Ole Miss takes on struggling Georgia

Ole Miss (22-9, 5-4) took a series from struggling Auburn last weekend, and another dangerous underdog awaits the No. 10 Rebels as Georgia (10-18, 3-6) travels to Oxford for a three-game SEC set beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

The Bulldogs have lost five straight contests and have been swept the past two weekends, while regional rival and nationally ranked Clemson twice knocked off Georgia this past midweek.

Ole Miss and Georgia are tied 23-23 all-time, and the Rebels swept the Bulldogs last year in Athens. UGA last won a series at Oxford in 1989.

The entire nonconference portion of the schedule has been treacherous for the Bulldogs with Southern Cal and defending national champion Oregon State both sweeping Georgia in Athens, as well as Gardner-Webb taking two of three on the road.

"We have been playing pretty well and just need to get some breaks," Georgia coach Dave Perno said. "I feel bad for what we are doing during the out of conference (portion of the schedule) to our league. We just can't quite finish games right now, but we are playing hard. There is a lot of baseball left, and fortunately we've always been a second-half team."

The Bulldogs' late-game woes can be attributed to the struggles of All-America closer Josh Fields, who is well off the pace of his 15 saves from a year ago. Fields is 1-5 thus far and is currently stringing along a 5.91 ERA. He has two saves this season.

"Fields was out of whack mechanically at the start of the season," Perno said. "Lately, it has just been unfortunate. One time we are out of position and then the next time, we just don't make the play. But fortunately, there is a lot of season left."

Georgia is 4-6 in one-run games and has scored two runs or less on 12 occasions. The Bulldogs are 1-11 when that occurs. The lack of run support has handcuffed the pitching staff's solid 3.75 team ERA. The Georgia offense is averaging right at 3.4 runs per SEC outing.

Meanwhile, Ole Miss has taken six of its last seven outings and defeated Arkansas State 19-3 on Tuesday night. The Rebels secured a season high with 21 hits and are currently hitting .319 as a team. The Rebels are riding two straight series wins after taking two-of-three from Alabama and Auburn.

The offense has come around of late, but Ole Miss' starting pitching has held things in place all season. Will Kline and Lance Lynn are cemented into the Friday and Saturday starting slots respectively, but the Sunday job is not nailed down heading into the weekend.

Sophomore Brett Bukvich handled the position until last weekend when senior Craig Rodriguez allowed three runs in 3.2 innings in a loss at Auburn. Bukvich started Tuesday and earned the win over Arkansas State but did allow a three-run inning to the Indians.

The two of them are the logical candidates to fill the role, while right-hander Cody Satterwhite will see multiple innings in some regard over the course of the series. Freshman Nathan Baker was the preferred midweek starter until this past week, which could set the left-hander up for extended weekend innings.

The Rebels are currently tied with Mississippi State and sit two games behind Arkansas for the lead in the SEC West. MSU visits the Razorbacks this weekend.

The Ole Miss – Georgia series will be available on the entire Ole Miss radio network but will not be heard on Sirius Satellite Radio.

Georgia-Ole Miss Series Rotation

Friday at 6:30 p.m. Nathan Moreau (2-1, 4.19), So., LHP vs. Will Kline (4-1, 2.62), Jr., RHP

Saturday at 4 p.m. Stephen Dodson (1-4, 2.03), So., RHP vs. Lance Lynn (3-2, 2.50), So., RHP

Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Justin Earls (2-1, 3.03), Fr., LHP vs. TBA

OM Spirit Top Stories