The Ole Miss baseball team returns to conference play this weekend, as they take on their in-state rivals, the Mississippi State Bulldogs, in Starkville, Miss.
No. 13 Ole Miss (27-8, 7-5 SEC) rolls into the weekend firing on all cylinders, after winning six straight games. That ties the Rebels’ longest winning streak, set earlier this season. In its past two games, Ole Miss has been hot at the plate, scoring a total of 15 runs in the past two games combined.
On Tuesday night, against the Memphis Tigers, the Rebels scored nine runs. They got off of a high-octane performance with a couple of home runs hit by Will Allen and Sikes Orvis, in the fifth inning, that broke the game wide open.
The team then returned to the confines of Swayze Field on Wednesday night to host Murray State. The Racers took an early 3-0 lead on the Rebels in the fourth, but Ole Miss responded quickly by hanging six runs of their own in the bottom half of the fourth, and they never looked back.
Coach Mike Bianco’s club tallied a total of 15 hits in the win on Wednesday night. Junior Braxton Lee went 3-for-4 at the dish, scoring one run.
No.13 Mississippi State (21-13, 6-6 SEC) welcomes the Rebels, after an extra-inning 6-5 victory over Southern Mississsippi in Pearl, Miss. Last weekend, the Bulldogs traveled to Baton Rouge, La., and took on LSU. The Tigers swept State in all three games.
Brett Pirtle holds a .320 batting average through 34 games, with 13 RBI and 18 runs scored. Wes Rea has three of the team’s six home runs and leads the Bulldogs with 25 RBI coming into the weekend.
Coach John Cohen’s team is hitting at a .262 average with six home runs and 148 RBI.
The Rebels will go with their normal weekend rotation of Chris Ellis (Friday), Christian Trent (Saturday) and Sam Smith (Sunday). Coach Cohen will match up with the arms of Ole Miss’ pitchers with junior left-hander Ross Mitchell (Friday) and junior right-hander Trevor Fitts (Saturday), although the Sunday starter has not been determined at this point.
Ole Miss and Miss. State have faced one another on the diamond 445 times in this storied rivalry. The Rebels do trail the Bulldogs in this series 205-235-5, but Ole Miss has beaten MSU in the past three series. In the coach Bianco era, the Rebels are 4-2 in the series played in Starkville.
Fans can listen to the play-by-play call of every game on the Ole Miss Baseball Network. Game times are set for Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The Saturday game will also be aired on FSN.
–Adam Brown, sports editor of HottyToddy.com
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