The UAB baseball team will battle the 10th ranked Ole Miss Rebels on Tuesday at 6:30 and again on Wednesday at 11:30 at Regions Field in Birmingham, Ala.
The Blazers have already gone through a difficult preseason schedule, and after being swept by Creighton in Omaha this past weekend their record dropped to 6-9. They’ll try and gain some confidence by picking up a win over a top ranked SEC foe this week.
The Rebels have only lost one game this year and that was to a top five Louisville team, whom they also beat twice. Ole Miss started the season by sweeping defending Conference USA champion Florida International in a three-game series.
They also beat Arkansas State in a mid-week game 4-3, a team that took two-of-three from UAB at Regions Field to start the season. They’ve also beaten Coastal Carolina this year, which is a top 25 team is some polls.
To say the least, this will most likely be the best team UAB will play all season long.
Last year the Blazers traveled to Oxford, Miss. for a pair of games and came away with two wins over the Rebels. Ole Miss will most certainly be looking to get revenge at Regions Field this week against a much younger Blazers lineup than the one they faced last year.
The Rebels are hitting .283 as a team and averaging 7.6 runs per game. They’re led on offense this year by J.B. Woodman who is hitting .358 with 13 runs, 3 home runs and 18 RBIs. Colby Bortles is another top draft prospect who is hitting .346 with 2 home runs and 14 RBIs. Shortstop Errol Robinson was the team’s best draft prospect entering the season but has struggled out of the gate with a .250 average, but he still has scored 13 times and driven in 11 runs. Tate Blackman has also been solid from the plate with a .333 average, 14 runs and 14 RBIs.
The pitching staff has been just as dynamite with a 2.38 ERA. We could see James McArthur who started one of their mid-week games last week. He has a 7.94 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 11.1 innings. Andy Pagnozzi could start the second game with his 1.38 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 13 innings.
The Ole Miss bullpen has been solid all season as five guys have an ERA under 1.00 with at least 5 innings pitched. They’re led by closer Wyatt Short who has 4 saves and has yet to give up a run in 8.1 innings with 8 strikeouts and zero walks.
As you can see, the Blazers have a difficult task ahead of them this week, but they proved a year ago that they have the ability to compete with the best. If they can just pick up one game over Ole Miss this week it would give this young team a huge boost of confidence as they enter conference play.
A mid-major doesn’t get to host a team of this caliber very often, and we need to make sure we support our UAB baseball team as they look to pick up a win in this two-game set at Regions Field.