By Adam Brown
No. 18 Ole Miss returns home to start a five-game homestand to close out the regular season at Swayze as they play host to the Arkansas Little Rock Trojans. The first pitch is set for Wednesday at 4 p.m. on SEC Network+.
Ole Miss (33-14) is coming off a weekend series loss at Texas A&M. The Rebels won game two 12-7 but dropped the series opener and finale by a lone run.
At the dish, Ole Miss is 16th in the nation and leads the SEC in batting average at .304, including a league-best .305 in conference play. Eight Rebels are hitting over .300 on the season. They also lead the SEC in hits, runs scored, on-base percentage and batting average. The Rebels are also top-five in the league in slugging percentage, doubles, walks, hit by pitch, sacrifice flies and runs per game.
On Monday, the Rebels pitching staff lost ace Gunnar Hoglund for the rest of the season after an MRI revealed a tear of the UCL. The staff is fourth nationally and third in the SEC in strikeouts per nine innings at 11.6. Ole Miss is second in the league and eighth in the country in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 3.39.
Arkansas Little Rock (19-19) comes into town on a two-game losing streak to Sam Houston over the weekend.
The Trojans are lead at the plate by John Michael Russell with a .318 average. His teammate Tyler Williams leads the club with seven home runs and 34 RBI on the season.
Arkansas Little Rock will send right-hander Luke Wallner to the mound to face the Rebels. Ole Miss will call on the arm of Josh Mallitz to face the Trojans lineup. Mallitz is 4-1 with a 6.85 ERA and 28 strikeouts to eight walks on the season.
These two programs have met on the diamond 24 times, with the Rebels holding a 19-5 advantage in the all-time series. Ole Miss won the first meeting in 1978, a 7-5 victory in Oxford. All 24 meetings have taken place in Oxford. The Rebels led from start to finish in an 11-6 victory the last time the two teams met earlier this season on April 20.