A top-ten matchup this weekend showcases two SEC Western division rivals, No. 7 LSU and No. 10 Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss. The Rebels return back to Swayze looking for a strong fan showing to match the NCAA record crowds in Starkville last weekend.
Ole Miss (29-9, 9-6 SEC) comes into the weekend hot after a huge series victory over their in-state rival Mississippi State. The Rebels took two-of-three games from the Bulldogs in front of record-breaking loud and sometimes rowdy fans. The series win puts the Rebels in sole position of second place in the SEC’s Western division.
During the weekend, Ole Miss outhit the Bulldogs by a 44-33 margin. On Friday night, the Rebels came out swinging hanging six runs on State while holding their in-state rivals to a lone run with solid pitching and defense. Saturday, in-front of the largest on-campus crowd in NCAA history, 15,586, the Bulldogs scored four runs in the bottom of the tenth to take a heartbreaker from the Rebels.
On Sunday’s game, Ole Miss dominated MSU from the first inning powering out 12 runs.
Senior first baseman Sikes Orvis is second in the SEC in home runs with eight. The big slugger has also hit safely in 13 straight games. While Orvis’ teammate catcher Will Allen is second in the conference in RBI (40) and tied for fourth in the league in home runs (5).
No. 7 LSU (28-9-1, 8-6-1 SEC) rolls into Oxford after taking a game from Southern Miss on Tuesday night and a series win at home against No. 24 Arkansas over the weekend. The Tigers are led at the plate this season by Andrew Stevenson who is hitting at a .352 clip and leads the team in RBI with 18.
As a club, the Bayou Bengals come in hitting 269 this season with 18 home runs.
Coach Mike Bianco sends to the mound a rotation of Chris Ellis (Thursday), Christen Trent (Friday) and Sam Smith on (Sunday). LSU has not released their pitching rotation yet for the series.
Ole Miss and LSU have faced each other 313 times on the diamond in this storied rivalry. The Rebels trail the Tigers 147-166, but Ole Miss has won the last three out of four series played in Oxford. Also this season, Coach Bianco’s club is undefeated at home in conference play.
For fans that will not be able to make it into town for this weekends top-ten matchup can watch Thursday’s game on ESPNU and Saturday on FSN. Or listen to the play-by-play on the Ole Miss Baseball Network. Game times are slated for two 6:30 p.m. starts on Thursday and Friday and 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.
The weather should be beautiful this Easter weekend, so Ole Miss sports officials urge fans to bring their friends, family and visitors to Swayze Field for all the fun and action of a crucial series against a bitter traditional SEC rival.
It doesn’t get better than this for baseball fans.
–Adam Brown, sports editor HottyToddy.com
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