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Ole Miss baseball vs. UNC-Wilmington: Online streaming, game times and preview

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Mike Bianco’s bunch welcomes another ranked team to Swayze.

Duke v North Carolina Wilmington Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The No. 17 Rebels (4-0) smashed Arkansas State, 16-4, on Tuesday and now turn their attention to another ranked team. The 3-0 UNC-Wilmington Eagles don’t crack our composite top 25, but check in at No. 24 at D1 Baseball after picking up wins over George Mason, Virginia Military Institute and Appalachian State last weekend.

The bad guys this weekend finished 2016 with an impressive 41-16 record and return some of the more explosive bats in the country. Catcher Nick Feight, second basemen Brian Mims and outfielder Daniel Stack combined for 45 home runs and 194 RBI’s last season. No, that’s not a typo. And keep an eye out for Casey Golden (.500, 2 HR, 1.083% slugging) who seems to be seeing the baseball extremely well early on. The ace of the staff, Alex Royalty (8-2, 4.71 ERA) returns as well as a talented transfer in Logan Beehler.

One thing working in Ole Miss’ favor is that the Seahawaks are aggressive at the plate and if the Rebels can get their swing and miss stuff working, the strikeouts could pile up. But, UNCW’s power is undeniable and they will be a huge test for Mike Bianco’s club. Wilmington was second in the country in dingers per game and slugging percentage last year and should be a measuring stick moving forward before Ole Miss heads to Houston for the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic.

2 big questions

1. How will James McArthur and Brady Feigl respond this weekend?

There were times last weekend when James McArthur and Brady Feigl were spotting up their fastball and hitting the front of the plate with their offspeed. And then there were times when they were missing badly during plus counts and were smacked around a bit. They combined to give up 12 hits, six earned runs and opponents hit just under .300 against them.

This weekend, Big Tex and Torch are welcoming in one of the most explosive offenses in the country (.310 team average, four dingers and 20 RBI’s) and must respond for Ole Miss to have a shot a series win. The two are more than capable of handling this Seahawks offense but they must stay away from missing spots when ahead in the count and play to the defense.

2. Will Tate Blackman and Colby Bortles bounce back?

After four games, the captains have combined for an abysmal .116 average at the plate. Despite the No. 1 freshmen class really embracing last weekend and leading the charge offensively, the Rebels really need Blackman and Bortles to hit well or they more than likely won’t be capable of making a run in June.

Tater has shown some promise, having some good battles at the plate, making adjustments when down in the count and getting some good swings on some good pitches last weekend. On the flip side, Bortles looked to be pressing a bit and swinging around a lot of hittable balls in the zone and out. When Bortles is at his best, he is using the entire field and not trying to do too much. We all know he is capable of hitting a baseball 400-feet but Ole Miss needs him to relax and just hit some bingos to get the mojo back.

The numbers

Complete Ole Miss stats | Complete UNCW stats

How to watch

Friday

First pitch: 4 p.m. CT
TV: NONE
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Game-time weather: 74°, partly cloudy, 20% chance of rain
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: LHP David Parkinson (1-0, 3.86 ERA)
UNCW: RHP Alex Royalty (1-0, 5.40 ERA)

Saturday

First pitch: 12:00 p.m. CT
TV: NONE
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Game-time weather: 51°, sunny, 0% chance of rain
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: RHP James McArthur (0-0, 4.15 ERA)
UNCW: RHP Josh Roberson (0-0, 1.80 ERA)

Sunday

First pitch: 12:00 p.m. CT
TV: NONE
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Game-time weather: 61°, mostly sunny, 0% chance of rain
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: RHP Brady Feigl (0-0, 7.20 ERA)
UNCW: RHP Logan Beehler (0-0, 2.45 ERA)