TUSCALOOSA — The No. 15 Ole Miss Diamond Rebels will look to get a second straight win in Tuscaloosa today, playing the Alabama Crimson Tide at 3 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN 2.OLE MISS (36-15 overall) Starting Lineup:
LF Taylor Hashman
1B Miles Hamblin
RF Matt Smith
CF Tim Ferguson
3B Zach Miller
2B Alex Yarbrough
SS Kevin Mort
C Taylor Hightower
DH David Phillips
RHP Aaron Barrett (7-2, 3.44 ERA, 81K, 30BB, 73.1 IP, .225 B/Avg.
ALABAMA 29-21 overall, 10-15 SEC) Starting Lineup:
CF Taylor Dugas
SS Josh Rutledge
2B Ross Wilson
1B Clay Jones
DH David Kindred
3B Jake Smith
RF Andrew Miller
LF Jon Kelton
C Cody Trotter
RHP Jimmy Nelson (5-2, 4.59 ERA, 62K, 21BB, 68.2 IP, .272 B/avg.)
MOVING ON UP: Because of yesterday’s results around the SEC West, Ole Miss is now in a tie with Arkansas for the Western Division lead with a 16-9 conference record. While Ole Miss defeated Alabama 5-4, the Razorbacks fell to South Carolina 3-2. Auburn (15-10), who was tied with the Rebels for second in the division, lost to Tennessee 9-3 and is 1.0 game back, while LSU (12-13) is 4.0 games back of first. Alabama (6.0 back) and Mississippi State (11.0 games back) round out the Western Division standings.
UNCHARACTERISTIC DAY AT THE PLATE: Alabama center fielder Taylor Dugas, who entered this weekend with an incredible walk-to-strikeout ratio of 49-to-11, had a first against the Rebels. For the first time this season, the sophomore struck out three times. He also walked once.
WHAT ABOUT LAST YEAR: By the Alabama series last year, current senior Aaron Barrett had sort of been relegated to a mop up role in the Ole Miss bullpen. As a result, he only pitched the final inning of Sunday’s 19-6 blowout. The good news, for Barrett at least, was that he pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out one batter.
Today’s starter for Alabama, Jimmy Nelson, had a rough experience against Ole Miss last year. The current junior came into last year’s Friday night game looking to close out a 7-5 win for the Tide. That didn’t happen, however, as Nelson surrendered three earned runs on one hit and two walks. Former Ole Miss catcher Kyle Henson scored the game’s winning run when he was able to slide across home plate on a wild pitch from Nelson.
“It was a great college baseball game, but at the end it wasn’t the prettiest. I’m proud we found a way to win,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said at the time.
Nelson did not face Ole Miss as a freshman in 2008. (May 15, 2010)