For the second time in just over a week, Ole Miss will face Southern Miss in a midweek contest, this one coming at Swayze Field.
The two teams met eight days ago at Trustmark Park in Pearl for their annual neutral-site meeting, a game the Rebels won 6-2. Freshman right-hander James McArthur went six innings and scattered four hits without allowing an earned run in his fourth consecutive win. Ole Miss blitzed junior right-hander Mason Walley offensively, scoring all six of its runs in the first four innings as Walley lasted just 2.2 innings and was charged for five of the six runs scored. Ryan Olenek and Connor Cloyd each had a pair of RBIs on the night.
McArthur has helped Ole Miss improve to 8-0 in midweek games for just the third time in school history.
It will be the same story on the mound for Ole Miss in the rematch as McArthur (4-0) will look to record his fifth consecutive victory. Southern Miss will go a different route and will start freshman left-hander Stevie Powers. He has seven appearances for the Golden Eagles this season, two of which were starts, but he did not factor in the decision in either. Powers has tossed a total of 14.1 innings this year and has yielded four earned runs on 11 hits and given up nine walks.
Unlike in the first meeting, when Ole Miss came into the game having lost five out of its last six, the Rebels have garnered some momentum, having swept Arkansas over the weekend and riding a five-game win streak.
“We’ve played well. It’s good we’ve rebounded after a stretch there of about five games, and we’ve played well since that Saturday at Starkville,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said after Sunday’s 8-7 win that completed the sweep of Arkansas.
After hitting a bit of a lull offensively during the stretch that Bianco alluded to, the offense has come to life. Ole Miss has scored at least six runs in its last five games and compiled 29 over the weekend.
“I think we just continued to do what we do, and continue to work,” Bianco said. “I’m proud of Coach Clement. You know, sometimes you’ve got to stay the course. Sometimes you’ve got to get back to who you are, and they’ve worked really hard.”
None more so than Errol Robinson, who, after having his average dip into the 100-range to begin conference play, has at least two hits in his last five games and has seen his average rise to .254 during the stretch.
“It’s baseball, and things happen. Unfortunately, they might not go my way,” Robinson said after Friday’s win. “But I don’t think I was pressing. I think it’s just baseball and that’s how things happen.”
“Again, it’s baseball and hitting comes and goes at times, but I think they realize that, an older lineup that was able to bounce back,” Bianco said.
Southern Miss swept Middle Tennessee State over the weekend, and slid into the top 25 in a number of polls. The Golden Eagles come into the game ranked as high as No. 18, making this the tenth ranked opponent in Ole Miss’ last 18 games. The Rebels also moved up in the polls after their sweep, and enter ranked as high as eighth nationally.
First pitch from Swayze is set for 6:30 p.m.