The No. 22 Ole Miss Rebels (6-4) will look to bounce back from a 2-2 week against Arkansas State and No. 9 UCF Wednesday night when they take on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
Ole Miss had a couple heartbreaking one-run losses in Orlando, including a walk-off on Friday night. The trip to the Sunshine State was critical for recruiting, as the area is a hotbed for Mike Bianco, with the Rebels landing the likes of Will Allen, Auston Bousfield, Austin Anderson, Sikes Orvis, J.B. Woodman, Tate Blackman, Colby Bortles and others from the area. It also made a young team in transition have to grow up quickly, something they hope will come in handy next week with road trips to No. 20 Louisville and No. 7 LSU.
Lefty Evan Anderson (1-0, 5.40 ERA) will take the mound for Ole Miss and hopes to build off a strong performance from last week’s midweek win over Arkansas State. Anderson pitched five innings, allowing two hits, two walks and one run while striking out four.
The Rebels continue to get production from the outfield spots, led by freshman Kyle Watson at a .389 average and a .593 on-base percentage. Woodman has ascended into his new role well, hitting .303 with five doubles. Bianco will look to get more production from his middle infield spots as Blackman and Errol Robinson are slumping to start the year.
USM (5-4-1), fresh off a series win at Troy, plays at South Alabama tonight in Mobile. The series win over the Trojans snapped a skid that saw the Golden Eagles go 0-4-1 over a 13-day span. Wednesday’s game against Ole Miss will be the team’s first home game since a 7-6 loss to New Orleans on Feb. 18. They are 3-1 at Pete Taylor Park this season.
Junior Cody Cockrell gets the ball for Southern Miss, opposite Anderson. The UL-Lafayette-transfer is 0-0 with an 11.57 ERA. He’s appeared twice this season, both in relief, allowing five hits and three runs in 2.1 innings.
The Golden Eagles bring some pop at the plate with two players sitting at three home runs apiece, junior Tim Lynch and senior Connor Barron. Lynch is hitting .367 this year, adding three doubles, good for a .767 slugging percentage. Barron, a Hattiesburg native, is hitting .350 this year and leads the team with 14 hits.
Wednesday will mark the 118th time the teams have met, with the Rebels holding a 71-47 advantage in the series. The teams last met April 30, 2014, with USM coming out on top 7-6. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. and you can listen to the game on the Ole Miss Radio Network.
Michael Quirk is a HottyToddy.com staff reporter and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.