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Ole Miss baseball vs. Furman: Online streaming, game times and preview

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Having lost four of their last five games, the Rebels need to turn things around at Swayze this weekend.

Joshua McCoy-Ole Miss Athletics

Ole Miss’ 7-0 start to the 2017 season seems like a long time ago. Heading into this weekend’s series against Furman, a Rebels club that’s struggling at the plate has lost five of its last six.

Mike Bianco’s club, now 8-5, went from hitting comfortably over .300 to just .252 following a two-game split with Georgia State. If the Rebs are going to capture that fire and excitement they had the first two weekends, they’re going to have to start hitting the ball.

Furman comes into Oxford on the heels of a midweek loss of their own, but the Paladins aren’t struggling with the bats quite like the Rebels. Brett Harker’s club is hitting .317 and is led by Landon Kay (.400, 2 HR, 14 RBI), Brandon Elmy (.367, 3 HR, 10 RBI) and Sky Overton (.326, HR, 13 R) at the dish. You can bet that Furman is ready and waiting for this series because they know the Rebels are vulnerable.

This is a huge series for Ole Miss before Vanderbilt comes to town next weekend to begin SEC play. Will the Rebs come out with a new attitude or continue to struggle?

2 big questions

1. Will Tate Blackman and Colby Bortles play?

In the midst of a crippling hitting slump, Mike Bianco announced on Tuesday that his top two veteran hitters were suspended indefinitely for “not meeting the standards of the Ole Miss baseball program.” With Blackman and Bortles riding the bench, the Rebels mustered just one run in 20 innings against Georgia State during a pair of midweek games.

Bianco wasn’t in the mood to discuss the pair’s status after Wednesday’s 2-0 loss.

After starting out slow, both had gotten back on track before their suspensions—Blackman is tied for the team lead with a .316 batting average and Bortles leads the club in homers, RBI and slugging percentage. With the rest of the lineup struggling, Ole Miss needs its captains back in the lineup.

UPDATE:

2. Who pitches on Sunday?

Saturday starter James McArthur has been scratched this weekend due to a mild forearm strain, forcing regular Sunday starter Brady Feigl to move up a day. For now, the starter for Sunday is TBA.

Candidates for a starter this Sunday include freshman Greer Holston, who lasted just four innings against Memphis in his first career start last week, and sophomore reliever Andy Pagnozzi, who made two starts last season. Pagnozzi did enter briefly on Wednesday but faced just one batter before leaving the game, so he should be plenty fresh if needed.

Regardless of who gets the start, Sunday could be a “the entire staff gets some work in” game. Freshman Ryan Rolison threw five innings on Tuesday while earning his second win of the year, but he could be available for a few innings. The rest of the bullpen will be at Ole Miss’ disposal as well and you can bet they will be used if needed.

The numbers

Complete Ole Miss stats | Complete Furman stats

How to watch

Friday

First pitch: 6:30 p.m. CT
TV: none
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Game-time weather: 67°, AM clouds/PM sun, 20% chance of rain
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: LHP David Parkinson (2-1, 3.71 ERA)
Furman: RHP Will Gaddis (1-1, 2.84 ERA)

Saturday

First pitch: 1:30 p.m. CT
TV: none
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Game-time weather: 52°, showers, 60% chance of rain
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: RHP Brady Feigl (1-1, 6.00 ERA)
Furman: LHP Grant Schuermann (3-0, 4.50 ERA)

Sunday

First pitch: 1:30 p.m. CT
TV: none
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Game-time weather: 55°, partly cloudy, 10% chance of rain
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: TBA
Furman: RHP Matthew Quarles (1-1, 7.71 ERA)