On to U of K

Ole Miss has gotten more baseball publicity the past five days than in probably three years. And it hasn't played a game.

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Some of it was from defeating top-ranked Florida two out of three games. The Rebels moved up to No. 10 in the Baseball America poll.

Some of it was also from having a game rained out. Arguably never before has a college baseball team gotten so much mileage from a rainout as the Rebels – and also Southern Mississippi – from the entertainment they provided the crowd and themselves in Pearl Tuesday night, and the rest of the internet world the couple of days that followed.

But now, the Rebels haven't played in a competitive situation since that most unusual scoring play featuring such performers as pinch hitter Senquez Golson, pinch runner Bobby Wahl, and seven infielders for Florida, which ultimately made an error to allow Ole Miss to win 7-6 on Sunday.

Now the rested Rebels have taken their show on the road to Lexington to face the surprise team of the Southeastern Conference this season. The Wildcats lead the league at 7-2 and are a fairly amazing 28-2 overall.

How will the Rebels react to their big series win last weekend? Will Kentucky finally become human, or will "baseball" finally even things out a bit and UK stumble a couple of times?

Would it have been better for the Rebels to have played USM no matter the outcome? Did some more "arms" need a few innings, like some potential middle-relievers that might have gotten some playing time? Had USM won would it have put the Rebels in a worse frame of mind than they are in now, since the series win against the Gators is the latest memory they have?

R.J. Hively
Bruce Newman

So many questions. Now it's time to find out. Or at least later today when the series begins at 5:30 p.m. CDT.

Ole Miss swept UK in Oxford last season. Both teams are better this season. Ole Miss is now 20-8 overall and 5-4 in SEC play.

The Wildcats are coming off a 19-6 midweek win against Dayton. Kentucky also claimed the series at Georgia last weekend, at Tennessee the weekend before that, and swept South Carolina at home to open SEC play.

The Wildcats have a total of nine of their 10 everyday players with an average above .300, with sophomore outfielder Lucas Witt leading the club with a .365 mark, along with nine RBI and five steals. Freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino - the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week - has hit .363 with 11 doubles, one triple, five homers and 26 RBI, stealing seven bases in seven attempts. Freshman two-way star A.J. Reed has hit .346 with seven doubles, two homers and 30 RBI.

UK will send its regular weekend rotation of junior left-hander Taylor Rogers (4-1, 4.65 ERA) to the mound on Friday, facing off with Ole Miss sophomore right-hander and current SEC Pitcher of the Year front-runner Bobby Wahl (5-0, 1.91 ERA). Wahl enters the series as the reigning national and SEC pitcher of the week.

On Saturday, Wildcat junior lefty Jerad Grundy (3-0, 3.41 ERA) will make the start against Ole Miss senior right-hander R.J. Hively (3-1, 1.71 ERA). On Sunday, Kentucky sophomore southpaw Corey Littrell (4-0, 1.88 ERA) will start against Ole Miss sophomore right-hander Mike Mayers (2-2, 4.05 ERA).

Fans of Ole Miss baseball who can't make it to the games can catch all the action live on the subscription based RebelVision or listen to the games online. Both features can be found at www.OleMissSports.com on any game not carried live on television as a part of the Southeastern Conference's 2012 TV package. In addition to the RebelVision option for video and audio, fans can also download the Ole Miss App for their phone and receive live stats and streaming audio.

(UM and UK athletics media relations contributed to this story)

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