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

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The Rebs open up with the favorites to win the Big South.

Josh McCoy-Ole Miss Athletics

Guess who’s back?

Back again.

Diamondsharks back.

Tell a friend.

Ole Miss baseball is finally here and just in time because basketball is beginning to nose dive and football recruiting is briefly taking a break. Mike Bianco’s club has some high expectations a year removed from a lackluster 32-25 year. The arms are all back and loaded with talent. Golden Spikes nominee Ryan Rolison is a top five prospect and James McArthur and Brady Feigl are as good as anyone else in conference when they are on.

At the plate, the Rebs struggled big-time a season ago, but the No. 1 freshman class is a year older and hopefully learned some lessons and have tweaked the needed adjustments to get better at-bats. Top hitters Nick Fortes and Will Golsan are back and will hold it down in the middle of the order while the leadoff spot is a potential toss-up with returner Ryan Olenek and newcomers like Anthony Servideo and Jacob Adams pushing for the nod up top.

On the back end, it’s rinse and repeat. The Rebels are loaded. All-SEC performers Dallas Woolfolk and Will Stokes will be the two-headed monster folks will have to get around in the latter innings and I would expect Will Ethridge to be a problem for just about everyone, it’s just a matter of finding him a spot, whether that’s middle relief, long relief, or spot situations.

The Rebs are thought by some to have what it take to make it to you know where but their early slate is no cupcake tasting. And that is reflected in the preseason polls, coming into this weekend ranked No. 9 by D1Baseball. This weekend poises an early challenge all-around. Winthrop is a well-balanced team that should win their conference. If the Rebs are going to get back to hosting and into the national seed discussion, winning this weekend’s series is a good start.

What are the Rebels dealing with this weekend?

The Winthrop Eagles bring back a lot of experience from last year’s 2017 Big South regular season championship team and Tom Riginos should feel pretty good about his chances in Oxford with his returning bats and pitchers. His returning production offensively hit .280 a year ago and on the bump he’s returning three starters and two relievers who combined for 29 wins and 15 saves last season.

Shortstop Mitch Spires (.345 average in 2017) is Riginos’ best all-around player and will be a problem for Bianco’s arms all weekend. Other bats to pay attention to are third base Jake Sullivan (.279), second base Grant English (.278), and first base Tyler Halstead (.271).

On the mound, Zach Peek (5-1, 3.70) is a solid three-pitch guy who runs it up there in the mid-90’s. First-team Big South righty Nate Pawelczyk (7-3, 2.23) is another steady three-pitch hurler who stays in the 90’s with ease and has a devastating slider. The third start will more than likely be Daniel Willcutt (2-0, 4.65). In the pen, Winthrop returns Dalton Wittaker (4-3, 9 saves) and Riley Arnone (3-2, 3.38). Wittaker has some offspeed stuff that keeps hitters off-balance and Arnone will more than likely be the bridge to get the Eagles to him.

Overall, this is a winnable series for the Rebels if they can get to Winthrop’s starters early and utilize their bullpen to silence their bats. Rolison, Feigl, and McArthur are as good a three-man rotation as anyone and they should be able to handle the Eagles’ lineup. The big question for the Rebels all year will be “can they hit well enough”. But if the arms are as good advertised, they may not have to hit that much.

Time will tell.

The numbers

Complete Ole Miss stats | Complete Winthrop stats

How to watch

Friday

First pitch: 4 p.m. CT
TV: NONE
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Game-time weather: 61°, AM light rain, 80% chance of rain
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: LHP Ryan Rolison (6-3, 3.06 ERA in 2017)
Winthrop: RHP Zach Peek (5-1, 3.70 ERA in 2017)

Saturday

First pitch: 1:30 p.m. CT
TV: NONE
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Game-time weather: 46°, rain, 100% chance of rain
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: RHP Brady Feigl (4-0, 3.76 ERA in 2017)
Winthrop: RHP Colton Rendon (7-5, 4.19 ERA in 2017)

Sunday

First pitch: 12:30 p.m. CT
TV: NONE
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Game-time weather: 56°, PM showers, 60% chance of rain
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: RHP James McArthur (6-1, 4.26 ERA in 2017)
Winthrop: RHP Nate Pawelczyk (7-2, 2.23 ERA in 2017)