By Adam Brown
Swayze Field will be the setting for a top 5 series on the diamond this weekend as No. 1 Ole Miss plays host to the No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers. The first pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday night on SEC Network +.
Ole Miss (16-4, 2-1 SEC) enters the weekend after a 11-8 victory over the Memphis Tigers on Wednesday. Against the Tigers, shortstop Jacob Gonzalez went 4-for-5 at the dish with a double, three runs scored and two RBI. While center fielder Justin Bench closed the night 3-for-3 with a double, two runs and three RBIs.
The Rebels offense comes into the second weekend of conference action hitting at a .314 clip with 196 runs scored, 32 home runs and 176 RBIs through the first 20 games of the season.
Coach Mike Bianco’s club has Bench and TJ McCants hitting over .350 in playing at 16 games. The duo both are batting .357.
Tennessee (20-1, 3-0 SEC) rolls into Oxford riding a 12-game winning streak after defeating Butler 13-3 on Tuesday night.
This season, the Vols are led at the dish by Jared Dickey with a .429 batting average with seven doubles, a triple, five home runs and 13 RBI. His teammate Trey Lipscomb leads Tennessee in home runs (9) and RBI (38).
Tennessee has hit 59 home runs with 229 RBIs on the season.
This weekend the probable pitching matchup will have three right-handers on the mound for Tennessee in Chase Burns (Friday), Chase Dollander (Saturday) and Drew Beam. Bianco will turn to southpaw Josh Gaddis (Friday), RHP Jack Dougherty (Saturday) and RHP Derek Diamond (Sunday) on the hill for the red and blue.
The series matches up the SEC’s two highest scoring offenses, with Tennessee pacing the league at 11.4 runs per game, second in the nation, and Ole Miss ranking second in the conference at 9.8 runs per, the nation’s eighth highest average.
Game times are set for Friday at 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network+), Saturday at 7 p.m. (SEC Network) and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. (SEC Network+).