There is no respite for a baseball team in the SEC.
After dropping consecutive series to Mississippi State and Vanderbilt, the Rebels have another test this weekend. The No. 23 Georgia Bulldogs are coming to Oxford for an important tilt for both programs.
Conference play started off well for No. 11 Ole Miss. The team won two out of three games in each of its series against Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Arkansas. The offense has been strong from game one through game 38, but a problem that manifested against Vanderbilt and State is the pitching staff’s effectiveness.
The Commodores and Bulldogs wracked up 40 runs in the six games against the Rebels. Ole Miss starters Ryan Rolison, Brady Feigl and James McArthur have been unable to consistently get deep into games, placing a lot of stress on the bullpen.
The visiting Bulldog team is coming to Oxford with a series loss to Kentucky fresh on its brain.
Georgia is 26-11 (9-6) on the season, sitting behind only Florida in the SEC East. The Rebels and Bulldogs match up similarly, as Georgia sits at a .280 team batting average, 3.50 earned run average and a .978 fielding percentage. Ole Miss comes out on top by a slim margin in all three categories, hitting .306 as a team, boasting a 3.40 team ERA and fielding at a clip of .980.
The matchup of starting pitchers favors the Rebels. Friday’s starter for the Bulldogs is senior right hander Chase Adkins. Adkins’ record is 3-0 in nine appearances while giving up 15 runs to SEC opponents. He locks up with lefty Ryan Rolison who is coming off one of his best outings against Vanderbilt.
Georgia’s freshman lefty Emerson Hancock gets the ball against Brady Feigl on Saturday. Hancock owns the best record (4-2) and ERA (3.78) of the Georgia starters. Ryan Webb (1-4) is slated to close things out on Sunday against James McArthur.
Offense has been the aspect of the game Coach Mike Bianco’s team can rely on in a pinch, which is a stark contrast to last year. The important players in the lineup are doing their part to produce runs.
Ryan Olenek extended his hit streak to 16 games, and has reached base in 18 straight after reaching against Arkansas State on Wednesday; his batting average also rose to .403. Six key contributors for the Rebels are hitting above a .300 average including Olenek, Grae Kessinger, Cole Zabowski, Thomas Dillard, Tyler Keenan and Chase Cockrell. Dillard busted a stretch without a homerun on Wednesday, giving him a total of eight on the year.
This weekend’s matchup is the first time the two teams have played since Ole Miss toppled Georgia in the 2016 SEC tournament. All three games can be viewed on SEC Network +.