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Right Field Review: Ole Miss baseball takes 2 of 3 from Georgia on the road

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Sunday's blowout loss put a damper on things, but the Rebs did what they needed to do to stay in control of their hosting destiny.

Josh McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics

Everything was gravy for Ole Miss through the first two games of its trip to Athens. But even with Sunday's ugly 13-2 loss (which included three Georgia homers and the realization that 12 weeks into the season this team still doesn't know who it's third starter is), this was a good weekend for the Rebs and their hosting chances.

The most likely postseason scenario includes five SEC regional hosts. After Vandy dropped two of three to Texas A&M, the leader for that fifth spot is inarguably Ole Miss. (The other hosts are all likely national seeds: Florida, A&M, Mississippi State and South Carolina.) So how do the Rebs lock themselves in over the final two weeks of the regular season? I'd say the recipe for feeling safe heading into Hoover is to take two of three at home against Kentucky next week and win at least one on the road against No. 2 ranked A&M. That would give Ole Miss 17 conference wins to go along with its top-10 RPI.

But taking a series from Kentucky might not be as easy as it once looked. The Cats, who'd lost three weekend series in a row (including series Ls to awful Arkansas and Auburn clubs), walked off in the 12th inning on Sunday to win a series over No. 6 South Carolina.

Back to the Rebs' weekend against Georgia...

The scores

Friday: Ole Miss 6, Georgia 4 (box score)
Saturday: Ole Miss 7, Georgia 3 (box score)
Sunday: Georgia 13, Ole Miss 2 (box score)

The rankings

Ole Miss climbs to No. 8 in the composite top 25. See the full rankings here.

3 big takeaways

1. J.B. Woodman is still blasting away.

Woodman went hitless on Friday and Sunday (though he did notch an RBI in Game 1), but produced plenty on Saturday, when he left the yard twice. Going back to the LSU series, he's bashed five homers in his last six conference games and is now second in the SEC with 10 dingers.

2. The Rebs need to find a third starter in a hurry.

It was easy to excuse James McArthur's less than stellar outing last week against LSU—the freshman was making his first ever SEC start and had to deal with a rain delay—but his outing in Athens is more concerning. McArthur showed good stuff early but sloppy control forced him to the dugout in the fourth inning with five earned runs to his name. He's lasted just 3.1 innings in each of his first two conference starts and has walked seven batters over that span.

McArthur is young and it may just be that he needs more than two starts to feel comfortable against SEC competition. But if you're Mike Bianco and you're trying to figure out your rotation heading into postseason play, you can only afford to be so patient. I expect McArthur will get another shot this Sunday against Kentucky, but another rocky outing might force a change the following week in College Station.

And if that happens, who do you go with? Chad Smith wasn't any better than McArthur before he got demoted to midweek and Sean Johnson (who walked two and gave up a three-run bomb in a four-batter relief outing on Sunday) doesn't seem to be a viable option anymore. Maybe Andy Pagnozzi, who's been impressive in long relief over the last few weeks?

3. The Rebs love their mommas.

The Ole Miss baseball twitter account showed some love to the moms on Sunday.

Around the SEC

Weekend results
  • No. 1 Florida took two of three from Tennessee
  • No. 2 A&M took two of three from No. 7 Vandy
  • No. 3 State swept Mizzou
  • Kentucky took two of three from No. 6 South Carolina
  • No. 18 LSU swept Arkansas
  • Bama took two of three from Auburn
Standings
EAST
Team SEC Games back Overall
Florida 16-7 - 40-8
South Carolina 16-7 - 36-11
Vanderbilt 14-10 2.5 36-12
Kentucky 13-11 3.5 29-19
Georgia 8-16 8.5 23-25
Tennessee 7-17 9.5 25-23
Missouri 7-17 9.5 24-25
WEST
Team SEC Games Back Overall
Texas A&M 16-8 - 37-10
Mississippi State 15-9 1 33-14-1
Ole Miss 14-10 2 36-13
LSU 14-10 2 31-16
Alabama 12-12 4 27-21
Auburn 8-16 8 21-26
Arkansas 7-17 9 26-22

On deck

(No midweek game)
Thursday-Saturday: vs. Kentucky in Oxford

Full schedule