After taking two-of-three against then-No. 2 Louisville and spoiling Dan McDonell's return to Oxford in the process, the Ole Miss Rebels (6-1) were rewarded with a No. 17 national ranking by D1Baseball. Before heading east to Conway, South Carolina for a non-con tournament and a chance to pad that ranking, the Rebs welcome the 4-2 Memphis Tigers for a Wednesday matchup.
Daron Schoenrock's club is coming off a series loss to Tennessee but it's not for lack of offense. The Bluff City club swings it pretty well as a team (.293 team average) and has already hit four dingers and 12 doubles. They're lead offensively by Darrien Tubbs (.440, 11 hits, 1 homer) and Chris Carrier (.391, 9 hits, 3 doubles) and are very aggressive on the base paths (17-of-18 on stolen bases).
Schoenrock's clubs always play up in this game, with the Tigers taking seven of the last 12 meetings against the Rebs dating back to 2010. Look for them to be aggressive in all facets, especially at the plate against freshman righty James McArthur, who's making his second career start. These are the types of games that Ole Miss has to win not only for resume purposes but to keep the momentum going.
3 questions for Wednesday
1. Can James McArthur bounce back?
The freshman didn't look great in his first career start last week against Arkansas State, lasting just 3.0 innings while giving up three hits, two walks and two earned runs. He did strike out a pair and showed some velocity, but he'll need to be better with his command against a talented Memphis club. Mike Bianco seems to believe in Jimmy Mac, so this is his opportunity to lock down the midweek starting role.
2. Who will emerge at DH?
So far we've seen Mike Bianco use D.J. Miller, Holt Perdzock and Ryan Olenek at the designated hitter slot, but those three are hitting a combined .190 with one extra-base hit. Perdzock has experience, Olenek has flashed some pop and Miller has all the athleticism you want, but none have shown any consistency. Look for Nic Perkins and freshmen Nick Fortes and Michael Fitzsimmons to start getting some looks as hitting coach Mike Clement searches for more pop at the bottom of the order.
3. Will we get to see Dallas Woolfolk throw some more filth?
The former Perfect Game All-American has been damn near untouchable in spot duty so far this season and picked up his first career win as a Rebel against Arkansas State last week. Not only is the true freshman yet to allow an earned run through three innings of work, he's allowed just one baserunner. He's a bit like Josh Laxer in that they're both short, stocky relievers who throw HARD. Indeed, Woolfork could very well be the closer of the future. In the meantime, his continued success in midweek action will allow Bianco to save Will Stokes and Wyatt Short for the weekend.
How to watch and listen
First pitch: Wednesday at 3 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network+
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Ole Miss - RHP James McArthur (0-0, 6.75 ERA, 4.0 IP, 2K, 3 BB)
Memphis - RHP James Muse (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.2 IP, 0K, 0 BB)