Thursday, May 26, 2022

No. 1 Ole Miss Plays Host to UCF in Weekend Series

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor

The No. 1 ranked Ole Miss Rebels will host the Central Florida Knights in a three-game series this weekend on the diamond of Swayze Field. The first pitch of the series is set for Friday at 4 p.m. on SEC Network +.

Ole Miss (4-0) comes into the series after a 12-1 win over Arkansas State in the midweek. The Rebels were led at the plate by Kevin Graham who went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI. Cale Baker and John Rhys Plumlee both hit home runs in the game.

This season, Ole Miss’ pitching staff leads the conference and is No. 4 in the nation in strikeouts per 9 innings pitched, averaging 15 strikeouts per game. The bullpen has been near-perfect so far on the season. The Rebel relievers have allowed just one run over 18.2 innings of work, with a collective 0.48 ERA.

UCF (1-3) rolls into Oxford after falling 7-0 to Stetson on Tuesday. 

The Knights are led at the plate by freshman Alex Freeland with a .467 batting average. His teammate Gephry Pena is right behind him with a .429 batting average.

UCF as a club has hit eight home runs on the season led by sophomore catcher Ben McCabe.

The probable pitching match up will showcase the arms of LHP Colton Gordon (Friday), LHP Hunter Patterson (Saturday), while the Sunday starter for the Knights has not been named. Coach Mike Bianco will give the ball to southpaw Doug Nikhazy (Friday), right-hander Gunnar Hoglund (Saturday), and right-hander Derek Diamond (Sunday) on the mound for the Rebels.

Ole Miss and UCF have stepped between the chalk seven times, with the Rebels holding a 5-2 advantage in the all-time series. In the last meeting between the teams in 2015, the Knights took the first two games before the Rebels picked up a 4-3 win on the final day of the series.

Game times for the series are Friday at 4 p.m., Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and Sunday at noon.