Ole Miss Baseball: The Rebels host the LSU Tigers in Oxford

Two of the SEC's best will face off in Oxford.

The Rebels strong play over the last two weekends have moved them into second place in the Western Division, one game behind Alabama (which is exactly what we deserve for being swept there) and a half game ahead of LSU. So, naturally, this is a pretty big series. Couple that with the whole rivalry angle, and this should be one that a lot of Rebel fans tune in to.

Lately, the Tigers seem to be getting hot as they have won five of their last six SEC games. LSU has lost to a really good ULL team, was swept by Florida and lost two against Vandy. The Tigers have swept Mississippi State and won two against Arkansas and Georgia. LSU was also suckered into a very un-American tie against the Classic City Canines.

More Ole Miss vs. LSU Baseball: Q&A With ATVS How to Watch the Series

The Rebels continue to silence critics at the plate. The team, after an incredibly powerful performance against State, raised their batting average this past weekend by 10 points to a .309 mark across the board. The team also scoots around the basepath well, stealing bases at just under an 82% success rate. By contrast, LSU has attempted just the stolen bases the Rebs have, and have only been successful at doing so 66% of the time. Ole Miss also is hitting 40 points higher than the Tigers. LSU does have a much better SO/BB ratio than the Rebels though, and by a pretty significant margin (1.07 to 2.02). And even though LSU's numbers are lower they have shown the ability to drive in runs as evidenced by looking at the 203 RBI's compared to 202 for Ole Miss.

LSU Individual Hitting Statistics

Name

Avg

HR

RBI

SLG%

OBP%

SB/ATT

SO/BB

Andrew Stevenson

352

0

18

438

413

5/9/

17/7

Kade Scivicque

351

4

24

491

436

0/0

11/9/

Alex Bregman

280

2

24

371

382

8/12/

12/19/

Sean McMullen

276

4

24

520

370

4/5/

19/20

Conner Hale

270

0

12

295

302

0/0

6/6/

Team

Average

HR

RBI

OBP%

SLG%

SB/ATT

SO/BB

269

18

203

381

362

27/41

151/141

Ole Miss Individual Hitting Statistics

Name

Avg

HR

RBI

SLG%

OBP%

SB/ATT

SO/BB

Austin Anderson

356

4

26

517

440

9/11/

11/17/

Will Allen

353

5

40

547

398

0/0

27/11

Brantley Bell

348

0

8

435

416

1/1/

11/5/

Austin Bousfield

337

3

24

479

391

12/12/

13/10

Sikes Orvis

313

8

28

557

400

1/1/

28/15

Braxton Lee

304

0

19

331

388

19/22

16/18

Team

Avg

HR

RBI

SLG%

OBP%

SB/ATT

SO/BB

309

25

202

423

375

66/81

226/112

LSU's biggest strength comes on the bump, with Friday starter Aaron Nola, a right-handed junior, working as arguably one of the top pitchers in the country this season. The sure fire first round draft pick is currently 7-1 with a 0.70 ERA, which is first in the SEC and fifth in the NCAA. He has pitched one complete game and tallied six starts in which he left the game without allowing a run. Through 64 innings of work, the All-American has allowed only 31 hits, which is good for a .143 opposing batting average. Nola also has 84 strikeouts, which is first in the SEC and second in the NCAA, along with just 13 walks. Nola has allowed just nine extra base hits in 217 at bats. At this point, it should hardly surprise that, last season, Nola was the SEC Pitcher of the Year and a finalist for National Pitcher of the Year. He throws a low 90s fastball with a pretty good change up, and has tremendous control over his pitches.

Aaron Nola will face off against righty Chris Ellis who ain't half bad himself. Ellis is currently 5-0 with a 1.81 ERA for the Rebels. Chris has 35 strikeouts in 54.2 innings pitched, and opponents are hitting .246 against him this season. Don't be surprised if Friday night is a pitcher's duel.

Saturday starter Jared Poche, a left-handed freshman, is 6-2 on the year with a 2.54 ERA. In 49.2 innings of work, Poche, has allowed 37 hits with 34 strikeouts and 15 walks. He has allowed eight extra base hits in 173 at bats.  Opponents are hitting .214 off him this season. According to his LSU bio, Jared sits in the low 90s on his fastball and throws a hard 12-6 curveball. He was a two-time All American in high school, and is one of the SEC's best freshman arms.

Jared Poche will face off against lefty Christian Trent, the guy who would have been this team's Saturday or Sunday starter had he not transferred out of LSU. So far, Trent is 4-0 with a 2.44 ERA. Through 59.0 innings, Trent has struck out 49 batters while only allowing eight walks. Opponents are hitting .216 this season off Christian.

As with the Bulldogs last week, the Bayou Bengals have also announced the Sunday Saturday starter to be "TBA."  The Tigers will more than likely try to get through Saturday by committee. Some of the pitchers you can expect to see based off previous Sundays will be Parker Bugg, Zac Pearson, Henry Faucheux, and Kurt McCune. Here's what you need to know about these potential Saturday slingers (who lack a certain sizzle):

  • Parker Bugg has a 1-1 record with a 1.17 ERA on the season. He has 21 strikeouts to go along with only three walks in 23.0 innings of work. Opponents are hitting .202 off Parker this season.
  • Zac Pearson is currently 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA. Zac has 20 strikeouts with 10 walks in 19.0 innings of work.  Opponents are hitting .225 off Zac this season.
  • Henry Faucheux is 3-0 on the season with a 2.41 ERA. Through 21.0 innings of work, Henry has 13 strikeouts with 11 walks, and opponents are hitting .133 off him this season.
  • Kurt McCune is a bit of a longer shot, but still worth mentioning. He is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA. Opponents are hitting .200 off Kurt this season, and he has 18 strikeouts to go along with only four walks in 21.0 innings of work.

The committee of pitchers will be facing off against Sam Smith.  Sam has earned seven straight quality starts for the Rebels on Sunday, and garnered significant praise from Kendall Rogers after he watched the Rebs take two from State this past weekend in Starkville. Sam is currently 5-2 on the season with a 2.30 ERA. In 54.2 innings of work, Sam has 30 strikeouts to go along with 11 walks. Opponents are hitting .250 against him.

Another pitcher to keep your eye on is the closer for the Tigers, Joe Broussard.  Joe is currently 1-0 on the year with a paltry 0.49 ERA. Joe has eight saves on the year, and opponents are only hitting .119 off him this season. He's got the stuff that we can't afford to let him use.

Team Stats:

  • ERA: LSU 2.40 (4th in SEC)
  • Ole Miss 2.19 (2nd in SEC, 6th NCAA)
  • Opposing Batting Average: LSU .207 (4th SEC)
  • Ole Miss .227 (7th SEC)
  • Strikeouts: LSU 285 (6th SEC)
  • Ole Miss 289 (5th SEC)
  • Runs Allowed: LSU 97 (2nd SEC)
  • Ole Miss 106 (4th SEC)
  • Hits Allowed: LSU 242 (4th SEC)
  • Ole Miss 285 (7th SEC)

Thanks in large part to Nola, LSU is tied for first in the NCAA with 11 shutouts this season, fourth in WHIP, and fifth in hits allowed per nine innings. It will be tough to overcome, but if there's a team that can do it, it's Ole Miss at Swayze. Maybe.

Predictions?

Ghost: Rebs take two, Yellow Cup embarrasses all of us

FIt4LifeLLC: Rebs take two, Red Cup also takes two

BlakeKirbyReb: Rebs take two, Red Cup sweeps

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