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

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The conference’s only ranked matchup of the weekend is in Oxford.

College World Series - Virginia v Vanderbilt - Game One Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

The No. 16 Rebels (12-5) dominated Nicholls from start to finish on Tuesday, throwing their sixth consecutive game without allowing a run in regulation, but now they turn their attention to conference play. The Vanderbilt Commodores (12-6) check in at No. 24 at D1 Baseball after picking up a series win over Saint Mary’s and a midweek win over Western Kentucky.

Vandy is a known commodity around the conference and the country. Tim Corbin’s club has won 43 or more games in each of the past four seasons and they’ve been to Omaha twice in the same span, winning it all in 2014. Infielder Julian Infante leads the Dores at the plate with a .373 average and a .481 on-base percentage. Switch-hitting outfielder Ro Coleman is behind him at .304 and All-American Jeren Kendall, despite only hitting .278, is seeing it well and slapping dingers (4). It’s not your typical deep, top-to-bottom roster that you’re used to seeing from Vandy but they’re still talented and can really run (16 stolen bases).

Although the lineup isn’t something to gawk at, the arms that will take the bump in Swayze definitely are. Scott Brown’s crew is top five in the conference in ERA (2.58), opposing batting average (.208), innings pitched (164), and strikeouts (179). Despite All-American Kyle Wright struggling a bit on Friday, his stuff is still electric and he can walk out and dominate any night. Saturday and Sunday don’t get any easier with sophomore Patrick Raby and freshman Drake Fellows who have a combined 1.20 ERA through 18 games.

With both teams struggling at the dish, you might need to buckle in for a pitcher’s duel this weekend at Oxford-University Stadium which is also the only ranked matchup this weekend within the conference. The good news: that seems to be the type of games this Rebel team thrives in and prefers.

2 big questions

1. How will Will Ethridge handle a SEC-level lineup?

The true freshman has been outstanding in his first few outings as a Rebel, but this will be his biggest test to date. The Georgia native will be taking on a lineup with a nice mix of talent and experience and he can not afford to make many mistakes. In his earlier starts, Ethridge has been able to control the pace of the games by getting ahead in the counts and using his power slider as an out pitch.

If his fastball is running up there in the mid-to-upper 90’s, he will be an extremely good test for the Commodores who, despite their experience, have had their struggles in the early going.

2. Has Mike Bianco found his DH?

After starting out the year with JUCO transfer Chase Cockrell filling the role, it appears that a few others are starting to throw their name in the proverbial hat to fill the designated hitter spot. Freshman Bryan Seamster (.400 average) has been coming in as a late game replacement for outfielders, but he has shown the ability to work pitching counts deep and hit to all fields.

And then there’s the known quantity that is sophomore Michael Fitzsimmons (.308 average). He has a much more mature approach in his second year and has really been driving the baseball to all fields. Cockrell (.242 average) is still in the mix as well, but his bat has cooled off since the first few weeks of the season.

The numbers

Complete Ole Miss stats | Complete Vandy stats

How to watch

Friday

First pitch: 7 p.m. CT
TV: NONE
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Game-time weather: 72°, cloudy, 20% chance of rain
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: LHP David Parkinson (3-1, 2.52 ERA)
Vandy: RHP Kyle Wright (0-2, 5.40 ERA)

Saturday

First pitch: 1:30 p.m. CT
TV: NONE
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Game-time weather: 69°, AM showers, 50% chance of rain
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: RHP Brady Feigl (2-1, 3.91 ERA)
Vandy: RHP Patrick Raby (2-2, 1.40 ERA)

Sunday

First pitch: 3:00 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Game-time weather: 68°, sunny, 0% chance of rain
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: RHP Will Ethridge (1-0, 1.15 ERA)
Vandy: RHP Drake Fellows (3-0, 1.00 ERA)