The pitching matchups are set.
Mike Bianco's not taking any chances on Friday, matching Utah's Jayson Rose with Brady Bramlett. I'm not as concerned about Rose as some folks seem to be—yea, he's a front line Pac-12 starter, but the guy's 3-5 with a 3.54 ERA. I'm more concerned about Bramlett, who's lasted fewer than five innings in three of his last four starts (granted, he was on short rest and a pitch count in Hoover). He's never been a long innings guy, and an early exit on Friday would tax the bullpen for the rest of the weekend.
Tulane and BC are also throwing their aces against each other on Friday.
Bianco hasn't gone beyond naming Bramlett as the Game 1 starter, but you have to figure David Parkinson will take the mound on Saturday—either to avoid elimination in the losers bracket or to advance to the regional finals with a 2-0 start. If the Rebs play Tulane, Parkinson will probably match up with Ross Massey, a lefty freshman who's gone 9-3 with a 2.40 ERA, mostly as the Saturday starter. If it's BC, Golden Eagles coach Mike Gambino has already confirmed he'll throw junior righty Mike King, who went 4-4 with a 3.80 in ACC play.
As for the Rebs' third and fourth starters, that'll probably come down to matchup preferences between James McArthur and Chad Smith. Both guys have alternated between shitty and fantastic all season. Tulane in particular has a deep staff, so the Rebs will need both McArthur and Smith to step up if the Green Wave makes this an extended series.
Henri Lartigue's good to go.
Bianco said Thursday that his All-SEC catcher cleared concussion protocol and is a "full go" this weekend. That's pretty damn good news considering Lartigue leads the team with a .362 batting average and hit .371 in SEC play.
"He took a great batting practice today," Bianco told 247Sports on Thursday. "Yesterday, we tried to go with a night practice at the same time that we play, but the rain got us. I saw him in the cage and he says that he is fine. He looks fine. But he took one of the best batting practices today, so he looked great."
Lartigue's bat in the four-hole has been the key to Ole Miss' late-season offensive renaissance. If he, J.B. Woodman, Tate Blackman and Colby Bortles can bash like they did in Hoover (where the Rebs averaged nine runs and 12 hits over four games), they should be able to outproduce the rest of the Oxford regional field, which doesn't have any prolific offenses.
Errol Robinson compared a regional at Swayze to a Prince concert.
"If you can think about the best concert you've ever been to, (playing a regional at Swayze Field is) something like that, going to a Prince concert or a Michael Jackson concert," Robinson, who was a freshman the last time Ole Miss hosted, told The Clarion-Ledger.
Um, not sure where you're getting that comparison, but what the hell, we'll go with it.
Sophomore Tate Blackman, who wasn't around in 2014, got so intrigued that he jumped on YouTube and started looking up clips of the 2014 Oxford regional.
"I keep asking Colby (Bortles), Errol and J.B. (Woodman) if Friday is going to be crazy, and they say just say wait and see how live it's going to be," Blackman told RebelGrove.com. "I was curious myself yesterday so I went on the Internet to when they hosted regionals, and it's pretty crazy."
By the way, both Errol and Tate used the term "live" while describing Swayze, so you're gonna want to add that to your cool bro lexicon.
Power rankings for visiting team meal decisions
1. Boston College
Boston Co. pitcher Justin Dunn says Taylor Gro. has second-best catfish he's ever had. Momma is No. 3, Grandmother is No. 1. #OxfordRegional— Parrish Alford (@parrishalford) June 2, 2016
Tulane ate at Old Venice. BC should get a few runs strictly on decision making. https://t.co/m9OC5DRyaL— Chase Parham (@RivalsChase) June 2, 2016
You'd think a team from New Orleans would have better taste in food. At least the alumni knew what was up.
These dudes haven't sent a single meal-related tweet. WHAT ARE YOU HIDING, UTES?