Rebels and Bulldogs look to get back on track

Published 1:49 pm Saturday, April 13, 2013

As the SEC baseball season hits its mid-point, both Mississippi State and Ole Miss have a chance to move up the West Division standings this weekend.

No. 21 Mississippi State (27-9, 5-7 SEC) travels to Texas A&M (21-13, 6-6), while No. 23 Ole Miss (23-10, 4-8) hosts Alabama (22-13, 8-4). The Bulldogs and Rebels currently sit fifth and sixth in the seven-team SEC West.

The Bulldogs are coming off their first SEC series win of the season, having taken two of three from Florida in Starkville last weekend. MSU also beat Ole Miss 5-1 in the annual Governor’s Cup game Tuesday night in Pearl.

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Mississippi State and Texas A&M have not played since the 1998 NCAA Regionals, when the Bulldogs won twice in College Station to advance to the College World Series. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series with the Aggies 7-4.

Senior left-hander Luis Pollorena (5-1, 3.29 ERA) gets another Friday night start for the Bulldogs, facing Aggies sophomore Daniel Mengden (4-1, 1.86) at 6:30 p.m. Senior Kendall Graveman (4-2, 1.99) starts Saturday’s 12:30 p.m. game against junior Rafael Pineda (3-2, 2.52) for A&M.

Saturday’s game will be televised live by SportSouth. Sunday’s starters are to-be-announced for both teams.

Right fielder Hunter Renfroe continues his hitting tear for Mississippi State, batting .411/.482/.804 with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs. Shortstop Mikey Reynolds –batting .391 with a .455 on-base percentage — is the Aggies’ top offensive performer.

Ole Miss and Mike Mayers host Alabama this weekend. (AP/Bruce Newman/Oxford Eagle)    

Ole Miss is mired in a season-long six-game losing streak, having been swept by Vanderbilt last weekend and losing to Mississippi State on Tuesday. The Rebels have lost three straight SEC series since winning two of three from Arkansas on the opening weekend of league play.

Alabama is one of the surprise teams in the league, having beaten up on SEC bottom-dwellers Georgia, Tennessee and Auburn before losing two of three at home against Arkansas last weekend. The Crimson Tide and Razorbacks are tied for second in the league behind LSU.

Ole Miss ace Bobby Wahl (6-0, 1.57) starts tonight’s 6:30 p.m. game against Alabama senior Charley Sullivan (3-2, 2.52). Saturday’s 4 p.m. game features junior Mike Mayers (2-4, 3.20) for the Rebels versus sophomore lefty Justin Kamplain (0-0, 4.34) for the Crimson Tide.

Sunday’s series-finale is set for 1:30 p.m. Ole Miss’ Sam Smith (2-0, 4.40) gets the start against sophomore Spencer Turnbull (4-1, 2.22) for Alabama. Turnbull is a Madison native and former Madison Central star.

Ole Miss and Alabama both rank in the middle of the pack in the SEC in runs scored. Both teams feature one of the top hitting catchers in the league, Stuart Turner (.412/.463/.596) for the Rebels, Brett Booth (.293/.404/.407) for  the Crimson Tide.Wildcats sweep Wolfpack