes of the Ole Miss fan base. At 16-2 overall, they have been pretty damn impressive when considering the team's lack of star power and disappointing finish to last season. Hats off to the players and coaches for proving us wrong up until this point.

Unfortunately, very little of that matters from here on out. The Rebels will jump right into quite possibly the toughest baseball conference in America by traveling to Columbia, South Carolina to face the top-ranked Gamecocks. Seemingly overnight, Carolina has built one the nations elite baseball programs in recent years. Appearing in four title series and winning two of their own has made them a recruiting powerhouse, and this year's team is just saturated with great baseball talent.

The Gamecocks enter the weekend with a record of 16-0. The Rebels and Gamecocks share a common opponent this year in Stetson, with both teams going 5-0 against the Hatters. Additionally, South Carolina has swept Clemson, which is much better than the Rebs can boast at this point.

Beyond that, though, comparing the two teams becomes increasingly difficult. I don't disagree that the Rebels are a good team, but the Cocks are an elite team, and the data shows this. For example, the Gamecocks have a 1.12 strikeout/walk ratio compared to the Rebels'  1.64 strikeout/walk ratio. This tells you that they put the ball in play better than our Rebels at a fairly noticeable rate. However, it's not all doom and gloom. Consider that the Rebels are stealing bases at an 83% clip compared to only 55% for South Carolina.

But let's flesh it all out. From an individual and team standpoint, the 2 teams match up like this:

South Carolina Individual Hitting Statistics

Name

Avg

HR

RBI

SLG%

OBP%

SB/ATT

SO/BB

Connor Bright

.424

0

16

.576

.478

3/4

6/8

Grayson Greiner

.370

3

19

.611

.469

0/0

8/9

Kyle Martin

.368

3

12

.561

.435

0/1

8/9

Elliott Caldwell

.317

0

8

.390

.367

0/2

7/3

Marcus Mooney

.316

0

10

.421

.418

1/2

7/8

Tanner English

.308

1

13

.442

.410

3/5

11/8

Team

Average

HR

RBI

OBP%

SLG%

SB/ATT

SO/BB

.316

12

109

.448

.406

12/22

84/75

Ole Miss Individual Hitting Statistics

Name

Avg

HR

RBI

SLG%

OBP%

SB/ATT

SO/BB

Brantley Bell

.500

0

5

.600

.559

1/1

3/2

Austin Bousfield

.413

2

13

.600

.471

8/8

4/6

Sikes Orvis

.351

3

8

.544

.456

0/0

11/10

Preston Overbey

.343

2

11

.507

.366

0/1

13/2

Austin Anderson

.338

0

6

.394

.429

5/5

4/8

Will Allen

.338

3

23

.563

.375

0/0

13/4

Team

Avg

HR

RBI

SLG%

OBP%

SB/ATT

SO/BB

.323

12

95

.435

.394

30/36

97/59

Where South Carolina really impresses (if we're not going with "everywhere") is on the mound. That they have only given up eight runs this month and 20 runs on the year is just terrifying for anyone who has to face them this year.

Here's a look at the weekend's pitching matchups:

  • Friday: Jordan Montgomery, a right handed junior, will start the series. He is 3-0 on the young season with a 1.99 ERA.  n 22.2 innings of work, Jordan has struck out 25 batters while walking eight. Montgomery has allowed 19 hits in his 22.2 innings, which yields a .232 opponents' batting average. Montgomery has also only allowed four extra base hits, with all of those being doubles.  Last season in 13 starts, Jordan went 6-1 with a 1.48 ERA.  He was also a Freshman All-American two seasons ago.

    Will Crowe will face off against righty Chris Ellis who is currently 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA for the Rebels.  Chris has 20 strikeouts in 27.2 innings pitched, and opponents are only hitting .138 against him this season.


  • Saturday: Sophomore southpaw Jack Wynkoop is currently 4-0 on the season with a 1.37 ERA through four starts. Wynkoop has struck out 24 batters while only walking three through 26.1 innings pitched. He has allowed 22 hits in those 26.1 innings, which gives him a .220 opponents' batting average.  Wynkoop has only allowed four extra base hits all season.  Last season Jack was a Freshman All-American as well as an All-SEC freshman going 7-3 with a 3.09 ERA.

    Jack Wynkoop will face off against lefty Christian Trent who is 2-0 with a 3.96 ERA.  Through 25 innings, Trent has struck out 25 men while only allowing a single walk.  Opponents are hitting .202 this season off Christian.


  • Sunday: Carolina's Sunday night starter Will Crowe is a right handed freshmen and is off to a great start this season.  He is currently 3-0 in four starts with a 0.99 ERA, which is good for 9th amongst SEC starters. In three of his four starts, Crowe didn't allow a run. Through 27.1 innings, Will has struck out 21 while only walking three. Batters have only managed 16 hits (only two extra base hits) against him, which is good for a .176 opponents' batting average. He was drafted in the 31st round in last year's draft by the Cleveland Indians, which really makes you wonder how he fell so far if he's been so damn good. He was a high school All American going 15-1 with a 0.46 ERA, striking out 172 batters in only 91 innings.

    Jordan will face off against Mr. Sunday Sizzle, Sam Smith, who is currently 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA. Smith has 13 strikeouts to six walks in 22.1 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting .241 off him this season.


Here's a look both teams' overall pitching stats:

  • ERA: South Carolina 1.20 (1st in SEC) - Ole Miss 1.98 (6th in SEC)
  • Opposing Batting Average: South Carolina .198 (5th SEC) - Ole Miss .191 (5th SEC)
  • Strikeouts: South Carolina 140 (3rd SEC) - Ole Miss 137 (4th SEC)
  • Runs Allowed: South Carolina 20 (1st SEC) - Ole Miss 37 (6th SEC)
  • Hits Allowed: South Carolina 97 (4th SEC) - Ole Miss 99 (7th SEC)

Leaving Columbia with at least one win leaves plenty of positives to take away into the remainder of the conference schedule.  If the Rebels can put the ball in play, manufacture some runs and continue to pitch well - as well as get some lucky breaks - they have a shot to possibly steal a series.

We aren't about to predict as much, however. What we will predict is that the Rebels struggle to get some clutch hits, frustrating the hell out of all of us, but still manage to avoid the sweep.

[HTFit4LifeLLC and BlakeKirbyReb for their work on the batting and pitching stats, respectively. Follow them on Twitter and tell them how cool you think they are.]

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