After one of the strangest up and down years in recent history under Mike Bianco, the Rebels have found somewhat of a groove it seems coming down the homestretch. We all know about the series wins over former No. 1's Florida and Vanderbilt, but then there are the non-conference losses to UAB and Memphis and series losses to Auburn and Tennessee that seemed like potential backbreakers. Nevertheless, here the Rebels stand on the last weekend of the regular season at 29-24 (14-13 SEC).
According to D1Baseball's Kendall Rogers, the Rebels are projected as a No. 2 seed in the Tallahassee regional. With the home series finale on the horizon against a top 10 team, Ole Miss could take the series and find themselves in the hunt for a lower 20's RPI. As of Wednesday, the Rebels are sitting at No. 26 according to WarrenNolan.com. With Texas A&M sitting at No. 8, the Diamondbearz could see a considerable jump if they can pull off the upset.
Coming into Oxford this weekend for senior weekend at the Sway are the No. 7 Texas A&M Aggies (42-9, 17-9 SEC). After lighting the country on fire starting off this season 24-0, the Aggies have since cooled off and have struggled of late losing three of their last four SEC series. But, the Aggies will be hungry to close the season strong just like Ole Miss and will look to do it with a potent offense and lights out pitching staff.
Rob Childress' club is led by a .317 team batting average, 58 home runs as a team (only 25 last season) and six Aggies that are currently hitting over the .300 mark. Blake Allemand, Nick Banks, Logan Taylor and Mitchell Nau all hit over .350 and set the stage for A&M with their power and ability to work counts and hit for power in the alleys for extra base hits. Despite coming into this weekend only hitting .292, Ryne Birk torched the Rebels in last year's series hitting .462 (6-for-13). Look for the Aggies to try and flex their muscle early and often to chase Christian Trent and Brady Bramlett in order to cut into the Ole Miss bullpen.
On the mound, the Aggies are led by Grayson Long and Ryan Hendrix. Both operate with efficiency and limiting mistakes. They are going to pump the strike zone with their fastball and let the A&M defense work. With such a dangerous offense, they have just been asked to hold serve for most of the year. Long has a very live arm and will run the fastball up there in the low 90's so this weekend could be decided by the Rebels' hot bats that have all of a sudden showed up of late.
How to watch
When: Thursday, 6:30 p.m. CT
Texas A&M: RHP Grayson Long (8-0, 2.84 ERA, 78 K, 33 BB)
Ole Miss: LHP Christian Trent (7-5, 3.68 ERA, 62 K, 19 BB)
[UPDATE: Whataya know, another weather postponement. We're playing a Saturday double header.]
When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network+
Texas A&M: RHP Ryan Hendrix (4-1, 3.48 ERA, 45 K, 15 BB)
Ole Miss: RHP Brady Bramlett (6-3, 3.73 ERA, 71 K, 20 BB)
When: Saturday, after Game 2 is over
TV: SEC Network+
Texas A&M: TBA
Ole Miss: TBA