For the third straight season, the Ole Miss Rebels are playing in a Super Regional. To get there, the Rebels swept the Coral Gables Regional, defeating the Arizona Wildcats, who eliminated the Rebs in the Super Regional round a season ago.
The Rebels reached Tucson last season by defeating the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in the Oxford Regional to advance. The in-state foes are matched up again with a trip to Omaha on the line.
The season series between the two was split as Ole Miss went to Hattiesburg and won 4-1 against the largest crowd in Southern Miss history. It would be fair to anticipate a similar crowd over the weekend ahead.
Ole Miss has caught fire at the right time and Tim Elko is blazing hot. The all time single season home run leader in Ole Miss history went 7-9 in Coral Gables with five walks. Those seven hits included three doubles and three homers. Needless to say, he is in the zone. Peyton Chatagnier decided to find his stroke last weekend as he was perhaps the most clutch hitter for the Rebs over the three games.
Despite the high power offense clicking at the right time, the Rebels are without a doubt, the underdog in Hattiesburg. The Golden Eagles have a team batting average of .281 and have slugged 82 home runs this season while only surrendering 38 long balls themselves. So who are the names to watch for and are there any advantages for Ole Miss?
Dustin Dickerson #10
The sophomore infielder just hits. His .326 average leads the team as well as his 24 doubles. He also leads the team with 85 hits and possesses an impressive .404 on-base percentage. Keeping Dickerson off the base paths will be crucial for the Rebels pitching staff.
Christopher Sargent #41
The Junior slugger leads the team in homer runs (21) and RBI (58). His average and OPS are not all that impressive but it would be wise to not make a mistake against him. A true boom-or-bust player, he is second on the team in hits but only has 9 doubles. He is a free swinger that only walked 11 times all season compared to 52 strikeouts.
- The Golden Eagles have 7 players with 60+ hits on the season. Ole Miss has 2.
- The Rebels have 3 qualifying players with an OB% greater than .410. USM has 1.
Hunter Riggins, Tanner Hall, Hurston Waldrep
The starting rotation is the biggest advantage the Golden Eagles have over just about any opponent in the NCAA. All three guys are sub 3.00 ERA dudes and the worst batting average against amongst the three is .232. Teams just don’t typically get to them and if they do, they have four players out of the bullpen that are sub 3.00 ERA dudes as well.
The Ole Miss starting rotation has been an absolute crapshoot all year. Hunter Elliott and Dylan DeLucia did their jobs in Miami and if Ole Miss has any hope of advancing, will need similar performances from the two.
The only Rebel to start more than 9 games on the season is Derek Diamond and his ERA is an abysmal 6.89 thru 14 starts. McDaniel, Gaddis, and Washburn also have at least six starts on the season, all posting ERAs over 3.25.
Pitching will be the story this weekend. Southern Miss has plenty, Ole Miss pitching is just playing Russian roulette. If the Golden Eagles staff neutralizes the Rebel bats, Ole Miss could be headed home on Sunday. If the Rebs can turn it into a slugfest or get solid outings from at least two starters, they could find themselves in Omaha.