#6 Ole Miss (20-2, 2-1 SEC) vs. #24 Texas A&M (15-7, 3-0 SEC)
Date: March 22-24, 2013 Times: 6:30 p.m./7:30 p.m./1:30 p.m. Location: Oxford, Miss. Venue: Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field Capacity: 10,323 Surface: Grass Series: Texas A&M leads 3-2 In Oxford: First Meeting Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network Television: ESPNU (Saturday) Announcers: Mike Morgan & Kyle Peterson Live Stats: OleMissSports.com Live Blog: OleMissSports.com Twitter Updates: @OleMissBSB
OLE MISS QUICK HITS Ole Miss stayed put in the top 10 of all five of the national polls following a 4-1 week and a series at #11 Arkansas this past weekend. The Rebels are ranked as high as No. 6 (Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball) and are ranked 8th in the remaining three polls (Perfect Game, USAToday, NCBWA). The Rebels won the series at #11 Arkansas with a 7-1 win on Friday night and a 6-4 win Sunday in 13 innings. With the Friday night win, Ole Miss posted a 19-1 start to the season to mark the best start in school history. It bested 18-2 starts through 20 games in 1960, 1964 and 2004. Junior IF Preston Overbey hit his first career grand slam on Friday night to help Ole Miss past Arkansas 7-1. Senior RHP Tanner Bailey turned in a career performance on Sunday at Arkansas, working a career-long 5.1 innings and striking out a career-high nine batters with no walks and scattering five hits in the scoreless outing. Rebel relivers who have seen more than 5.0 IP have combined for 94 strikeouts and 21 ER allowed in 85.0 IP. Junior SS Austin Anderson has only one strikeout through 83 plate appearances and ranks first nationally. Junior C Stuart Turner is 4th nationally and tops in the SEC with a .474 batting average through 22 games.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS FRIDAY, 6:30 PM TAMU - Kyle Martin, Sr., RHP Ole Miss - Bobby Wahl, Jr., RHP NOTING WAHL: Wahl carries a 5-0 record into this weekend matchup and will make his sixth start of the season on Friday night. The junior is coming off back-to-back quality starts and has allowed one run or less in four of five starts this year. Wahl is coming off an SEC-opening win at #11 Arkansas, allowing one run through 7.0 IP with 5BB and 5K. The right-hander holds a team-leading 27 strikeouts and is limiting opponents to a .194 batting average. Ranks in the top 10 in the SEC in ERA (8th) and Wins (T1st), and is 11th in Opposing Batting Average.
SATURDAY, 7:30 PM (ESPNU) TAMU - Daniel Mengdon, Soph., RHP Ole Miss - Mike Mayers, Jr., RHP NOTING MAYERS: Mayers makes his sixth start of the year when he takes the mound on Saturday with a 2-1 record this season. It will be the second time facing Texas A&M in his career after making the start in the NCAA Regional in 2012 against the Aggies. In the start at A&M, a 6-3 Rebel win, Mayers struck out nine and allowed two earned runs in 6.1 IP. Mayers has struck out 25 and walked 11 through 29.0 innings of work this season with three quality starts.
SUNDAY, 1:30 PM TAMU - Jason Freeman, Soph., RHP Ole Miss - Sam Smith, Soph., RHP NOTING SMITH: Smith makes his sixth start of the season and fifth Monday start when he takes the mound on Sunday. The right-hander took no decision at #11 Arkansas, but worked 5.0 IP with one run on three hits in the start. Turned in a quality start at FIU, working 6.0 IP with one unearned run and five strikeouts, scattering six hits. Smith has a 2-0 record with a 2.49 ERA, 13 strikeouts and six walks through 21.2 innings of work.
REBELS vs. TEXAS A&M Ole Miss and Texas A&M have only faced off a handful of times in the history of the two programs with the Aggies holding a 3-2 lead in the all-time series. Besides a three-game set played in College Station in 1998, the two teams have otherwise only met in NCAA Regional competition. They have never faced off in Oxford until this weekend. Ole Miss won the first meeting between the two teams 17-3 to open the weekend series in 1998. The Rebels also won the last meeting between the two teams 6-3 in the 2012 NCAA Regional at Texas A&M. Ole Miss dropped the 1998 series at Texas A&M as the Aggies won the last two games 6-3 and 3-2 (10 Inn.). The Rebels also faced Texas A&M in an elimination game in the 1999 NCAA Regional, falling 13-7 at A&M.
