MSU vs. Ole Miss Series Preview

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It’s that time again – time to play the Rebels. This weekend we renew the rivalry baseball style with a 3-game set at Dudy Noble Field as part of Super Bulldog Weekend.

Schedule:

  1. Friday at 6:30 – Ross Mitchell (5-2, 1.54) vs. Chris Ellis (4-0, 1.88)
  2. Saturday at 3:00 (FSN) – Trevor Fitts (2-2, 3.41) vs. Christian Tent (4-0, 2.41)
  3. Sunday at 1:30 – TBA vs. Sam Smith (4-2, 2.22)

Injuries:

  • MSU – Preston Brown (3-1, 1.95 ERA in 37 IP)
  • Ole Miss – Aaron Greenwood (1-0, 1.48 ERA in 24.1 IP)

For some Ole Miss baseball knowledge we asked a few questions to Dave Bevan from our sister site on the FanSided Network, Ole Hotty Toddy

1. Had you ever seen someone hit a HR on what was supposed to be an intentional walk (4:25 mark in video)?

"Not in collegiate games. What Austin Anderson did in the bottom of the 13th inning was something you just don’t see happen a lot in baseball. I think the last time I witnessed it being attempted was in the movie “A League of their Own”, but that turned out to be unsuccessful."

2. Ole Miss swept Mizzou, got swept by Bama then swept Auburn. Is this a case of an inconsistent team or have the wins and losses just fallen that way?

"It is definitely a concern. Ole Miss’ struggle this season has been winning games away from home. The team lost the series to South Carolina at South Carolina, lost to Southern Miss at Trustmark Park leading into the Alabama series, anod then of course got swept by Bama in Tuscaloosa. Ole Miss is currently 19-2 at home, 7-5 on the road, and 1-1 at neutral sites, so that answers that question."

"Ole Miss currently has a RPI rank of No. 9 in the nation. The team is 1-6 against teams that have a RPI rank of 1-50. Mississippi State’s RPI is currently No. 41, so this could be an opportunity for us to redeem ourselves."

3. What is the strength of the Rebel team this year?

"There are a few strengths that come to mind. Pitching was a major concern coming into the season, due to losing some big weapons after last season. But, we have really built up a great bullpen this season with very effective closers. Sam Smith and Christen Trent are undoubtedly are two best starters. Trent pitched a nine inning shutout with seven strikeouts against Auburn Saturday. Smith followed with a  great performance in game two of the double header. Look for Trent pitching Saturday and Smith on Sunday in this series.Also, our offense has made major improvements from last season. The intentional walk homerun by Austin Anderson we talked about earlier was probably the sixth or 7th time the team has won in dramatic walk-off fashion this season. This team can rally and has proven that they can comeback from a deficit in the final inning, and it should be a concern for State."

4. What is the weekness of the Rebel team this year?

"Some of Bianco’s decisions this season have been questionable and have cost us some wins in my opinion. The Alabama series is a good example, Bianco needs to trust his pitchers when they are hot and not pull them too early. We need to avoid being too tactical in trying to close games."

5. What are your predictions for the series?

"Playing in Starkville is the concern here. I believe if the series was in Oxford, there would be no question that Ole Miss would take the series, maybe even sweep State. But, with the series being in Starkville, I believe State does have the advantage. I do think our team can overcome their drama on the road. That being said, I believe State will win game one on Friday, but Ole Miss will rally to take games two and three on the weekend.  I do believe we are set to see a great pitching performance this weekend by both teams, and the games will be won by just a few runs being scored."

You can see the questions I answered for him here.

Stats comparison:

 Team

Avg.

OB%

HRSOBBSB ERAWHIPOpp. avg

RPI

Ole Miss

.303.37224208104492.811.06.219 8 MSU.262.3696199159

48

3.10

1.30.247

39

Will MSU break the all-time attendance record on Saturday? Before the year I would have said absolutely but with the team’s struggles it is certainly in questions.

Who will start on Sunday? Preston Brown doesn’t appear to be ready to come back and we’re still uncertain about his health status. Brandon Woodruff has looked really solid of late and is a candidate – although his bullpen work has been excellent (0.00 ERA in 10.2 IP). It will be interesting to see who takes the hill.

The Bulldogs really need this series. It’s not critical because the second half of the SEC schedule lightens up a bit, but to stay in the SEC West race, beat your rival and hold onto what Regional hosting chances are still out there a series win is a must.

This should be a great series. On paper OM definitely has the edge, but we’ll see what happens.