This young Rebel team has been a roller coaster so far this season. After sweeping a top-10 ECU squad, a ranked UNC-Wilmington team and taking two-of-three from Vanderbilt to open SEC play, No. 18 Ole Miss (15-9, 3-3) laid an egg in Lexington over the weekend, losing their first series of the year. After losing two in a row, they will need to shake the losses and get a W on Tuesday before welcoming Mississippi State to town on Thursday.
Ole Miss continues to struggle at the plate (.245 team average) and the poor approach and at-bats are piling up and making the margin for error for the Rebs’ elite pitching staff incredibly slim. Even though the bats have been hit or miss 24 games into the season, the pitching has been downright elite. The Rebel pitching staff leads the SEC in earned run average (2.79), opponent’s batting average (.207), fewest hits allowed (159), strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.74) and WHIP (1.04). They’re also top five nationally in four other categories.
But, if Ole Miss is going to bounce up off the proverbial mat, they are going to need to be aggressive and hunt fastballs at the plate like they were earlier in the year. It’s evident that the Rebel hitters are tentative and guessing at times and are getting themselves in holes and are at the mercy of opposing pitchers. Mike Clement’s squad needs to start looking early in the count for the old number one and react to the off-speed.
The Little Rock Trojans (9-15) are led at the plate by senior Hunter Owens (.294, 28 RBI, 5 HR), senior Cameron Knight (.324, 23 hits) and senior Dalton Thomas (.298, 17 RBI, 4 HR). They hit .273 as a team and also sport a 4.87 team ERA. Starter Greer Holston and Carl Lafferty’s steady bullpen will have a nice test early Tuesday so it is imperative for the bats to show up and score some runs.
How to watch
First pitch: 11 a.m. CT
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Game-time weather: 73°, partly cloudy, 20% chance of rain
Ole Miss: RHP Greer Holston (0-2, 2.95 ERA)
UALR: RHP Ryan LeMoine, Jr. (0-2, 13.94 ERA)