Mike Bianco has to view this weekend series with No. 3 Florida as an enormous opportunity to bounce back after a road sweep at Vanderbilt in the first weekend of SEC play.
The Gators (19-4, 2-1 SEC) won its home opening SEC series against Alabama, but it was a closely contested weekend between the two programs. Ole Miss (15-6, 0-3 SEC) did not seem to ever be in contention to knock of Vanderbilt while in Nashville last weekend.
Swayze Field does have its fair share of home field advantage though, and the weather on Saturday and Sunday should be damn near perfect for drinking cold beers and hootin’ and hollerin’. Saturday’s game between Ole Miss and Florida has officially sold out in fact.
Here are the projected starters for this weekend for each team along with the first pitch times.
Saturday, March 25, 1:30 p.m. CT
Ole Miss: RHP Jack Dougherty - 2-2, 6.14 ERA
Florida: RHP Brandon Sproat - 4-0, 2.73 ERA
Saturday, March 25, 1 hour after completion of game 1
Ole Miss: RHP Grayson Saunier - 1-1, 6.30 ERA
Florida: RHP Hurston Waldrep - 3-1, 4.00 ERA
Sunday, March 26, 1:30 p.m. CT
Ole Miss: LHP Xavier Rivas - 4-1, 5.40 ERA, 28 K, 13 BB
Florida: LHP Jac Caglianone - 3-0, 3.20 ERA, 32 K, 10 BB
Again, the Rebels have got to figure out its pitching and string together some innings against an SEC opponent before fans can confidently expect some wins. It’s a younger staff in general, and the experience is just not there yet however this weekend being in Oxford may be a little more comfortable to settle in on the mound.
Florida’s offense will not be a pushover, however, as the team batting average hovers around .330. Additionally, in the four games UF has lost, here are the scores: 10-9, 10-8, 14-6, and 6-3. It’s very likely the Gators will cross the plate early and often, so the Ole Miss offense has to be clicking at Swayze for this series to be interesting.
The defending national champs take the field at 1:30 p.m. CT on Saturday for a doubleheader, it will be perfect weather for baseball, and in my opinion beers and crawfish sound like a hell of an idea right about now.