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Grambling State vs. Ole Miss baseball 2016: Preview and online streaming

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The 12-1, nationally-ranked Rebs welcome in Grambling for a three-game set... assuming the rain holds off.

Josh McCoy-Ole Miss Athletics

After picking up a couple of wins in the midweek, Ole Miss is back at Swayze this weekend to, weather permitting, have its way with a subpar Grambling State team.

The good news is that Grambling provides an opportunity to pad some batting averages and extend the Rebs' current seven-game win streak. The 4-6 Tigers have a staff ERA of 8.05 and an opponent batting average of .330. The bad news is that with No. 286 RPI ranking, even a three-game sweep could end up hurting No. 13 Ole Miss' resume.

Which is why no one is gonna be all that upset if some of, if not all, the games get washed out. A storm system is moving into Oxford for the weekend, resulting in a 70 percent chance of rain for Friday's first pitch, a 40 percent chance for Saturday's and a 35 percent chance for Sunday's.

Friday also has the chance to be monumental for head coach Mike Bianco, who could win his 600th game at Ole Miss and his 700th as a college coach. A good way to get him to that milestone is for the Rebels to keep up their clutch hitting: through 13 games Ole Miss is hitting .346 with runners in scoring position and .417 with the bases loaded.

3 big questions for the weekend

1. Can we shore up the defense, fellas?

The squad was a tad bit sloppy in the midweek and the fielding percentage took a blow. As a team, they're fielding at a .974 clip and have already committed 13 errors on the young season. There were a few innings that were extended when pitchers got ground ball outs and the infield failed to make the routine play. The shuffling around in the outfield seems to have taken a toll at times when miscommunication in the gaps has let catch-able balls hit the grass.

2. Will Smitty and Sean John continue to improve?

The opponent isn't great, but more reps are good for these two. Chad Smith and Sean Johnson are both coming off off-season surgeries and need to continue to get better and improve their conditioning for conference play. Smith is 1-1 on the year but has shown great command the past two weekends and his fastball has gotten some life, sitting consistently at 93 mph. Johnson is looking better and better coming off Tommy John surgery, allowing just one hit against Cincinnati last weekend.

3. NOW HIRING: A designated hitter. Apply here if interested.

Whether it's Holt Perdzock, Nick Fortes, D.J. Miller or Ryan Olenek, the DH has had its struggles. Fortes (.154) and Miller (.111) have struggled the most, but that's not that surprising from freshmen. Perdzock still has a knack for the clutch hit (six RBIs) and continues to find a way to get on base (.435 on-base percentage). The only consistent hitter has been the freshman Olenek, who's mashing at a team-leading .389 clip. As long as he's seeing it well, there's no way Bianco doesn't make it Olenek's job, right?

How to watch

First pitch: Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network+
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: RHP Brady Bramlett (3-0, 2.81 ERA, 16.0 IP, 19K, 6 BB)
Grambling: TBA

First pitch: Sunday at 11:30 a.m. CT
TV: SEC Network+
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: RHP Chad Smith (1-1, 4.02 ERA, 15.2 IP, 11K, 7 BB)
Grambling: TBA

First pitch: Sunday at 1:30 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network+
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: RHP Sean Johnson (3-0, 2.20 ERA, 16.1 IP, 11K, 5 BB)
Grambling: TBA