Saturday, October 31, 2020

A Top-20 Matchup on the Diamond Opening Weekend at Swayze

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor

It’s that time of the year again for people to gather at the diamond of Swayze Field and cheer on the No. 18 ranked Ole Miss Rebels, perhaps with a beer shower or two out in the right-field on homers.

Today the Rebels open the 2020 season slate with a top-20 three-game series against the No. 1 ranked Louisville Cardinals. The first pitch is set for 4 p.m. on the SEC Network+.

Tyler Keenan at the dish. Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics

The last time Ole Miss stepped between the chalk was in the Super Regionals in Fayetteville, Arkansas against the Razorbacks. The Rebels finished with a 41-27 record one win away from the mecca of college baseball – Omaha.

This season, coach Mike Bianco and his staff have 20 newcomers to the club – 16 freshmen with four transfer players joining 14 veterans. Among the returners are third baseman Tyler Keenan and Anthony Servido who will move over to shortstop.

Louisville is coming off of a 51-18 mark in 2019 and the deepest run in program history as they reached the bracket final of the College World Series.

The Cardinals skipper Dan McDonnell makes his return to Oxford after being an assistant for Bianco for six seasons from 2001-06. During his time here, the Rebels averaged better than 40 wins per season and an SEC West Division crown in 05 and SEC Tournament Championship in 06 with five NCAA Tournament runs.

On the mound this weekend, Bianco will give the nod to sophomore left-hander Doug Nikhazy (tonight), sophomore right-hander Gunnar Hoglund (Saturday) and freshman right-hander Derek Diamond for the red and blue. Last season, Nikhazy finished with a 9-3 record on the bump with a 3.31 ERA and Hoglund followed with a 5.29 ERA and a 3-3 record.

The Cardinals will matchup with junior LHP Reid Detmers (tonight), junior RHP Bobby Miller (Saturday) and senior RHP Luke Smith.

This will be the 17th meeting between the Rebels and the Cardinals as they are even at eight games apiece. Last season, Ole Miss dropped both midweek games to the Cardinals on the road.

Fans can watch all the action of the game on the SEC Network+ or listen to the call on the Ole Miss Radio Network. Follow HottyToddySprts on Twitter for live updates during the game.