No. 4 Ole Miss and No. 13 Maryland will headline a huge weekend in Oxford with a chance for the defending champs to show its resolve against a talented Terp squad.
Ole Miss (4-0) and Maryland (2-2) both have shown the ability to score runs with the Terps scoring 30 runs in four games while the Rebels have 46 runs in its first four outings. The difference is Maryland’s pitching has not been able to keep opposing batters out of the scoring column.
Maryland opened its season in Tampa, Fla. against the South Florida Bulls and lost a tight 8-7 game though it rebounded to win the series. Then in its home opener, the Terps fell to West Virginia, 8-6, earlier this week.
So obviously a small sample size and baseball continues to have the craziest of outcomes specifically at the college ranks, but Maryland most likely will be coming in super motivated to first and foremost beat the defending champs but also shake off a rocky first four games.
Ole Miss meanwhile is resting its Friday starter Hunter Elliott who has forearm tightness and is turning to Jack Dougherty to hold down the first game of this series. Dougherty had one of the most clutch, most unexpected starts in Ole Miss baseball history in 2022 when he started the first game of the College World Series final. All he did was take the mound having not started in weeks and went five perfect scoreless innings to position the Rebels for a massive win.
The Rebels need his steady veteran presence again on Friday, and a home game in front of a friendly crowd shouldn’t be too big of a moment for the junior.
At this point in the season, there is no reason to think Ole Miss can’t go out and win this home series no matter who is taking the field. The team has looked fairly sharp, and it has the swagger of a winning program. For me, I think the coaches have to keep this squad loose and having fun in its title defense - go out and do what you do best, win damn baseball games.
All of the games in this series will be streamed live on SEC Network+.
Friday starters, 6 p.m.
Ole Miss: Jack Dougherty, 0-0, 0.00 ERA
Maryland: Jason Savacool, 0-1, 7.50 ERA
Saturday starters, 1:30 p.m.
Ole Miss: Grayson Saunier, 1-0, 0.00 ERA
Maryland: Nick Dean, 1-0, 0.00 ERA
Sunday starters, 1:30 p.m.
Ole Miss: Xavier Rivas, 1-0, 2.08 ERA
Maryland: Nate Haberthier, 1-0, 3.60 ERA