Welp, right after we published this...
Tuesday's Ole Miss Baseball Game POSTPONED to Tomorrow (Wednesday) at 5 p.m. https://t.co/q3IMKzAYdA pic.twitter.com/elbypwXiz2— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) February 23, 2016
Tuesday's game had already been moved up an hour in hopes of sneaking it in, but with heavy rain in the forecast, it's been pushed back a day. On one hand, that could limit Mike Bianco's pitching options for this weekend's tilt with No. 2 Louisville. On the other, it gives the Rebs (3-0) in the lineup some more looks at live pitching.
Arkansas State (2-1) is coming off a series win over the UAB Blazers, the first time in school history that ASU has won a three-game series to open the season. A-State is led offensively by senior outfielder Ty White, who hit hit .300 with a .372 on-base percentage and 12 stolen bases last season. Sophomore infielder Jeremy Brown leads the team after one weekend with a .375 average, including a homer and two RBI.
3 big questions for Wednesday
1. Can the Rebs make it seven in a row against Arky State?
After sweeping the home-and-home series last year (the second of which was a 17-3 blowout), the Rebs have now won six straight against the Red Wolves. As long as Ole Miss maintains its aggressive approach at the plate and feasts on fastballs early in the count, the Rebel hitters are talented enough to handle ASU's pitching staff.
2. Will Tate Blackman continue his hot hitting?
Blackman failed to live up to lofty expectations as a freshman, but got his sophomore year off to a hot start on Opening Weekend. His first at-bat of the season saw him take flight for the first beer shower of the season and the hitting didn't stop until Sunday night when the series was over. If Ole Miss is to make some noise this season, they need Blackman to be a focal point in the offense. As for the matchup against Arkansas State, I look for Tate to stay consistent at the dish, utilizing the entire field with his newly adjusted short swing.
3. How will true freshman James McArthur look on the bump?
Assuming the postponement doesn't shake up McArthur's scheduled start, it'll be our second look at the 6'7 Texan. He pitched one inning of relief last Saturday against FIU, allowing one run on one walk and one hit. Now that he's getting the ball to start the game, look for McCarthur's leash to be a little longer. Mike Bianco signed a lot of arms this season and if I had to guess, he's wanting McArthur to be his guy in the midweek. Bianco likely wants to save as many pitchers as he can for Louisville, so he'll need four or five good frames from McArthur. Look for him to be aggressive early in the count with his fastball.
How to watch
First pitch: Wednesday at 5 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network+
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Ole Miss - RHP James McArthur (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.0 IP)
Arkansas State - RHP Cody Jackson (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2.2 IP)