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Ole Miss baseball returns home to open SEC play against Tennessee

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Conference play is here and the Rebs are chasing history.

Josh McCoy-Ole Miss Athletics

The No. 8 ranked Ole Miss Rebels (17-1) have been a team on a daggum mission since losing in Long Beach. They have won handily in every game since then, except for a tight win over Georgia State that, despite a late rally by the Panthers, the Rebs closed things out like really good teams should. Now, they return home to begin conference play against the Tennessee Volunteers (12-6) who have had some questionable losses this season. And by questionable I mean awful.

They lost their opening series to a Maryland team that is not great (9-7, recently loss to Delaware), two games against lower in-state programs ETSU and Middle Tennessee, and recently got beat by James Madison 21-2(!!!!). Despite a few impressive hitters and a decent rotation, this is another home series that Ole Miss is better in all three phases and should win with ease.

When Tennessee hired Dave Serrano, most people (myself included) thought they would eventually get better and better and make some noise in the East. But, it didn’t work. Now that Serrano is gone and Tony Vitello is in, the Vols seem to still be making an attempt to give a shit about baseball in Knoxville. Garrett Stallings, Zach Linginfelter, and Willy Neely are fine on the bump, but none of them are going to blow you away with stuff. And their team ERA that has ballooned to 4.18 is gross.

At the dish, they’re lead by Benito Santiago. The MLB legend’s son seems like he’s been in Knoxville for seven years, but he is still swinging a hot bat (.394, .667 slugging, .453 on-base) for the Vols and will be the one hitter that Mike Bianco and his staff will need to worry about. Andre Lipcius (.333, 3 HR, 19 RBI) and Wyatt Stapp (.322, 7 RBI, .467 on-base) are the only other every day players who hit over the .300 mark.

Off the cuff, this series looks like an easy win for the Rebs and quite possibly could be a sweep. If that were to happen, the Rebs would eclipse their best start in school history (19-1 start in 2013) and if they win on Friday, they will tie the start by the 2004 squad. Those two starts didn’t equal great success mind you. The 2004 team hosted a regional but when two and que, finishing their season at 39-21. And the 2013 club went to Raleigh, N.C. for a regional and lost an elimination game to William & Mary, closing up shop at 38-24.

In all seriousness, despite history, this team is far superior to both of those clubs from top to bottom. But, Bianco clubs have enjoyed hot starts plenty of times, they will just need to maintain consistency, stay healthy, and win the conference series you’re supposed to.

Starting with this weekend.

The numbers

Complete Ole Miss stats | Complete Tennessee stats

How to watch

Friday

First pitch: 7 p.m. CT
TV: NONE
Online streaming: SECN+
Game-time weather: 60°, rain/thunder, 100% chance of rain
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: LHP Ryan Rolison (3-1, 2.28 ERA)
UT: LHP Garrett Crochet (1-2, 3.57 ERA)

Saturday

First pitch: 1:30 p.m. CT
TV: NONE
Online streaming: SECN+
Game-time weather: 75°, AM fog/PM clouds, 20% chance of rain
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: RHP Brady Feigl (4-0, 1.03 ERA)
UT: RHP Garrett Stallings (3-0, 2.45 ERA)

Sunday

First pitch: 1:30 p.m. CT
TV: NONE
Online streaming: SECN+
Game-time weather: 68°, PM rain, 80% chance of rain
Projected pitchers
Ole Miss: RHP James McArthur (2-0, 1.74 ERA)
UT: TBA

Poll

Does anyone actually like Knoxville?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    it’s fine
    (34 votes)
  • 76%
    fuck no
    (110 votes)
144 votes total Vote Now