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No. 10 Diamond Rebs look for revenge against Southern Miss


Coming off a huge series win over top-ranked Florida, No. 10 Ole Miss (20-8, 5-4 SEC) will head to Trustmark Park in Pearl in hopes of getting revenge against in-state foe Southern Miss (16-12, 3-3 C-USA) tonight at 6:30 p.m.

The Golden Eagles dominated the Rebels two weeks ago in Oxford in a 10-0 shutout, so the Rebels know they have to put last weekend behind them and move forward.

“You’ve got to move on,” junior left fielder Tanner Mathis said. “It’s only two wins. It’s not like we get four or five wins for beating Florida. It is good to get two. We’re ready to move on and play Southern Miss.”

While it is obvious Ole Miss is heading into tonight’s matchup with confidence, the Golden Eagles are coming off a series loss at No. 11 Rice.

“Every game is a chance to get better,” Mathis said. “Every game is a chance to play your best baseball. It’s just another game.”

As a team, Ole Miss has a better batting average (.311) than Southern Miss, who bats at a clip of .287. The Rebels are led at the plate by junior second baseball Alex Yarbrough, who is hitting .426 with 33 RBI and three home runs, while Golden Eagles’ outfielder Mason Robbins leads them in hitting with a .358 batting average including 19 RBI and two home runs.

Freshman right-hander Sam Smith will get the start for Ole Miss tonight. Smith is 1-2 in five starts this season with a 4.32 earned run average in 25.0 innings of work. In the first game against Southern Miss, Smith suffered the loss, giving up four runs — one earned — on eight hits while recording four strikeouts in 4.0 innings of work. 

Sophomore right-hander Boomer Scarborough, who has started all six games he’s appeared in, will oppose Smith tonight. Scarborough is 1-0 on the year with a 2.54 earned run average. He is making his fourth career start against the Rebels. In the shutout earlier this season, he went 4.2 innings and gave up just two hits and four walks.

Huber putting struggles behind him

After struggling in outings versus Auburn and Alabama in recent weeks, junior closer Brett Huber came up huge in the Rebels’ wins over the Gators this past weekend.

Huber came in to close the game in the ninth inning Friday night to record his sixth save of the season and the 22nd of his career. On Sunday, Huber came into a tied game in the eighth inning and threw back-to-back hitless innings to give Ole Miss a chance in the bottom of the ninth.

“It was a fun weekend,” Huber said. “It’s a good weekend against a good team like (Florida) to get back in the rhythm of things. I never really lost my confidence or anything like that. I’m just glad the team won.”

Huber admitted it is frustrating when things don’t go like he hopes, but he has a way of putting those times behind him.

“Obviously, you’re going to be upset,” he said. “But the great thing about baseball is that you get to wake up and play the next day. You’ve just got to be able to flush it. That’s the main thing. You can either soak it in and let it affect you or just know that you’re a good baseball player and do what you always do.”

Wahl honored

Sophomore right-hander Bobby Wahl was named the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Week by the league offices on Monday for his dominating performance over the weekend.

“It’s a huge honor to be named that, with all the great pitchers and talent there is in the SEC,” Wahl said. “For them to notice how well things have been going, it’s really a big honor. It’s awesome.”

Wahl pitched 8.0 innings of shutout baseball against one of the nation’s most powerful offenses on Friday night, giving up just two hits and two walks while recording strikeouts. In Sunday’s game, Wahl pinch ran and scored the game-winning run.

SEC Roundup

Ole Miss moved up considerably in each major baseball poll this week. The highest the Rebels are now ranked is No. 10 in the Baseball America poll. In the USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll, Ole Miss moved up to No. 15 while still No. 16 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll. The lowest Ole Miss is ranked is No. 21 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, where it moved up from No. 27.

Auburn took two of three from Mississippi State over the weekend, its third-straight series win against an SEC West team to start league play, and moved into a tie with LSU for first place in the division. Auburn is now ranked in two polls as high as No. 23 in the Baseball America Poll.

Arkansas, ranked as high as No. 3 before getting swept at LSU this past weekend, is now No. 9 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll. LSU got a nice boost and is now ranked as high as No. 7 in the Collegiate Baseball poll.

Despite the series loss to Ole Miss, Florida remains the No. 1 team in every poll except the Collegiate Baseball poll, which has Kentucky, who will host the Rebels this weekend, as the nation’s top team after the Wildcats won two of three on the road at Georgia. 

South Carolina won the series on the road at Vanderbilt and moved up to No. 8 in the NCBWA poll while Tennessee swept Alabama at home.