The Rebels have had a successful season in the midweek and need to continue that trend in an attempt to host a regional for a fourth consecutive season. The Tigers also have a lot to gain as they are squarely on the NCAA bubble with a limited amount of games remaining. Memphis is attempting to make a regional appearance for the first time in 13 years.
History bodes well for Ole Miss considering they lead the overall series 87-52-1 and have defeated Memphis seven consecutive times including a 12-9 victory in the Tigers' season opener. The Rebels are 9-2 this season during the midweek.
Ole Miss hurler Brett Bukvich (5-2, 3.27) will get the start opposite left-hander Brennon Martin of Memphis (1-0, 5.23).
Bukvich has strung together solid innings since losing his Sunday rotation spot including an extended relief effort against Mississippi State last Friday. The left-hander just wants to contribute as crunch time nears.
"It's going to be fun pitching at AutoZone again," Bukvich said. "It seems like every game I am gaining more and more confidence. That will help me contribute more to this team at the end when we need extra pitchers during regionals and SEC Tournament play."
Last Tuesday against Murray State, starter Scott Bittle was limited to a strict pitch count, but Bukvich has the green light against the Tigers. Depending on Bukvich's effectiveness, Justin Cryer and Craig Rodriguez are the two most likely candidates to see work.
"We would like to pitch other pitchers, but there is no pitch count," head coach Mike Bianco said. "We need him (Bukvich) for a lot of reasons. Even if the other guys continue to pitch well. You need a fourth starter in the regionals if you fall into the loser's bracket. And anyone that can start can relieve usually."
Memphis is 3-0 in 2007 at AutoZone Park, but Ole Miss has taken all games at the AAA Park since a 3-1 Tiger win in 2001, which was Bianco's first season. Memphis is 6-7 against ranked teams this season.
The Rebels finish off a four-game Tennessee swing this weekend in Knoxville with three games against the Volunteers.
Ole Miss Category Memphis
.317 AVG. .296
295 Runs 291
521 Hits 437
74 2B 84
12 3B 6
39 HR 40
266 RBI 269
.448 SLG% .442
232 SO 250
58-76 SB-ATT 47-60
.978 FLD% .960
3.26 ERA 5.32
3 CG 0
11 SV 11
152 ER 218
403 SO 261
29 HRA 33
.230 OPP. BA .284
38 WP 32
Ole Miss meets Memphis for final midweek
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