First pitch for today is set for 1:30 p.m. Ole Miss enters today tied with Auburn for seventh place in the SEC with 7-7 conference marks. Should Ole Miss take today, not only would it be the third consecutive weekend the ‘Cats were swept, it’ll be the first sweep for the Rebels since taking three in Starkville last season.
“(The sweep is) an opportunity, anytime you get a chance to sweep, to go one-up in the win column against somebody because it’s really a three-game swing,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “If you go 2-1, you’re only one game up and sweeping them you get the three-game lead plus the tiebreaker.
“It’s big statistically for a lot of reasons, so to get a sweep under our belt is big. But it’s more about coming out and playing well.”
Ole Miss will send Austin Wright to the mound. Wright, as pointed out in previous articles and blogs, has had an up-and-down conference season — literally.
Last weekend Wright performed well to pick up his fourth win of the season, allowing three runs on one walk and nine hits in 6.0 innings against Georgia. He also struck out nine, tying his season high.
Left-hander Taylor Rogers will take the mound for Kentucky. He is 2-4 on the year with a 4.91 ERA.
KENTUCKY (17-19 overall, 2-12)
LF Chad Wright .324 BA
SS Taylor Black .338
DH Braden Kapteyn .326
3B Thomas McCarthy .319
1B Dallen Reber .400
C Luke Maile .271
2B J.T. Riddle .320
CF Brian Adams .307
RF Lucas Witt .262
LHP Taylor Rogers (2-4, 4.91 ERA)
OLE MISS (22-14, 7-7)
CF Tanner Mathis .354
SS Blake Newalu .336
2B Alex Yarbrough .338
RF Matt Smith .319
LF Matt Tracy .299
3B Preston Overbey .260
DH Will Allen .242
1B Miles Hamblin .257
C Taylor Hightower .321
LHP Austin Wright (4-3, 4.03)
— SCORING SUMMARY —
Ole Miss 1, Kentucky 0 (BOTTOM 1): Alex Yarbrough placed the first pitch he saw from Rogers over the 365-foot marker on the left field wall to give the Rebels another early lead.
Ole Miss 2, Kentucky 0 (BOTTOM 2): Will Allen contributed to the Rebels’ scoring in the second inning, hitting a home run into the Rebels’ bullpen. It was his second home run and third RBI of the season.
Ole Miss 3, Kentucky 0 (BOTTOM 3): Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The Rebels have scored one run in each of the first three innings. In the third, Matt Tracy‘s single to right field scored Blake Newalu easily from third base.
Kentucky 5, Ole Miss 3 (TOP 6): After Kentucky registered back-to-back singles off of Wright, the lefty was pulled in favor of Eric Callender. Callender got the first batter to strikeout, but a single and fielding error by Tracy in left field allowed Luke Maile to score and J.T. Riddle and Lucas Witt to advance to second and third respectively. After a groundout by Chad Wright scored Riddle without a throw, Witt scored thanks to a ball off the bat of Taylor Black that took a tall hop over Preston Overbey at third base to tie the game at 3-3. Braden Kapteyn put the ‘Cats ahead in the next at-bat, swatting a two-run homer over the left field wall. It was his fifth home run of the season.
Kentucky 5, Ole Miss 4 (BOTTOM 7): Ole Miss regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh. The Rebels scored three runs off of Kapteyn and Alex Phillips on three hits and two walks. After Matt Smith scored Yarbrough on a double to center, Miles Hamblin tied the game with a fielder’s choice that scored Smith from third. Taylor Hightower then pushed Ole Miss back ahead of the ‘Cats with a single to left-center that scored Preston Overbey.
As has been sort of his shtick during his Ole Miss career, Brett Huber made things interesting. After pitching a scoreless eighth, Huber walked the leadoff batter in the ninth. Following a quick mound visit by Bianco, however, Huber got the next three ‘Cats in order to earn his fourth save of the season.
Callender (1-0) earned the win for Ole Miss, allowing three runs in 2.0 innings, while Kapteyn was saddled with the loss.
Austin Wright earned a no-decision, allowing two runs in 5.0 innings while walking three and striking out two.
With the sweep — and perhaps more surprisingly, Alabama dropping two of three to Tennessee — for fifth in the SEC’s overall standings at 8-7. The top eight teams earn spots in the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala. (and presumably spots in the NCAA Tournament).
Ole Miss will return to action on Tuesday, playing Mississippi State in the annual Governor’s Cup game in Pearl.
Matt Tracy will earn the start for the Rebels. (April 17, 2011)