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

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The Rebs desperately need a series win in Starkville after last weekend's sweep.

Josh McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics

If this version of the baseball Egg Bowl is anything like the last, we're in for one hell of a fun weekend. Ole Miss swept State in last year's series in Oxford, the coup de grace coming with an improbable bottom-of-the-ninth rally in the third game. Before we jump into this weekend's series—a critical three games for a Rebel team trying to stay afloat in the standings in the aftermath of the South Carolina sweep—let's take a look back at the 2015 fun.

Bottom of the ninth. Down by five. Two outs. Two strikes. Kyle Watson, a .224 hitter at the plate. According to some numbers we ran at the time, Ole Miss had a 0.35 percent chance of winning. But two walks, a hit-by-pitch and two singles later, the Rebs sent it into extras, where freshman Nic Perkins won it in the bottom of the tenth.

Ah yes, that's the stuff.

Repeating that sweep in Starkville seems a bit far-fetched this time around. State's rotation is studded with two of the better one-two punches in the SEC, which spells trouble for a Rebel club that's hitting a mediocre .278 as a team. State's hitters, meanwhile, are bashing at a .317 clip and lead the conference in on-base percentage. Ole Miss' starting pitching has looked vulnerable at times throughout the season and that came to a head last weekend when none of the three starters saw the sixth inning.

3 big questions

1. Can Ole Miss handle Dakota Hudson?

In 13 innings against SEC Friday night pitching, the Rebs have scored just two earned runs and struck out 16 times, losing games against Tennessee's Zach Warren and South Carolina's Clarke Schmidt. That doesn't bode particularly well for this Friday's matchup against Dakota Hudson, a potential top 10 pick in the MLB Draft (Baseball America had him No. 9 in its latest mock draft) who carries an SEC-leading 1.13 ERA through six starts this season. He can fireball you with a high-90s fastball, but it's his noxious slider (which runs as high as 92) that's been the key to his 45 strikeouts.

And things don't get a whole lot easier on Saturday against Austin Sexton.

2. Can the Rebs stay afloat in the SEC West?

It seems weird to say that a 20-5 team is facing a critical series this early in conference play, but it's true. Last weekend's shit show against South Carolina dropped Ole Miss to 2-4 in the SEC. State, meanwhile, came into the weekend tied for first at 4-2 (Bama beat Georgia on Thursday night, so they're technically in front at 5-2) with series wins over Georgia and top-five Vandy.

If the Rebs were to lose two of three this weekend, they'd effectively be four games back (factoring in the tie breaker State would hold) with No. 18 Arkansas, No. 15 LSU and No. 1 A&M still on the schedule. That's a pretty steep uphill climb for a team struggling with its offense and starting pitching.

3. Will Adidas crank out some more coded unis?

In case you forgot, Adidas actually made practice jerseys that actually had "F--K THE SCHOOL UP NORTH" poorly hidden on them.

State actually wore them while warming up for an actual game last season (though it wasn't even an Ole Miss game, because of course), then actually had to apologize when their Da Vinci Code was cracked by Twitter people.

This.

Actually.

Happened.

The numbers

Complete Ole Miss statsComplete State stats

Team pitching
Ole Miss State
ERA 2.73 3.56
Strikeouts 217 260
Walks 74 102
Opponent average .236 .245
Team batting
Ole Miss State
Runs per game 6.6 7.4
Batting average .278 .317
On-base % .376 .420
Slugging % .414 .459
Dingers 20 17
Steals-Attempts 21-31 27-33

How to watch

Friday

First pitch: 6:30 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network PLUS
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: RHP Brady Bramlett (4-1, 2.90 ERA)
State: RHP Dakota Hudson (3-1, 1.13 ERA)

Saturday

First pitch: 2 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network PLUS
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: RHP Chad Smith (2-2, 4.80 ERA)
State: RHP Austin Sexton (2-1, 3.72 ERA)

Sunday

First pitch: 1:30 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network PLUS
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: RHP Sean Johnson (3-0, 1.96 ERA)
State: TBA (doesn't matter he's gonna pitch a no-hitter tbh)