Two-Game Road Set

Alex Yarbrough knows the games this week between Ole Miss and Louisville aren't just usual midweek, non-conference contests. They're much more than that.

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"We're going to play two games against a Top 20 team in Louisville," said the Rebel junior second baseman. "They're going to be really talented. It's great to get to play these two games. It's spring break, and all we focus on is baseball. Louisville's going to be a great team. It's going to be good to have a road test right before SEC play starts."

The Rebels host Auburn for three games this weekend.

The Cardinals, coached by former Ole Miss assistant Dan McDonnell, enter the midweek series with an overall record of 10-5 and are ranked No. 22 nationally by Collegiate Baseball. Louisville is coming off a 1-2 performance at the DRASH Alabama Challenge, defeating Oral Roberts before falling to both Alabama and East Carolina.

The Cardinals are led by Nick Ratajczak at the plate with a .362 average, while Stewart Ijames is right behind him with a .352 average and a team-leading five home runs and 13 RBI.

Louisville's Tuesday starter Jared Ruxer has an overall record of 1-0 and has made one start in three appearances with a 6.41 ERA. He has struck out five and walked five, picking up a win over Indiana on March 6. Wednesday starter Nick Burdi has a 1-1 record with a 4.50 ERA to go along with eight strikeouts and five walks. He took the win over Eastern Kentucky before suffering a loss to Eastern Illinois.

Alex Yarbrough
Bruce Newman

All four scheduled starters for the two games are right-handed freshmen. Ole Miss is set to send Sam Smith and Josh Laxer against the Cards, today and Wednesday respectively.

Smith is 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA, making four appearances and three starts with 14 innings pitched. Laxer is 2-0 with a 2.16 ERA with three appearances and one start in 8.1 innings pitched.

Matt Snyder was named SEC Player of the Week after he hit .692 for the week, which included the Tennessee-Martin game, and an even more impressive .727 against Houston in the weekend series. He hit his first home run of the season in the first inning against the Skyhawks on Tuesday, a three-run shot that jump started a 20-4 victory.

Snyder posted three multiple-hit games and three multiple-RBI games on the week, including a 4-for-4 performance with two runs scored and two RBI in the Saturday win against Houston.

Yarbrough said the Rebels are feeling good about themselves as they meet the Cardinals.

"Our confidence is the highest it's been so far," he said. "We played errorless ball all weekend. All three starters did really well, and I don't think you could ask much more from the bullpen."

The Rebels outhit the Cougars 40-17 in three games. Yarbrough said at the plate, the Rebels were at their best.

"I don't know if you can ever expect a weekend like this offensively," he said. "I'm really proud of the offense. Every day from one through nine we were really locked in. We kept it up all nine innings each game."

Today's game is at 5 p.m. CT, while Wednesday's contest begins at 11 a.m. CT.

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