Last season, both Ole Miss and Texas A&M made it to the College World Series though the two teams did not face each other - one of those teams won the national championship if memory serves. Yes, it was the Rebels.
The Aggies (15-10, 1-5 SEC) and Rebels (15-9, 0-6 SEC) have both stumbled out of the gate early in conference play this season, however. Ole Miss and TAMU have played top 25 SEC opponents in back-to-back weekends, but this is how the conference plays every season - it’s damn difficult, nothing new there.
Both teams are searching for answers and switching some things up to win its first SEC series in the 2023 season. Whichever team can win this series will change its short term trajectory and get some quick momentum but losing this series will be rough either way. I don’t think any Ole Miss fan imagined the possibility of being 1-8 or even 0-9 to start SEC play prior to the season starting and the same can be said for the weirdo bubble blowing, Blue Bell noshing Aggie people.
Here’s how the starting pitching will roll out this weekend with some significant changes for Ole Miss.
Friday, March 31, 6 p.m. CT
Ole Miss: RHP Jack Dougherty - 2-2, 6.07 ERA
Texas A&M: RHP Nathan Dettmer - 1-3, 5.40 ERA
Saturday, April 1, 7 p.m. CT
Ole Miss: LHP Xavier Rivas - 4-2, 4.97 ERA
Texas A&M: LHP Justin Lamkin - 1-2, 3.28 ERA
Sunday, April 2, 1 p.m. CT
Ole Miss: RHP JT Quinn - 3-0, 5.48 ERA
Texas A&M: TBA
The Rebels are waiting for the return of Friday starter Hunter Elliott who was shut down earlier this season with forearm tightness. Head coach Mike Bianco has projected a possible return for Elliott in the next 2-4 weeks, and the potential return of Riley Maddox by early to mid-May, according to reports.
Until then, the patchwork quilt of Ole Miss pitching continues to be sketchy at best as the team ERA sits at 5.68 for the season. The worse news out of that is the team ERA in SEC play? A whopping 8.70 compared to 3.23 for opponents - yeah, getting a plus five ERA deficit is not a way to win many games.
If veterans Jack Dougherty and Xavier Rivas can at least get through the Aggie line-up once, I think it gives Ole Miss a fighting chance. Sunday will be the wild card as freshman JT Quinn has been solid in midweek, but this will be his toughest test yet.