ANALYZING TEXAS A&M Texas A&M enters the weekend on a five-game win streak dating back to a midweek win over Houston Baptist last week. The Aggies then swept Georgia in the opening weekend of Southeastern Conference play and defeated Dallas Baptist on Tuesday night of this week. The Aggies hold a 15-7 record overall and are 3-0 in Southeastern Conference play. Infielder Mikey Reynolds leads Texas A&M with a .448 batting average and 17 runs scored this season. The Aggies are hitting .283 with five home runs, 95 RBI and have scored 104 runs through 22 games. Texas A&M pitchers hold a 2.83 ERA with 165 strikeouts and 69 walks, while allowing opponents to hit at a .234 clip this season. Friday starter Kyle Martin is 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA; He has struck out 30 with 26 walks through 30.2 IP and opponents are hitting at a .267 clip against him. Texas A&M's Saturday starter Daniel Mengden is 3-1 on the season with a 1.82 ERA; He has 32 strikeouts with only five walks through 34.2 IP and is holding opponents to a .193 batting average.
FAST STARTS KEY REBEL SUCCESS Quick starts to games have been a key to Rebel success this season and played a part in the 20-2 start out of the gates. Through the first four innings, Ole Miss is outscoring its opponents by a whopping 92-to-22 margin. Ole Miss is 15-0 when scoring first this season and is 10-0 when scoring in the first inning.
ANDERSON TOUGH TO STRIKE OUT Through 22 games and 83 at bats this season, Austin Anderson has struck out only one time. That strikeout came in the final at bat of the game at #11 Arkansas in the series opener, 20 games into the season. To date, Anderson ranks first nationally in the NCAA as toughest hitter to strikeout.
MULTIPLE-HIT AND MULTIPLE-RBI GAMES Stuart Turner does a little bit of everything for the Rebels and currently leads the team in multiple-hit games and multiple-RBI games. To date, Turner has posted 14 multiple-hit games and 10 multiple-RBI games. Ten Rebels have posted multiple-hit games in 2012, while 10 Rebels have also posted multiple-RBI games this season. Austin Anderson and Auston Bousfield are second behind Turner with eight multiple-hit games.
STREAKING REBELS TO WATCH Six Rebels hold active hit streaks heading into the weekend series with Texas A&M, led by Stuart Turner's 17-game hit streak. It's the longest active hit streak on the team and dates back to the Feb. 22 series opener when Turner went 0-for-4 but still managed two RBI. Turner has hit in all but three games this season. Sikes Orvis (5), Preston Overbey (3) and Tanner Mathis (2) also have hit streaks of more than one game.
Turner's hit streak is tied for ninth all-time in Ole Miss history with Kirs Cox (2000), Brad Henderson (2000) and Chad Sterbens (2003). The longest hit streak all-time was set by Brian Pettway across the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Pettway hit safely in the final game of 2004 and the first 27 games of 2005.
REBELS POST BEST START IN SCHOOL HISTORY The Rebels posted a 19-1 start to the season through the first 20 games, matching the best start to a season in program history. With the Friday night win at Arkansas, the Rebels became the first team to post the 19-1 record, passing three teams that started 18-2 to the season. Ole Miss started 18-2 in 1960, 1964 and 2004.
THROUGH 22 GAMES IN 2012 Through 22 games in the 2012 season, the Rebels were four games behind the current pace in 2013 with a 16-6 record on the season and coming off a series-opening win in the series at Alabama. Ole Miss was hitting at a .312 clip with 17 home runs and 153 RBI and were 20-of-29 on steal attempts. As a pitching staff, the Rebels held to a 3.03 ERA with 190 strikeouts and 42 walks while allowing 85 runs (66 earned runs). The Rebels were fielding at a .967 clip with 28 errors.
PROMOTIONS ABOUND AT SWAYZE FIELD IN 2013 Visitors to Oxford-University Stadium this season will have plenty to look forward to besides just some of the most exciting baseball in the country. Ole Miss Marketing has gameday promotions lined up throughout the course of the season that are sure to please the crowds. Next weekend's promotions include Brett Huber poster night on Friday night at Swayze Field, while Saturday afternoon's game will feature an Ole Miss welcome mat giveaway. Sunday's game will feature the first set of baseball cards.
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