Hosting Mizzou

The last time Ole Miss and Missouri met in baseball was six seasons ago in Coral Gables, Fla. The Rebels won 9-6 in a NCAA Regional game.

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Logan Power launched a late grand slam giving the Rebels the three-run lead. The Tigers were then shut down with three strikeouts in the ninth inning by Scott Bittle.

Back then, the Tigers and Rebels were in different conferences. Now that the Tigers have pledged their allegiance to the Southeastern Conference and left the Big 12 behind, the three games this weekend in Oxford will be SEC affairs.

Missouri is 11-9 and coming off a 1-2 SEC opening weekend against Tennessee in Columbia, Mo. The Rebels are also 1-2, having lost the series at No. 1 ranked South Carolina.

But they were so close to winning it. After claiming the opener 6-4, Ole Miss was two outs and two strikes two times away from winning game two but lost 5-4 in 10 innings. Game three was close and competitive but also went to the Gamecocks 3-1.

Offensively Speaking

Ole Miss is in the top half of the SEC offensively. The Rebels are third in the SEC in offense, hitting at a .313 clip with the seventh-ranked scoring offense in the league.

Ole Miss assistant coach Cliff Godwin said the Rebels were good enough to win the series in Columbia, S.C.

"I thought our guys competed their butts off against the No. 1 pitching staff in the country," Godwin said. "It was obviously a tough loss in that first game (Saturday). But I thought we competed in the second game (Saturday). We just didn't get the big hit when we needed it."

A couple of Rebels are among those in the league with superlatives so far.

Will Allen continues to rank in the top 10 in RBI (2nd), hits (3rd), doubles (1st) and home runs (5th).

Auston Bousfield ranks in the top 10 in average (9th), slug percent (6th), hits (2nd) and on base (10th).

Godwin said Bousfield is in his third season with the program, and it shows.

"He's a junior and he's finally physically matured," Godwin said. "He's had a fundamentally sound swing since he's been here. Obviously we tweak some things here and there. But (this year) it's been more about approach for him. Like last weekend, by (the second and third games) they said ‘We're not throwing anything across the plate to this guy. We're going to make somebody else beat us.' And that's because he's a great hitter."

Defensively, Bousfield is also a veteran of major college wars.

"He's played center field basically every day since the day he set foot on campus," Godwin said. "So he's definitely comfortable playing center field in the SEC."

The Sum of All Parts

Defensively and on the mound, the Rebels are in good standing. Ole Miss' defense ranks among the league leaders, coming in third with a .980 fielding percentage and 17 errors.

Ole Miss ranks sixth in the SEC as a staff with a 2.08 ERA through five weeks of play, allowing 47 earned runs.

Christian Trent
Bruce Newman

The Rebel bullpen has allowed only 16 earned runs in 76.0 innings of work for a 1.89 earned run average.

On The Mizzou Mound

Missouri is 8-3 over its last 11 games and a big reason has been the performance of the Tiger pitchers. Mizzou has a staff ERA of 2.27 and a WHIP of 1.14. In that span, the Tiger pitchers have struck out 76 with 17 walks and own a 1.55 walks per nine inning average. In the last 11 games, the Tiger pitchers have allowed just 19 extra-base hits and limited batters to a .244 batting average.

Rebel Rotation

Notes from Ole Miss on the starters -

Junior right-hander Chris Ellis:

Ellis has settled in as the anchor for the Rebels' weekend, making his sixth start of the 2014 season.

The RHP has three quality starts on the year, including two shutouts and a complete-game vs. GSU.

Ellis did not allow an earned run through the first four starts until opening SEC play at No. 1 USC.

The junior has 13 walks and 21 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .196 batting average.

Ellis has allowed only three earned runs in his 33.0 innings of work and five starts.

Sophomore left-hander Christian Trent:

Trent makes his sixth Saturday start of the season when he takes the mound vs. MU this weekend.

The LHP has allowed only two walks through 31.0 innings of work and five starts in the 2014 season.

Trent is 2-0 on the season with wins against Stetson and Georgia State and three quality starts.

The sophomore holds a .212 batting average against and his 30 strikeouts is seventh in the SEC.

Junior right-hander Sam Smith:

Smith continues to anchor the final spot in the weekend rotation for the Rebels in his junior season.

The right-hander has allowed seven runs in five starts while working 29.1 innings in those outings.

Smith has only taken two losses in his last 21 starts for the Rebels across the last two seasons.

The RHP has quality starts in last three outings against UCF, UALR and #1 USC, earning the win twice.

More Mizzou

The Tigers hit at a .266 clip with four home runs and 81 RBI through 20 games this season.

Kendall Keaton leads the Tigers with a .351 average and is 6-for-8 on steal attempts this season.

The Tigers pitching staff holds a 3.12 ERA with 36 walks and 138 strikeouts in 178.2 innings.

Opponents are hitting at a .268 clip against Mizzou with four home runs and 73 runs scored.

Junior RHP Brett Graves holds a 1.30 ERA with a 3-1 record in five starts with five walks and 27 strikeouts. He's the Friday starter.

Starting Saturday will be junior right-hander John Miles (5.76 ERA, 2-1). The Sunday starter is senior RHP Eric Anderson (2.77, 0-2).

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