Following a conference series loss in Columbia, Missouri, last weekend, Ole Miss baseball will attempt to get back on track tomorrow tonight as the team hits the road to take on the Memphis Tigers at AutoZone Park.
Ole Miss struggled to find consistent offense last weekend against Missouri but is undefeated in midweek action so far this season. Memphis, on the other hand, has a record of 1-5 in midweek games and an overall record of 11-11 on the season.
The Rebels and Tigers met in a Wednesday game last season at Swayze Field, a game the Rebels won 12-0. The Rebels racked up 13 hits in the game and credited Houston Roth with the win.
Ole Miss will give the ball to Jordan Fowler for tonight’s start on the mound. Fowler pitched 7.0 innings of one-run ball last Tuesday against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and gained his first win on the year. Fowler’s ERA now sits at 5.17 after a shaky start to the season.
Memphis has started a variety of arms in midweek games this season, with last week’s being the right-handed Bailey Wimberley. The Tigers struggled to find a consistent effort on the mound last Tuesday as they fell 7-6 to Southeast Missouri after holding an early lead.
A poor pitching effort from Memphis could help the inconsistent Rebel bats that have plagued Ole Miss in recent games. In Friday’s game against Missouri, the Rebels had the bases loaded with one out before shortstop Grae Kessinger grounded into a double play to end the frame. Ole Miss also had an opportunity to strike early in the game with runners on base in the first inning but failed to push any runs across.
With the Rebels’ questionable pitching rotation appearing to be improving, the Ole Miss offense, projected to be one of the best in the SEC, has been the real source of issues in recent weeks. If Ole Miss hopes to reverse its conference woes and continue its midweek success, the offense has to come through with timely hits with runners in scoring position.
Memphis has had its share of offensive success this season, with three hitters batting over .300 this season. One of these men, catcher Hunter Goodman, has driven home 21 runs. The Tigers have not hit a ton out of the park, however, as the team has combined for just 11 home runs through 22 games. This could be good news for Jordan Fowler as he continues to try and establish a rhythm on the mound.
While Ole Miss may appear on paper to be the better team in tonight’s game, the Rebels haven’t always had success against the Tigers. In 2017, Ole Miss dropped two midweek games against Memphis in what turned out to be a disappointing season. Ole Miss finished the 2017 season at 32-25 and failed to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011.
After tonight’s game, the Rebels will prepare to continue SEC play when they travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to take on the Razorbacks this weekend. The Rebels will need consistency both on the mound and at the plate if they hope to steal a series from the nationally ranked Hogs. A win tonight could help give them momentum heading into this vital conference slate.