By Adam Brown
No. 18 Ole Miss welcomes the No. 2 Vanderbilt Commodores for a SEC series tilt on the diamond at Swayze this weekend. The first pitch is set for Friday at 6 p.m. on the SEC Network.
Ole Miss (34-10, 14-10 SEC) is coming off a midweek 9-4 victory over Little Rock on Wednesday. The Rebels are looking to bounce back after dropping last weekend’s series at Texas A&M.
The Rebels pitching staff lost Gunnar Hoglund on Monday for the remainder of the season due to a UCL tear that will require surgery.
This season, at the plate, Ole Miss leads the conference in hits (504), runs scored (373), on-base percentage and batting average (.304). The Rebels are also top-five in the league in slugging percentage, doubles, walks, hit by pitch, sacrifice flies and runs per game.
A total of eight players are batting over .300 on the season all led by left fielder Kevin Graham with a .346 average.
Vanderbilt (35-10, 16-7 SEC) rolls into Oxford after taking the series from Alabama last weekend. The Commodores and the Crimson Tide only played a two-game series due to rain in Nashville. On Tuesday, Vandy defeated North Alabama 3-2 in midweek action.
The Commodores are batting .298 as a club and are led by Enrique Bradfield Jr. with a .358 average. Carter Young leads the team in home runs (13) and RBI (42).
On the mound this weekend, Vandy will go with this rotation — Kumar Rocker (Friday), Jack Leiter (Saturday) and Patrick Reily (Sunday). Coach Mike Bianco will move Doug Nikhazy to Friday after Hoglund’s injury, Derek Diamond will step in on Saturday and Drew McDaniel will pitch on Sunday for the Rebels.
These two programs have met 128 times on the diamond, with Ole Miss holding a 66-60-2 advantage in the all-time series.
Game times for this weekend’s matchup are Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Friday and Sunday’s games will be on the SEC Network and Saturday will be on SEC Network+.