#16 Ole Miss (22-8, 4-5 SEC) vs. Auburn (19-11, 5-4 SEC)
Date: April 4-6, 2014 Location: Oxford, Miss. Venue: Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field Capacity: 10,323 Surface: Grass Series: Auburn leads 80-77 Last Series: AU won series 2-1 in 2013 Radio: Ole Miss Baseball Network Television: CSS (Sunday Only) Announcers: Richard Cross & Joe Beckwith Live Stats: OleMissSports.com Live Video: www.WatchRebelVision.com www.ESPN3.com Twitter Updates: @OleMissBSB
QUICK HITS Ole Miss found itself in the top 25 of the national rankings for the sixth consecutive week, topping out at No. 16. The Rebels are third in the SEC in batting (.299), second in home runs (21) and fourth in scoring (170 runs). Ole Miss is fifth in ERA as a staff (2.35) and is third in the conference in wins with 22 though seven weeks of play. Three Rebels rank in the top five in the SEC in hits: Bousfield (T3rd - 42), Anderson (T3rd - 42) and Allen (5th - 41). Anderson ranks in the top 10 in the SEC in average (4th), on base percentage (3rd), runs (6th) and hits (T3rd). Will Allen is tied for the league lead in RBI (33) and is tied for sixth in the league in home runs (4) this season. Sikes Orvis is second in the SEC in home runs (6) and has produced nine of his 20 RBI from home runs. The Rebels can pull even with Auburn in the all-time series this weekend with a sweep of the Tigers in Oxford. Ole Miss is now 8-3 in one-run games this season and has posted nine come-from-behind wins to date.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS FRIDAY, 6:30 PM AU - Dillon Ortman, Sr., RHP OLE MISS - Chris Ellis, Jr., RHP NOTING ELLIS: Ellis has settled in as the anchor for the Rebels' weekend, moving into the Friday role his junior season. The RHP has three quality starts on the year, including two shutouts and a complete-game vs. GSU. Ellis has not allowed an earned run in five of seven starts this season, allowing ER at USC and Bama. The junior has allowed 15 walks with 29 strikeouts and holds opponents to a .227 batting average.
SATURDAY 4:00 PM AU - Keegan Thompson, Fr., RHP OLE MISS - Christian Trent, So., LHP NOTING TRENT: Trent makes his eighth start of the season when he takes the mound against Auburn Saturday. The LHP has allowed only four walks through 43.1.0 innings of work and seven starts this season. Trent is 3-0 on the season with wins against Stetson, Georgia State and Missouri in his seven starts. The sophomore holds a .209 batting average against and his 39 strikeouts is ninth in the SEC.
SUNDAY, 1:30 PM (CSS) AU - Michael O'Neal, Sr., LHP OLE MISS - Sam Smith, Jr., RHP NOTING SMITH: Smith continues to anchor the final spot in the weekend rotation for the Rebels in his junior season. The right-hander has allowed 13 runs in seven starts while working 42.0 innings in those outings. Smith has only taken four losses in his last 26 starts for the Rebels across the last three seasons. The RHP has five straight quality starts including a pair of wins, two losses and no decision. At Auburn in 2013, Smith worked 5.0 IP, allowing one run on six hits with two walks and 5 strikeouts.
A LOOK AT AUBURN The Auburn Tigers enter the weekend with an overall record of 19-11 and 5-4 in the SEC after a series loss to Missouri last weekend and a midweek loss to Samford on Tuesday night. Auburn bats at a .299 clip, identical to the Rebels, with 11 home runs and 135 RBI in 30 games. Damek Tomshca leads the Tigers in batting at a .393 clip with five home runs, 21 RBI and 23 runs. As a staff, AU holds a 2.78 ERA with 80 walks, 199 strikeouts and .233 opponent batting average. Keegan Thompson is 5-0 on the year with a 1.03 ERA, 12 walks, 42 strikeouts in 52.1 innings. Thomson also has a pair of complete games with a shutout and .142 opponent batting average.
