Game two of the Rebels and Gamecocks resulted in something almost no one expected - consistently good pitching.
The 4-2 win for S. Carolina means a Saturday afternoon match-up for the series in Columbia. Ole Miss and USC are both looking to avoid a 5-10 record halfway through SEC play, and it seems the difference between 6-9 and 5-10 seems pretty big right now.
I think the main reason behind that is the probability of getting back to .500 or 15-15 at the end of conference play seems higher. Being able to go 10-5 over the last five series means winning every series or mixing in a sweep or two while a 9-6 record in the second half gives a little more grace.
Nonetheless, Ole Miss has put itself into a pretty deep hole to try and battle back into the comfortable postseason conversation.
Taking the mound for Ole Miss will be Jack Washburn (4-2, 3.45 ERA) who has shown the ability to do well against SEC opponents though inconsistently. Washburn has also not gone more than five innings in a game, and he would absolutely put the Rebels in a great position if he could get through more than half the game without allowing more than a couple runs.
Countering for USC is RHP Will Sanders (5-1, 3.42 ERA) who absolutely has the ability to go deep into the game. He has thrown more than 100 pitches in each of his last six starts including the likes of Texas, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Georgia.
Ole Miss is going to have to chase Sanders as early as possible if the Rebels have a shot on Saturday. Right now, I don’t have the faith in the offense outside of Tim Elko to produce runs significantly. Again, just like yesterday’s preview - Ole Miss needs to work counts deep early and often to get the starter out of the game. It didn’t happen yesterday, and it led to the best start of Noah Hall’s season.
I have a feeling Saturday may be a repeat on Friday, but maybe head coach Mike Bianco will make some adjustments in his line-up.
Rubber match in Columbia for the #RoadRebs pic.twitter.com/sHwxW1ALem— Coach Mike Bianco (@CoachMikeBianco) April 16, 2022
Ok, ok, ok, I see, I see, I see - Reagan Burford moves up in the lineup while Calvin Harris slots in at catcher and Hayden Leatherwood gets a shot in the outfield. Let’s ride.