Thomas Dillard (Josh McCoy)

Five things to watch as Ole Miss begins the first of two midweek games

The Rebels kick off a five-game week tonight, with the first of two against the Warhawks. Here are five things to look forward to.

1. Greer Holston - The freshman righty was good last week in the Governor's Cup against Mississippi State. He made a mistake with a fastball over the plate to Brent Rooker that cost him three runs on one swing, but pitched well enough to give the team a chance to win the game. He's settled into the midweek role nicely, and for the most part has done a good job of helping preserve the bullpen for the weekend. 

2. RPI Watch: UL Monroe's RPI sits at 235, meaning Ole Miss really would do well not to play with fire here. Two games against the Warhawks isn't exactly helpful either, seeing that the last time Ole Miss had a two-game midweek set it produced its lone 200+ RPI loss to Georgia State. ULM has one top 50 RPI win, and that came against Dallas Baptist to open the season. The Warhawks are 12-32. They average 3.5 runs per game and surrender 7.2. It would be less than ideal to begin a five-game week with an RPI killing loss.

3. How does Mike Bianco manage the pen? - Ole Miss is hitting the home stretch of the season, and a five-game week with three at Florida on the back end will be tough. Keep an eye on who Bianco uses out of the bullpen the next two days and who he attempts to rest for the weekend. This will depend on a number of things, including whether or not either game is close. Guys like Andy Pagnozzi, Connor Green and Jason Barber could see significant action behind Holston and Wednesday starter Sean Johnson. A rested bullpen would be a nice luxury to carry into Gainesville this weekend.

4. Thomas Dillard - The freshman hit a home run in the series finale at Arkansas, and has struggled at times at the plate this year. He's hit predominantly from the right side of the plate, but switched over to the left side in the finale when facing lefties at times too. If he can begin to pick up the pace at the plate, that will significantly help on the bottom of the Rebels' order. Cooper Johnson has started to hit a little bit, and Dillard getting on track would be a nice boost heading into postseason play.

5. Home Runs- Ole Miss hit six home runs in three games in Fayetteville, which was a bit uncharacteristic compared to this team's offensive numbers on the season. This lineup has shown the ability to have random outbursts of power, especially through the first five hitters in the order. The Rebels' home run total on the year is 37, which sits right in the middle of the pack in the SEC. But if the team continues to swing the bat better, the long ball could be a more common avenue for run production down the stretch. 


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