REBELS vs. AUBURN The Rebels and Tigers have faced each other 157 times with the Tigers holding a slim 80-77 advantage in the all-timer series. Auburn moved in front two years ago with a series win in Oxford. The two teams met for the first time in the 1938 season with the teams splitting a pair of games. Ole Miss is 21-19 all-time against the Tigers under the direction of head coach Mike Bianco. The Rebels have won six series agains the Tigers in the Bianco era, including a pair of sweeps.
THROUGH 30 GAMES IN 2013 Through 30 games a year ago, the Rebels had posted a 23-7 record and were coming off a series opening loss against Vanderbilt. Ole Miss was hitting at a .283 clip with 10 home runs and 157 RBI, while going 31-of-49 in steal attempts. The Rebel pitching staff was holding to a 2.74 ERA and a .238 opponent's batting average. Pitchers had allowed 102 walks with 230 strikeouts in 269.0 innings.
MULTIPLE-HIT, MULTIPLE-RBI GAMES Will Allen and Auston Bousfield have paced the Rebel offense through the season, leading the squad in both multiple-hit games and multiple-RBI games. Both players have posted multiple-hit games in the double digits with 13 each. Allen has tallied seven multiple-RBI games and Bousfield has added five multiple-RBI games. All told, the Rebels have four players in double-digits when it comes to multiple-hit games as Anderson (12) and Orvis (10) round out the offensive leaders.
HIT STREAKS SNAPPED, LOOKING TO START ANEW Four players hold hit streaks heading into the weekend, all of them having hit safely in three or moreconsecutive games: Will Allen (4), Austin Anderson (4), Sikes Orvis (4) and J.B Woodman (3).
The Rebels had several hit streaks snapped on March 25 against Southern Miss with three that had reached into the double digits. Austin Bousfield saw a 13 game hit-streak snapped, while Austin Anderson had a 12 game hit streak snapped and Will Allen had his 11 game hit streak snapped.
FINDING A WAY ON BASE Several of those Rebels also saw a streak of reaching base snapped against the Golden Eagles. Austin Anderson had reached in 24 consecutive games, while Auston Bousfield had reached in 20 straight games. Will Allen also saw his 13-game streak of reaching base snapped.
Braxton Lee (11) holds the longest streak of reaching base for the Rebs heading into the weekend series against the Auburn Tigers. Will Allen, Austin Anderson, Sike Orvis and J.B. Woodman hold the other notable streaks of reaching base safely with four consecutive games each - coinciding with hit streaks for all three players.
REBELS BEST WHEN SCORING EARLY Ole Miss has been best when scoring early this season, posting a 16-4 record when scoring first and an 11-3 mark when scoring in the first inning. The Rebels have also been proficient at the plate while starting pitching holds opponents down. Ole Miss is outscoring opponents 62-to-24 through the first three innings. The Rebels have scored an impressive 33 runs in the first inning and 24 in the third.
SECOND TIME THROUGH THE LINEUP FEATURES EXPLOSIVE INNINGS Ole Miss has been even more efficient the second time through the lineup this season. In the middle innings of games, the Rebels have outscored opponents at a rate of 58-to-34 that includes explosions of 24 runs in the fifth inning and 18 runs in the fourth and sixth innings through 30 games this season.
REBEL PITCHERS LIMIT OPPORTUNITIES Ole Miss' pitching staff turned in a solid opening weekend, holding the Stetson Hatters to three runs on the weekend series and limiting offensive opportunities for the Hatters. Rebel pitchers allowed only 14 hits on the weekend and posted the first shutout of the season on opening day with a 7-0 victory. The Rebel pitching staff also struck out 24 batters through the three-game series with only seven walks.
Through seven weeks of play, the Rebels have allowed 85 runs (three runs a game) in 273.0 innings of work. In that time, the Rebels have posted three shutouts and six games with only one run allowed.
SOLID BULLPEN WORK LEADS TO SUCCESS Ole Miss' bullpen has been incredibly efficient through the first six weeks of the season, continuing to hold teams in check down the stretch. Through 106.0 innings of relief work this season, the Rebel bullpen holds a 2.04 ERA as those pitchers have combined to allow only 24 earned runs in that time. The staff has kept runs from scoring, inheriting 62 runners and allowing only 11 to score this year.
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