By Adam Brown
Ole Miss returns to the SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover, Ala., as they take on the Auburn Tigers. This game will start 30 minutes following the conclusion of the LSU and Georgia matchup. All games up until Sunday will be on the SEC Network.
Ole Miss finished the regular season at 38-17 overall and an 18-12 mark in league play. This season, the Rebels were 14-7 against ranked teams, including 10-5 against teams in the top 10. In the RPI at No.15 and the 11th strength of schedule with the third-most quad, one wins in the country at 17-11.
The Rebels have made the SEC Tournament 25 times, including each of the last nine tournaments, and did not reach the tournament only two seasons in the Mike Bianco era (2002 and 2011).
In the last trip to the Hoover Met in 2019, Ole Miss made it all the way to the championship game against Vanderbilt from the opening day. The Rebels were set to defend their title from 2018. In the championship game, Ole Miss jumped out to a 9-1 lead over the Commodores, before Vandy climbed back in to win 11-10 on a walk-off in the ninth.
Auburn rolls into Hoover with a 25-26 overall record and a 10-20 SEC mark. They will be the first test for Ole Miss in trying for a third consecutive trip to the title game.
Ole Miss swept the Tigers to open conference play back in March. The Tigers ended the regular season with a series win over Missouri.
Auburn has three sluggers batting over .300, all lead by junior Ryan Bliss with a .362 average.
The Tigers will have left-hander Jack Owen on the mound to face the Ole Miss lineup. Owen is 2-4 on the season with a 4.84 ERA. Bianco will call on the arm of Rebel ace southpaw Doug Nikhazy. Nikhazy is 8-2 with 2-12 ERA 107 strikeouts on the season to 26 walks.
The winner of the game will advance into the double-elimination portion of the tournament to take on Vanderbilt Wednesday night.