The Rebels will face off against the Gamecocks at Founders Park at 6 p.m. Friday in Columbia, South Carolina. Ole Miss heads into the game having won two straight, including a 10-3 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday.
Jordan Fowler got the start and the midweek win for the Rebels, allowing only two earned runs and one unearned run against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Fowler was one of five pitchers used by Ole Miss in the game. Connor Green, Austin Miller, Dallas Woolfolk and Greer Holston also contributed to the victory. Overall, the Rebel pitching staff allowed only eight hits and five walks and struck out 11 batters in the game.
Grae Kessinger contributed to the Rebel offense with his four hits and three runs. Nick Fortes had three RBIs, and Anthony Servideo had two RBIs. Each hit a home run for Ole Miss. The home runs were Servideo and Fortes’ first and ninth of the season, respectively, giving Fortes the second-most homers on the team, just one behind Thomas Dillard. Ole Miss went on to score 10 runs on 11 hits and eight walks. Each team posted one error in the game.
The Rebels and the Gamecocks both head into the weekend series having won their previous SEC series. The Rebels beat LSU, and the Gamecocks defeated Vanderbilt. Both teams split their previous series 2-1. Ole Miss and South Carolina’s overall records currently sit at 35-11 and 26-18, respectively, and their SEC records sit at 11-9 and 11-10, respectively.
South Carolina has acquired 20 of its wins at home and has an impressive 20-7 overall home record and 7-2 conference home record, but Ole Miss goes into the game with an away record of 9-6. However, the Rebels are 4-5 on the road in conference play, so this is an opportunity for Mike Bianco’s team to improve its away record.
Kessinger’s hot bat coming off of his 4-4 performance against Arkansas-Pine Bluff will be critical to Ole Miss’ success. Having gone 2-4 in game three against LSU, Kessinger is 6-8 over his last two games. The Rebels will hope for similar production over the weekend.
Dillard currently has 10 home runs for the 2018 season, the most recent of which was a three-run shot against LSU during Ole Miss’ seventh-inning comeback in game three of that series. He can potentially add to his home run total against the Gamecocks, whose pitching staff has given up 24 home runs in conference games.
The expected starters for the weekend’s games are Ryan Rolison, who won the Rookie of the Year Award at the Rebel Choice Awards on Monday, for Friday; Brady Feigl, who is 3-3 in conference games, on Saturday; and James McArthur, who is 3-0 in conference play, for Sunday.
As the season winds down, this series will be a crucial rung in the ladder for the Rebels, who are attempting to climb their way to clinching the SEC West title.