Kentucky came into last weekend as the most prolific offense in the SEC, leading the league in nearly every meaningful hitting stat. If that holds true through the end of the season, we may need an asterisk in the record book.
Ole Miss found out first hand just how much a hitters' park Cliff Hagan Stadium is during their trip to Lexington, which ended in a sweep of the ranked Wildcats. Using the short dimensions, low fences and a jet stream barreling over home plate, the Rebs put up not only their best offensive performance of the season, but one of the most prolific in the history of the program. They belted six home runs and scored a total of 39 runs, a school record in a three-game conference series.
That's not to take away from the Rebs' success at the plate, however (after all, nobody else has been hanging that many runs on Kentucky in Lexington). Following a tough series loss to LSU last weekend and a frustrating defeat to Mississippi State in the midweek Governor's Cup, Ole Miss came out confident and succeeded in dragging themselves right back into the postseason hosting discussion.
Last week: 3-1
Overall: 33-12 (13-8 SEC)
Tuesday: Mississippi State 8, Ole Miss 3 (Governor's Cup in Pearl)
Well whataya know, the Rebs lost another midweek rivalry. Ole Miss grabbed a 3-2 lead in the sixth when John Cohen allowed his pitcher to stay in and hit three batters in a row. That got erased quickly when State responded in the bottom of the inning with three runs, and the Rebs never even came close to mounting a rally. Mike Bianco cobbled the game together with seven pitchers, but it was Preston Tarkington that came away pegged with the loss.
Friday: Ole Miss 12, Kentucky 4
Sikes Orvis got things started in the second with a solo home run, and the Rebs bullied national Player of the Year candidate A.J. Reed by hanging six more runs on him in the third. Only two of those runs were earned, a rather misleading stat considering how hard Ole Miss hammered Reed, who was pegged with just his second loss of the season.
Reed did get his revenge at the plate, where he hit his NCAA-leading 17th home run of the year (yes, he came in with a 2.-somthing ERA and the best bat in the country. Dude's unreal). Other than that two-run shot, Chris Ellis was dominant, holding the best offense in the league to five hits over seven innings. Matt Denny gave up two runs over the final two frames, but the lead was well out of reach for the Wildcats by that point.
Saturday: Ole Miss 18, Kentucky 5
It was a regular Dinger Derby on Saturday, with Orvis, J.B. Woodman, Auston Bousfield and Will Allen all leaving the yard. Reed continued his logic-defying season at the plate by sending out two solo shots, making it six homers total in the game. Seriously, how is anybody allowed to play in that ballpark?
Bousfield, who had an absurd weekend with the bat, went 5-for-6 with six RBIs and finished a triple shy of the cycle. Christian Trent allowed two runs off six hits over six innings of work to grab his sixth win of the season.
Sunday: Ole Miss 9, Kentucky 6
After cruising through the first two games, the Rebs finally had to work for one on Sunday. They trailed 4-1 after two innings and played from behind nearly the whole game. Sam "Sunday Sizzle" Smith had his worst outing of the season, lasting just 2⅔ and allowing four runs before being replaced by Aaron Greenwood, who returned to the mound after a two-week injury absence. Greenwood didn't fare particularly well himself, allowing two runs over 2⅓.
Ole Miss fought back to tie it at 4 in the top of the fourth, then traded runs for the next three innings. A sac fly and a Kentucky throwing error handed the Rebs their first lead of the game in the seventh. A Will Allen RBI -- his third of the game after a two-run homer earlier -- added an insurance run in the eighth and Jeremy Massie blanked the Cats over the final four frames to pick up the win.
- Even more impressive than the runs Ole Miss put up were the runs Kentucky didn't. The Wildcats came into the weekend averaging 10.17 runs per game at home and they had been held to under seven runs at home only four times. They didn't score seven runs once against the Rebs.
- Chris Ellis held Kentucky hitters to a .217 batting average on Friday night. They entered that game with a team average of .312.
- Auston Bousfield raised his average by .27 points up to .371 over a three-day span. That's a pretty damn hot weekend at the plate.
|SEC West||Conference record||SEC East||Conference record|
|Ole Miss||13-8||South Carolina||12-9|
Tweet of the week
April 30: vs. Southern Miss
May 2-4: vs. Arkansas