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Ole Miss vs. Vandy: Weekend baseball preview

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Basketball season is over for the Rebels. Any of you die hard, face painted, wig wearing, AK's Army generals can come on over to Swayze now. Don't get me wrong, I love basketball, but it just wasn't our year.

This weekend the Rebels load up the Callahan charter buses and head to Nashvegas for a weekend series with Vandy. Just looking at Vandy's overall record(10-4) they seem to be a solid baseball squad yet again. Last season they won 41 games and choked miserably during the Tempe Regional losing to OU twice in a few days.

Ole Miss was 4-1 against Vanderbilt last year sweeping the 'Dores in Oxford and then knocking them out of the SEC tournament. I would hate to say there's any animosity between the two teams, because while Vandy knows the meaning of the word animosity and can probably give you a dozen synonyms, they've never given me a John Cohen type of feel. "NICHOLLS STATE, GET OFF YOUR DAMN BUS AND PLAY US! FINE! WE WIN!"

Vandy has only lost one game at home to powerhouse University of Illinois-Chicago. As a team, they are batting .334 and holding opponents just above the Brashear line at .248. Aaron Westlake is batting .500 with a .550 OBP after 52 PA. Just walk him.

Ole Miss has only played one game on the road, losing to South Alabama in extra innings. I would wager that if they get all three games in, this will be the greatest test our team has faced all season. Kevin Mort is batting over .400 with Logan Power and Matt Smith batting .364 with a combined 5 HRs and 28 RBI.

PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday:
Drew Pomeranz: Soph. LHP
Mike Minor: Jr. LHP

A battle of Southpaws with Minor sporting a 2.21 ERA with a 1-0 record. Pomeranz has an almost identical 2.58 ERA with a 1-0 record. Bianco made the right move taking Aaron Barrett out of the Friday position. He had three mediocre starts and didn't seem to be improving. Pomeranz has pitched in big games before, but this is the biggest stage: SEC Friday night baseball.

Saturday:
Phillip Irwin: Jr. RHP
Caleb Cotham: Soph. RHP

Cotham has a microscopic 1.29 ERA with a 3-0 record whilst Irwin has compiled a 1.72 ERA with a 2-0 record. I don't think their ERAs will continue to stay this low in SEC play. They've both had great seasons thus far, but it's just not possible to get out of conference play with an ERA like this. Up until now, Irwin gave us our best chance to win, and I'm going to stick with that opinion until he proves otherwise.

Sunday:
Aaron Barrett: Jr. RHP
Nick Christiani: Sr. RHP

This should be one of Barrett's last chances to make the weekend rotation. He's got an ERA over 9, and surprisingly Bukvich has been more serviceable this season. Christiani has a 3.71 ERA with a 2-0 record. He's struck out 21 in 17 innings while only walking three. The Rebels should be ready to swing. Fans have been clamoring for THE BITTLER to start, but I'd rather have a 99 percentile bullpen with Bittle. If he starts, who comes in at the end of the game? It's a question Bianco wouldn't have a comfortable answer for.

Predictions:
Friday: Vanderbilt 5 Ole Miss 2
Saturday: Ole Miss 6 Vanderbilt 4
Sunday: Vanderbilt 8 Ole Miss 7