Just when you thought it was time to write off the Diamond Rebels (19-18, 7-8 SEC) and start counting down the days until college football (140 days), Mike Bianco and Co. win a wild one in 16 innings against No. 1 Vandy last Friday, then picked up the series win on the back of freshman Will Stokes' career day on the mound. This team continues to confuse everyone.
Heading into this weekend's series tilt against the Auburn Tigers (23-15, 5-10 SEC) on the Plains, the Rebels' pitching staff will be tested once again. Sunny Golloway's club is led offensively by sophomore outfielder Anfernee Grier (.397) and junior outfielder Sam Gillikin (.319) as they look to get back into the winning column after dropping two of three in Baton Rouge against No. 2 LSU.
The key to Golloway's Tigers being successful is utilizing their team speed (22 bunt singles on the season), playing error-free baseball (15-2 when committing zero errors) and a lights out bullpen (20-2 when leading after six innings). The stellar bullpen was on display last weekend when Auburn's relievers threw seven innings of one-hit, shutout baseball with no walks and four strikeouts. All this while facing a team from the Bayou that hits .319 as a team and all but two every day starters are hitting over .300 for the year.
The "Find a Way" Bullpen is led by Justin Camp (5 saves, 2.03 ERA, 31 K in 26.2 IP) who dealed in the finale against LSU tossing 5.1 innings and only surrendering one hit. The power righty uses his bulky frame to chunk flaming bowling balls towards hitters while mixing in some decent offspeed stuff to keep people off-balance. Look for him to have an epic battle this weekend with Colby Bortles as Auburn hopes to cool him down (three HR in last three games, two of those were grand slams).
With only one SEC series win against Viva Starkvegas under their belts, the Tigers are just as hungry as the Rebels to make a statement moving forward as the conference regular season is drawing to a close. The Tigers will look to continue to feed off their starting pitching and lean on the fella that's tied for the conference lead in wins, Keegan Thompson. The sophomore righty is third in the conference in innings pitched (63.1) and 11th in ERA (2.84) so it will be a treat for fans on Saturday when he faces off against Brady Bramlett.
And in case you forgot about last season, the Rebels swept the Tigers at home and we are now able to witness this beautiful sight whenever we please. Thank you to the Auburn family for their generosity and lack of knowledge on how to throw a pitch out. Not enough prayer circles, I guess.
How to watch
When: Friday, 6:00 p.m. CT
Ole Miss: LHP Christian Trent (5-3, 4.20 ERA, 40 K, 14 BB)
Auburn: RHP Cole Lipscomb (4-1, 2.44 ERA, 49 K, 14 BB)
Due to expected inclement weather on Sunday, Ole Miss and Auburn will play a doubleheader tomorrow beginning at noon #RebsBSB— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) April 17, 2015
When: Saturday, noon CT
Ole Miss: RHP Brady Bramlett (4-2, 2.49 ERA, 58 K, 13 BB)
Auburn: RHP Keegan Thompson (7-2, 2.84 ERA, 55 K, 13 BB)
When: Saturday, 30 minutes after the end of Game 2
Ole Miss: RHP Will Stokes (1-3, 5.40 ERA, 18 K, 8 BB)