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No. 17 Diamond Rebels try to turn the tide at Alabama this weekend

Alex Edwards/The Daily Mississippian


Trying to snap a three-game losing streak, the No. 17 Ole Miss Diamond Rebels (15-6, 1- 2 SEC) will travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide (8-13, 0-3 SEC) for their first Southeastern Conference road series of the season.

On paper, Ole Miss is head and shoulders above Alabama, but on the field, that is certainly not the case, especially given the 1-3 record going back to the start of the Auburn series this past weekend.

Both the Rebels and the Crimson Tide are struggling as of late, and both teams suffered a loss in their first SEC series before getting shut out in a midweek game against an in-state opponent.

Alabama has dropped four straight contests, including a sweep at the hands of Arkansas and a 9-0 loss to Troy on Tuesday, while Ole Miss lost two out of three against Auburn this past weekend before getting shut out 10-0 in a midweek contest against Southern Miss on Tuesday night.

Some of the Crimson Tide’s struggles have come from the mound. Alabama is 11th in the conference with a team earned run average of 4.73. The Rebels, on the other hand, boast a 2.94 earned run average, good for sixth in the conference.

Behind the pitcher, both teams have been inconsistent fielding the ball this season and rank in the bottom half of the conference. Ole Miss has recorded 25 errors while Alabama has recorded 30.

On Friday night, sophomore right-hander Bobby Wahl (4-0) will oppose junior right-hander Charley Sullivan (2-2), who has a 3.07 earned run average in 29.1 innings pitched this season.

Senior righty R.J. Hively (3-1) will battle against freshman left-hander Justin Kamplain (1-1) in Saturday’s contest. Kamplain has a 2.53 earned run average in 28.2 innings of work.

In the series finale, sophomore right-hander Mike Mayers (2-2) looks to put together another dominant performance after going 8.2 innings last Sunday, giving up three runs on six in the 3-2 loss. His counterpart will be freshman left-hander Jon Keller, who is making his second start of the year. Keller has recorded 16.0 innings this season with an earned run average of 3.38. 

At the plate, Ole Miss holds a decisive advantage over Alabama despite the struggles during the three-game losing streak. The Rebels have averaged 7.3 runs per game and hit .308 as a team, compared to 4.6 runs per game and a .242 batting average for Alabama, which is last in the conference.

Junior second baseman Alex Yarbrough, who leads the Rebels offensively with a .410 average and 25 RBI, is nursing a left elbow injury, but he is expected to play this weekend. Freshman outfielder Senquez Golson is not on the travel roster this weekend, Chase Parham from RebelGrove.com reported yesterday. For the Crimson Tide, freshman catcher Ben Moore leads the team with a .315 batting average with nine RBI. 

The series opener tonight is scheduled to begin at 6:35 p.m. Saturday’s first pitch is set for 2:05 p.m. and Sunday’s contest will start at 1:05 p.m.