LSU baseball versus Ole Miss preview: Tigers set to take on defending national champions

LSU baseball versus Ole Miss preview: Tigers set to take on defending national champions
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No. 1, for 10 straight weeks, LSU baseball travels to Oxford, Mississippi, this weekend for a three-game series against the Ole Miss Rebels.  

Ole Miss, the defending national champions, enters the series coming off a 6-3 midweek victory over Arkansas State and a SEC series loss on the road against in-state rival Mississippi State.  

LSU is coming off an 8-5 loss against in-state rival Louisiana-Lafayette and a series win at home against No. 11 Kentucky.  

At first glance, the matchup looks intriguing to say the least. However, both teams are not the same teams that they were last season. Both teams also had several starters return, but the biggest difference between the two are who those starters are and the impact the transfer portal had on the rosters this past off-season.  

LSU’s record sits at an impressive 29-7 overall and 9-5 in SEC play through 36 of the scheduled 56 game regular season. Unranked Ole Miss’s holds below mediocre record of 21-16 overall and 3-12 in the SEC.  

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LSU’s recent loss to UL-Lafayette shows the talent that is spread across Division I baseball, but won’t matter much in the grand scheme of rankings. Ole Miss’ poor record in SEC play proves the idea that this is not the same Rebels team from last season.  

Junior right-hander and Friday night starter Paul Skenes described his and LSU’s recent success when talking to reporters during the week. 

What it comes down to everyday is just controlling what you can control. I think we have done a really good job of that as a team. A lot of outside stuff can make its way into the locker room, and we have done a really good job of keeping that from happening. I’m happy with where we are at,” Skenes said.  

“I didn’t really know what to expect pitching in the SEC, especially on the road. Adrenalin is a big thing for me. I’ve loved it. It’s honestly a bucket list thing for me to be able to go and say I have pitched at these places, so it’s been really cool. That’s my mindset going into this weekend. I am looking forward to it. I don’t think they are going to be throwing a lot of beer.”  

Skenes’ confidence reflects not only LSU’s confidence in itself, but also the reality that this year’s LSU team can control its own path towards postseason play.  

Despite LSU’s confidence, Ole Miss will have home field advantage and possess multiple starters with more than five home runs on the season. The three that stand out are left fielder Kemp Alderman, shortstop Jacob Gonzales and right fielder TJ McCants.  

Alderman and Gonzales have played in every game so far this season and both hold batting averages above .300 with a combined 22 home runs. McCants has played in 32 of the 37 games with seven home runs, but leads the team in strikeouts.  

On the defensive side of the ball, pitchers JT Quinn, Xavier Rias and Jack Dougherty have seen the most action this season and will likely be put to the test this weekend. JT Quinn, with a record of 3-0, has emerged as the most reliable arm and will likely start Friday night.  

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Rivas owns the most wins on Ole Miss’s pitching staff with five and also has thrown the most innings. Dougherty possesses a losing record so far this season, 2-3 with one save, but seems to have earned the trust of the Rebels’ coaches.  

To put into perspective how much these two teams have changed in just two years, in 2021 at this point in the season Ole Miss hosted LSU and was ranked No. 9 in the country. LSU was unranked with a 4-11 record in SEC play.  

In the history of the series between Ole Miss and LSU that began in 1906, LSU leads by more than 20 games.

Game one of the three game series is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. CT on Friday and will be streaming live on SEC Network+. 


About Marc Lemoine 1340 Articles
Marc is an Economist and a well experienced weightlifter who has won many championships. He intends to build a bright career in the media industry as well. He is a sports freak who loves to cover the latest news on sports, finance and economy.

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