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Hotty Toddy, Gosh Almighty: An inside look of Ole Miss

Although the Rebels have had their struggles this year, its batting lineup is one of the nation’s best and that should worry LSU.

Syndication: The Tennessean Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK


  • Friday, April 21 @ 6:30 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)
  • Saturday, April 22 @ 2 p.m. CT (ESPN2)
  • Sunday, April 23 @ 1:30 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)


  • Oxford-University Stadium, Swayze Field in Oxford, Miss. (10,715)


  • LSU – No. 1 in all college baseball polls
  • Ole Miss – unranked



  • All three games will streamed on SEC Network +
  • Saturday’s game will also be televised on ESPN2


Game 1

LSU - Jr. RH Paul Skenes (6-1, 1.69 ERA, 53.1 IP, 9 BB, 104 K)

Ole Miss - So. LH Hunter Elliot (1-0, 3.60 ERA, 5.0 IP, 1 BB, 9 K)

Game 2

LSU - Jr. RH Ty Floyd (5-0, 3.92 ERA, 39.0 IP, 17 BB, 40 K)

Ole Miss - Jr. LH Xavier Rivas (5-2, 5.40 ERA, 45.0 IP, 24 BB, 51 K)

Game 3

LSU - Jr. RH Christian Little (2-1, 3.86 ERA, 23.1 IP, 13 BB, 32 SO)

Ole Miss- TBA

No.1 LSU will be in Oxford, Mississippi to take on the defending national champions Ole Miss in what should be an intriguing matchup.

Ole Miss comes into the series with a 21-16 overall record with an abysmal 3-12 conference record. Last weekend, the Rebels lost its series to their biggest rival, the struggling Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Although its record shows that Ole Miss is last in the SEC standings, the Rebels are still a highly talented team as they still have some of the members of last year’s national championship team.

Last season, with Ole Miss on the brink of missing out on postseason play, the Rebels shockingly swept then No.17 LSU. This series victory catapulted the Rebels into the tournament on the way to their first-ever national championship.

The same goes for this year as well. Is LSU the No.1 team in the country? Yes. Are the Tigers on upset alert? Yes. Both can be true.

Because LSU is dealing with injury issues with its bullpen and will also be without star infielder Gavin Dugas, the Tigers’ chances of getting upset only increase.

“The top of the Ole Miss lineup is as good as any in college baseball. It’s a complete team with a lot of experience from last year’s national championship,” said LSU head coach Jay Johnson. “We’re looking forward to the challenge this weekend. We’re playing the national champs on the road; we’re excited to play in a great environment and have the opportunity to get after those guys.”

Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco is in his 23rd season at the helm of the Rebels’ program. Bianco was the starting catcher at LSU under hall-of-fame coach Skip Bertman in 1988 and 1989, where he helped lead the Tigers to the 1989 College World Series. Bianco was also an assistant coach under Bertman on LSU’s 1993, 1996 and 1997 national championship teams.

Bianco’s son, Drew, played four seasons (2019-22) at LSU as an infielder/outfielder before he decided to finish his final year of eligibility at Houston this season.

How the Rebels fare on the mound

The Rebels’ pitching staff has not been good at all this year. Ole Miss as a staff has a 5.55 ERA, which is the 11th worst in the SEC. The Rebels have also given up an SEC-worst 61 home runs, which is something that will greatly benefit LSU.

The Rebs’ mound struggles have been attributed to injuries and the youth of the staff. Luckily for Ole Miss, left-hander Hunter Elliot is back from injury.

Xavier Rivas will be the starting pitcher in game one of the series. Rivas is 5-2 on the year with a 5.40 ERA, 39 hits, 24 walks and 51 strikeouts, which leads the team. He has a very good breaking ball, but when he doesn’t have a good feel for it, his lack of control will give him problems, leading him to give the batter a free pass to first base.

Elliot will start game two in his first start since opening day on February 17. On opening day Elliot went five innings and finished with three hits, two runs (both earned), one walk and nine strikeouts.

However, don’t expect Elliot to pitch for very long as Ole Miss may still try to nurse him because hasn’t pitched in over two months. If they do take him out, expect them to bring in Jack Dougherty.

Dougherty is 2-3 on the year with a 5.86 ERA, 48 hits, 12 walks and 46 strikeouts. As his numbers show, Dougherty has struggled on the mound. Moreover, opposing batters have batted .274 against Dougherty, which is awful. However, because of Dougherty’s endurance on the mound, it keeps Ole Miss from having to use their bullpen. However, that won’t happen if he gives up hit after hit.

The Rebels have not announced a starter for game three, but if I had to put money on it, it’s on JT Quinn. Quinn is 3-0 on the year with a 5.12 ERA, 32 hits, 21 walks and 39 strikeouts in 38.2 innings pitched.

Freshman Brayden Jones has been the best reliever for Ole Miss this season and has made 13 appearances. Jones has a 2.33 ERA with 22 hits, 12 walks and 19 strikeouts in 19.1 innings pitched. Jones has two saves on the year as well

Freshman Sam Tookoian is another freshman the Rebels rely on. Tookoian has a 5.32 ERA and has 15 hits, 19 walks and 32 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched.

Mitch Murrell, the senior right-hander, has the most appearances on the staff with 19. Murell has a 4.13 ERA and leads all relievers in strikeouts with 37. He can be streaky at times, but when he’s hot, he’s hot. However, when he’s cold, it’s an Alaskan winter cold. Murrell has allowed 26 hits in 28.1 innings pitched and opposing batters bat .232 against him.

Sophomore Mason Nichols is another reliever that Ole Miss likes to rely on despite him not being the same pitcher the year before. Nichols has a 5.40 ERA with 20 hits, nine walks and 24 strikeouts.

What the Rebels bring to the plate

The Rebels rank sixth in the SEC in team batting average (.297) and have launched 58 homers on the year, which is ninth in the SEC. The top of the lineup for Ole Miss is one of the nation’s deadliest.

All-American shortstop Jacob Gonzalez is by far the best shortstop in the country. Gonzalez, who is projected to be a top 10 pick in this year’s MLB draft, is having another phenomenal year as he is batting .338 at the plate with a team-high 15 doubles, seven homers and 37 RBIs. Gonzalez also leads his team in walks (30) and on-base percentage (.469).

Outfielder Kemp Alderman has been the Rebels’ most improved batter this year. Alderman leads the team in batting average (.356), home runs (15) and RBIs (51). Alderman’s 15 home runs are four more home runs than he had all of last year, where he hit 11 dingers in 2022.

Outfielder Ethan Groff, who transferred from Tulane during the summer, is an absolute stud as well. Groff has batted .329 in the batter’s box with 11 doubles, a triple, five home runs and 38 RBIs. Groff also leads the Rebels in stolen bases with 12.

Catcher Calvin Harris is tied with Alderman for the best batting average on the team with 12 doubles, a triple and six home runs, which is third on the team.

Although he has a .248 batting average, outfielder TJ McCants is another deadly slugger for the Rebels as he has three doubles, two triples and seven home runs. He is also second on the team with eight stolen bases on eight attempts.

Designated hitter Will Furniss, the son of legendary LSU baseball player Eddy Furniss, is another player to watch out for. He has a .265 batting average with three doubles, two home runs and 31 RBIs.