BLOG: The rain has subsided, the field has dried and it appears the Diamond Rebels will be able to play Game 1 of their three-game series against the Kentucky Wildcats (17-17 overall, 2-10 SEC) after all.
First pitch for tonight is set for 6:30 p.m. at Oxford-University Stadium. Both the Rebels (20-14, 5-7) and Kentucky enter this weekend looking to right the ship so to speak. While Ole Miss has lost eight of its last 11, the ‘Cats have been swept each if their last three SEC series (at Alabama, At No. 3 South Carolina and vs. Auburn).
Taking the mound for the Wildcats will be 6-foot-9 right-hander Alex Meyer. Meyer is 3-4 with a 3.74 ERA in 8 appearances. He also has 64 strikeouts and 29 walks in 55.1 innings, while holding opponents to a .244 batting average.
Ole Miss’ usual Friday night starter Matt Crouse will take the mound. The lefty is 6-2 with a 2.93 ERA. He has a solid K-to-BB ratio of 41-to-7 in 55.1 innings and is holding opponents to a .235 BA.
While the Rebels as a whole are currently looking to get out of their recent funk, junior catcher Taylor Hightower is swinging the bat well. Hightower — and his team-high .375 batting average — is batting in the nine-hole tonight and credited hitting coach Matt Mossberg for his recent surge.
—STARTING LINEUPS —
KENTUCKY (17-17, 2-10)
LF Chad Wright .336 BA
SS Taylor Black .333
DH Braden Kapteyn .331
3B Thomas McCarthy .312
1B Luke Maile .272
2B Paul McConkey .188
C Michael Williams .232
CF Brian Adams .289
RF Lucas Witt .268
RHP Alex Meyer 3-4, 3.74 ERA
OLE MISS (20-14, 5-7)
CF Tanner Mathis .348
SS Blake Newalu .309
2B Alex Yarbrough .341
RF Matt Smith .318
LF Matt Tracy .386
DH Matt Snyder .248
1B Miles Hamblin .263
3B Preston Overbey .264
C Taylor Hightower .375
LHP Matt Crouse 6-2, 2.93
Kentucky 1, Ole Miss 0 (TOP 3): Kentucky’s first hit of the game came in the form of a solo home run from catcher Michael Williams over the wall in left field.
Kentucky 1, Ole Miss 1 (BOTTOM 6): The wind may have helped Ole Miss out a bit in the sixth as Kentucky 3B Thomas McCarthy dropped a pop-up from Matt Snyder allowing to Blake Newalu to score from second base with two outs.
Ole Miss 3, Kentucky 1 (BOTTOM 8 ): Ole Miss pulled ahead in the bottom of the eighth. Newalu led off the frame with a double and would later score on a hit to shallow center from Matt Tracy. Four at-bats later a hit to left field by pinch-hitter Will Allen would score Matt Smith, who was walked by Alex Meyer, to put Ole Miss ahead 3-1.
Ole Miss 3, Kentucky 2 (TOP 9): Kentucky made it interesting, scoring one run on three singles in the frame, but Bobby Wahl, Ole Miss’ newest closer, got Taylor Black to fly out to left field to end the frame. Wahl also struck out two batters in the frame to earn his first save of the season.
Brett Huber improved to 2-0 on the season, pitching a scoreless 0.2 of an inning, striking out one in the process.
Meyer fell to 3-5 on the year for Kentucky. The flame-thrower allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits and three walks in 7.1 innings. He also struck out seven.
Newalu was sort of the table setter for the Rebels, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored in the game. Tracy was the only other Rebel to record multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.
First pitch tomorrow is set for 4 p.m. at Oxford-University Stadium. Junior right-hander David Goforth will take the mound for Ole Miss. (April 15, 2011)