Dawgs In Town

Classes are over. Exams are done. Now it's all baseball all the time.

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The Ole Miss Rebels host Georgia this weekend on their way to several potential things of note that could happen: winning the SEC West, hosting a NCAA Regional, being named a national top eight seed.

What will it take? Win games.

Weather-permitting, the Rebels' next chances are tonight at 6:30, tomorrow at 4 p.m., and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday against the SEC East's Bulldogs.

Ole Miss is coming off its most lop-sided loss of the season by far, an 11-1 blowout by Arkansas in Oxford last Sunday afternoon. The Rebels had won the prior two games to take the series.

Ole Miss is now 35-14 overall and 15-9 in the Southeastern Conference, in sole possession of second place behind Florida. The Rebels lead the SEC West alone heading into the weekend by a game.

The Gators are trying to run away with the league title, standing 19-6 in conference play after a 1-0 win against Vanderbilt last night in Gainesville. Florida is now 34-16 overall and will be a high national seed if they stay on course as they are now.

Georgia is coming off a two of three series win against South Carolina in Athens. The Bulldogs upset the Gamecocks to move to 24-23-1 (there is that travel curfew tie at LSU earlier), and 9-15-1 in the SEC.

Dawg Bites

As a team, the Bulldogs bat at a .257 clip with 12 home runs, 191 RBI and 233 runs scored. Hunter Cole leads the offense with a .326 average while Nelson Ward is tops in RBI with 31 this year.

As a staff, Georgia holds a 4.12 ERA with 200 walks allowed and 299 strikeouts through 48 games. Ryan Lawlor, the projected start tonight, holds a 4-4 record with a 3.31 ERA with 23 walks and 52 strikeouts this season. The sophomore left-hander has turned in three complete games this season, all coming in the last four weekends.

Freshman RHP Robert Tyler (4-4, 2.92 ERA) have anchored the SEC rotation this season. The last two Sundays, sophomore David Sosebee (1-3, 3.30 ERA) has rounded out the rotation. Georgia's probable rotation for the Ole Miss series will be Lawlor, Tyler and Sosebee.

Junior Jared Cheek leads the team in decisions at 5-4 with a 4.10 ERA and 2 saves in 18 appearances covering a span of 37.1 IP. Junior Heath Holder has now pitched 6.2 scoreless innings in five appearances this year.

Last weekend in Athens, Georgia claimed its first SEC series over a top 10 ranked team since 2011. The Bulldogs captured two of three from No. 7 South Carolina. It was Georgia's first series win over the Gamecocks since 2008. The Bulldogs, under the direction of first-year head coach Scott Stricklin, are in 6th place in the SEC Eastern Division and 12th overall.

Quoting the Rebels

Sikes Orvis on last Sunday's game: "We didn't play very well Sunday, and if you don't play well in this league you're going to lose. We came out and did the job in the first two games. We're feeling really confident rolling into the last two weekends knowing what's ahead of us and what we're capable of doing."

Errol Robinson
File Photo

Orvis on his season: "Obviously being a middle of the lineup guy I'm going to see a lot more off-speed in fastball counts. I've done a good job of staying ready, sticking with my approach even if I'm not having success with it, getting ready for that good pitch to hit, getting a good swing off and trying to drive something."

Orvis on the Georgia series: "I know they're getting hot right now. I know they took two out of three last weekend. I know they have a big Saturday arm, a big right-handed freshman. Anybody can beat anybody in this league. We've got to come out ready to play, bring our best and set up the seniors in a good way for senior weekend."

Sam Smith on his success but his last two Sundays when he's gone three innings or less: "It just shows that in this league you have to be at your best to have success and win. Me and Coach (Carl) Lafferty went over some stuff (this week). For me to be at my best I have to be able to locate my fastball in and away whenever I want to. Up until these last few starts, I feel like I've done that pretty well. I think that's the main thing that I've seen and that the coaches have noticed that's held me back a little bit."

Errol Robinson on playing more baseball games as a college freshman than in past seasons: "I'm just staying focused. It's a long season and I'm not used to playing this many games. But I'm not worried about it. I'm just worried about helping this team and staying focused and continuing the grind."

Robinson on what the next two or three weeks can hold for this team: "This is a marathon. We're trying to finish strong. We can taste it, taste the hard work we've put in. It's right here in front of us. We're just going to get it now."

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco on the bottom part of his team's order contributing so much to the offense this season: "We've got five or six guys, like every team's lineup, that gets all the publicity and have the big numbers. But if you look at everybody's bottom three – seven, eight, nine - while ours has fluctuated a little bit, Preston (Overbey), Errol (Robinson), Will (Jamison), (J.B.) Woodman, and some others who have been in there, that's not bad. When you look at some of the other SEC lineups down there, they're numbers are not like us. I don't know if those guys have gotten enough credit for how good the offense has been. It's been about as good a bottom third as we've ever had. They've all played well, gotten big hits, their numbers aren't quite what the middle guys are. But whose are?"

Bianco on exams being over and the team focusing only on baseball: "It's neat. Kind of gives it that professional baseball feel. It even helps their bodies. Rest-wise, it can really help them get rejuvenated. Certainly it's the most fun part of the season, I think, because you're almost there (to postseason). There's even more pep in their steps."

The injury report appears to be good for the Rebels. The main one was Dalton Dulin with an ankle injury for the past two weeks. But it appears he's ready to go in whatever role needed for the weekend against Georgia.

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