A week ago Ole Miss was worrying about its chances of being a regional host. After sweeping Kentucky and watching Florida State, North Carolina State and South Carolina lose series, they're suddenly in the hunt for a top-eight national seed.
This weekend's showdown against No. 2 Texas A&M will go a long way in determining that fate (I'm of the opinion that they'll need to win two of three), but don't forget about the Tuesday night trip to Arkansas State. Losing to a 24-26 team ranked 145th in the RPI wouldn't be a good look this close to the committee's decision, so the Rebs need to take care of business in Jonesboro.
Last time they made trip north to the Natural State, there was no shortage of runs. In 2014, the good guys whipped up on ASU to a tune of 17-3. The Rebs are 11-2 this season in midweek games and are averaging 6.5 runs in those 13 games. And when Ole Miss scores at least four, they are 38-1 this year.
If Ole Miss is going to avoid the RPI sink hole that is ASU (No. 145), they will need Sean Johnson to throw like he did earlier in the year (W, 5.1 IP, 3K, 5 H against No. 2 Louisville). Despite the unblemished record, Johnson has yet to really look comfortable on the bump and hardly makes it past the third inning lately.
The Rebs have been spearheaded offensively by Henri Lartigue (.390 in SEC play), Errol Robinson (.361 in last 25 games), Tate Blackman (leads team with 63 hits) and the C Spire Ferriss Trophy Finalist J.B. Woodman (.444 with RISP, 12 HR).
As of now, the road series loss to Bama, the sweep at home against the aforementioned Gamecocks and missed opportunity to sweep on the road earlier this year against Tennessee could be hiccups that the committee sees as too damning. With an RPI that'll only improve, winning two on the road against a consistent top 5 team like Texas A&M could put them in prime position for a national seed. But, a lot can happen between between now and the selection show.
How to watch
First pitch: Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. CT at Tomlinson Stadium-Kell Field in Jonesboro, Ark.
Online streaming: Red Wolves Digital Network (subscription required)
Online radio: TuneIn - Ole Miss IMG Sports Network
Ole Miss: RHP Sean Johnson (3-0, 4.26 ERA)
ASU: RHP Zach Haake (0-0, 6.75 ERA)