Here's the bad news: Ole Miss has lost three of its last four games and is teetering on the brink of of the top 25. Here's the good news: the Rebels return to Swayze this weekend to play a very beatable Stetson team in what should be awesome weather. Snow and ice pushed Friday's opener back a day (that's now six times in the first month of the season that weather has forced a game to move) but it's supposed to be in the mid-50s by the time Saturday's double header gets under way at noon CT.
You'll be able to catch all three games on WatchESPN.com via SEC Network+ (we can't talk enough about how awesome a job ESPN is doing of stepping their college baseball coverage up, by the way). Saturday's second game should jump off 30 minutes after the first one ends. Sunday's first pitch is at 1:30 p.m. CT.
Let's dive into the big questions for the weekend.
1. When do we start getting worried?
Dropping two of three on the road to a ranked UCF team last weekend wasn't that bad, especially when you consider both losses were by just a run. And the Rebs always lose to Southern Miss, so Tuesday's 5-1 dud wasn't exactly a shocker.
But if Mike Bianco's squad were to lose a series to Stetson -- a 7-6 Atlantic Sun team who the Rebs outscored by a combined score of 26-3 en route to a weekend sweep last season -- it would officially be time to start getting concerned. Let's hope that doesn't happen.
2. Where the hell did the bats go?
Pitching was the topic of conversation coming into the season, but the early slump certainly hasn't been the fault of the arms. Ole Miss batters hit just .183 and scored an average of 2.33 runs during the three recent losses. The biggest culprit has been the inability to bring home men in scoring position -- the Rebs stranded 18 runners on second or third last weekend.
3. Can Christian Trent stay perfect?
Last year, all the talk was about Chris Ellis. This season, even after Trent took over as the Friday night ace, the conversation has been more about Brady Bramlett's surprise start and Sam Smith's struggles. Quietly and methodically, Trent has posted an 11-0 record in his first 20 starts as a Rebel, the hottest start to a career in program history. He should be sitting at 12-0 after leaving with a lead in the eighth inning last weekend against UCF, but a bullpen letdown and the aforementioned suckiness of the bats rendered him a no-decision.