Comparing Notes

Baseball hosts Austin Peay twice this week. The Rebels need wins but are also still getting things set up for Vanderbilt this weekend as SEC play begins.

The improvement is there for the 7-3 squad in basically all areas. Except for Sunday's 3-2 squeaker against Vermont, the games last week weren't even close. That included a midweek 11-5 win against Arkansas State and two other wins over Vermont by scores of 20-4 and 15-3.

Vermont lost three games at Vanderbilt the weekend before by scores of 7-2, 14-3, and 14-1. Catamounts head coach Bill Currier said this weekend's series between the Rebels and Commodores should be most interesting.

"They're very different teams," he said. "Vanderbilt doesn't play the long ball and doesn't look to drive the ball out of the park as much as two or three of these guys. If you make mistakes, both teams will hurt you."

Currier said Vandy has speed and uses it.

"When Vanderbilt gets on base, they will run, run, run," he said. "They've got five guys in their order that will take off from any base at any time. They play that way, and they play to make contact. I know Mike's got his team making contact, but they (Ole Miss) have a little more pop in their bats and try to drive the ball out and play for big run innings a little bit more. Vanderbilt's a little more slap it and run like hell and make things happen."

Currier said Ole Miss pitchers will have to be alert to the elusive Vandy baserunners.

"The pitchers have to keep their runners close to the bases," he said. "We picked off four guys the first game (at Vandy), and it was our first day outside. But that's what they do, and that is run wild. He (VU head coach Tim Corbin) gears them for that, and that's the type of game you'll see from Vanderbilt."

Currier said Ole Miss pitching was good, but he feels Vandy's may be even better.

"Their pitching is outstanding," he said of the Commodore hurlers. "I think their starters are a little better (than Ole Miss). Certainly (Scott) Bittle is the best we've seen. They (Commodores) are older and they've been around a long time. Those three starters they've got, they're very good. I think you'll see lower scoring games."

Vanderbilt is now 9-4 on the season with one midweek game before the Rebels arrive. They'll travel the short distance to meet in-city foe David Lipscomb University Tuesday for a 4 p.m. contest.

Currier was pleased to see his team step up on Sunday and continue to play, even with two lop-sided losses the first two days. But he wasn't necessarily surprised. He felt the Catamounts would give it their best.

"It's just pitching," he said of the one-run final score that was anybody's ballgame throughout. "Both teams had good pitchers going, and it took half the time. Both pitchers threw strikes, and we played better defense, too."

Up before that for the Rebels, however, is Austin Peay in Oxford at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Nathan Baker (0-0, 1.59 ERA, 2 appearances, 1 start) gets the Tuesday night start for the Rebs, while Brett Bukvich (1-0, 2.00 ERA, 3 appearances, 1 start) gets the nod on Wednesday night.

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