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On Deck: Tennessee

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If you listened to Red Cup Radio on Wednesday, you heard BWE, Ghost, Ivory and myself talk about the importance of getting sweeps in SEC play...among other things including wine from Natchez.

A weekend series at home against Tennessee is the first SEC weekend where I am expecting a sweep. Bring a broom to every game, wave them proudly, get the players pumped up. 

The Rebels haven't played the Vols since the 2007 SEC Tournament, which was a win for Ole Miss. Tennessee has not had a baseball program that churned out Regional and Super Regional appearances over the past decade like our own. 

By looking at Tennessee's series last weekend against LSU, a blueprint can be found for a way to beat Rocky Top.

LSU swept Tennessee in Knoxville last weekend. The Tigers lead the SEC West. Ole Miss is right behind LSU in the division race after sharing a regular season co-championship last year with the Bayou Bengals.

In each of the LSU wins, they scored six or more runs and scored 10 of its 24 total runs against the bullpen. To further make my point, the Vols bullpen threw eight innings while starters threw roughly 19 innings. 

The Rebels need to work the count at every plate appearance to wear down Vol starting pitching and then slam the relief pitchers. Tennessee has the ability to plate runs. The Vols bat .280 as a team and have scored more than seven runs per game on the season. 

Another important tidbit: THEY HAVEN'T WON A SINGLE GAME IN SEC PLAY. TAKING TWO OF THREE IS UNACCEPTABLE. 

Yes, I know, they played LSU – probably an odds favorite for repeating an Omaha appearance – and South Carolina in Columbia – another Top 25 opponent on the road. Guess what? We're a top 25 team playing at home, there's no excuse for a loss. 

TBA is still pitching on Sunday, and he let us down last week. 


FRIDAY, 6:30 P.M.
UT - Bryan Morgado, Jr., LHP
OM - Drew Pomeranz, Jr., LHP

Our take: Morgado is the ace of the Vol staff, but he has a 4+ ERA. Pomeranz is the ace of our staff and boasts an ERA lower than the typical PKE grade point average – 1.32 – quite an accomplishment, brah. This shouldn't even be close if Ole Miss can get a few runs on Morgado early and let Pomeranz do what he does best. Rebels win, 7-2.

SATURDAY, 4 P.M.
UT - Stephen McCray, Sr., RHP
OM - Aaron Barrett, Sr., RHP

Aaron Barrett has BY FAR by the best surprise of this season. I'm sorry I ever doubted Barrett. He obviously did some serious work in the post-season to start the season off 6-0. When you're undefeated, there's usually a growing concern that you're going to eventually post a loss. McCray offers the best ERA on the Vols squad with a sub 2.00 ERA. He's also given up three home runs in his six starts. He seems to be a hit or miss kind of pitcher, and in an away environment, I think McCray will be more miss than hit. Rebels win, 6-3.

SUNDAY, 1:30 P.M. (SPORTSOUTH)
UT - Steven Gruver, Soph., LHP
OM - TBA

Gruver is from Ohio(strike one). He has an ERA nearing 5(strike two). He's going to face TBA(strike three?). The Sunday starter-by-committee plan may be the best way to go if Barrett and Pomeranz can give six innings or more in the two previous games. I'd start with Goforth for the first three to four innings, then use Rothlin, Crouse, Callendar and Tracy to close out the last five or six innings. Rebels win 8-6.

Thoughts? Comments? Predictions?