No. 5 Ole Miss baseball travels to Nashville for weekend series against No. 15 Vanderbilt

Posted on Apr 13 2018 - 5:56am by Logan Conner

After a dominant win against No. 13 Southern Miss in Pearl on Tuesday night, Ole Miss baseball will travel to Nashville this weekend for a three-game series against Vanderbilt. Fresh off of a win against a top-15 opponent, the 28-6 Rebels will look to continue their roll against another ranked team in the Commodores and add to their 7-5 conference record.

The Rebels lost their first series of the season last weekend in Starkville – falling in games 1 and 3. Their pair of losses dropped the team to No. 5 in the latest rankings and second in the SEC West, one game behind No. 3 Arkansas, who they took a series from earlier in the season. For the first time this season, the Rebels looked beatable and needed to rebound against Southern Miss, which they did.

On Tuesday night, Ole Miss traveled to Pearl for the neutral-site game. In the second inning, Rebel bats exploded and scored six runs. After Tyler Keenan started the scoring for Ole Miss, a homerun preempted a two-run single by power-hitter Thomas Dillard. The Golden Eagles were unable to recover from the early deficit and fell to the Rebels, 11-3. With the victory, Ole Miss increased its win total to 28 and earned its sixth win of the season against a ranked team.

Ryan Olenek hits the ball in a game against Tulane earlier this season. The Rebels take on Southern Miss on Tuesday. Photo by Marlee Crawford

The Commodores enter this weekend looking a little rough. Despite sitting at No. 15 in the latest national rankings, they have lost six of their last nine games. However, Vanderbilt has seemingly hit a patch of positive momentum and recovered from six straight losses with wins in its past three. So far this season the Commodores have faced only one top five team: the No. 1 Florida Gators, who swept the series 3-0. The following weekend, they were able to squeak a series win against No. 18 Georgia, enough to move them to third in the SEC East.

This weekend’s series is massive for both teams.

Ole Miss finds itself trailing No. 3 Arkansas in the SEC West and the Commodores trail both Florida and Georgia in the East, making this matchup pivotal. The winner of the series could throw themselves right back into contention within their own division and jump up in the national rankings. The loser could fall too far behind in the divisional race.

The key for the Rebels will be on the offensive side of the ball. In their six losses this season, they have averaged 4.5 runs per game. On the other hand, the Rebels have averaged an astounding 7.6 runs per game in their 28 wins – seven of those ending in double-digit performances. With Vanderbilt having one of the premier bullpens in the nation, the Rebels will need to score early and take control of the game.

First pitch of the series is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday, with Saturday’s set for 2:00 p.m. and Sunday at 4:00 p.m. However, with severe weather in the forecast on Saturday, the schedule is tentative to change. The first two games can be streamed on SEC Network + with the final game being televised on ESPN U.