Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco downplays the significance of this weekend’s trip to Kentucky as it relates to the pursuit of a regional at Swayze Field.
He doesn’t downplay the significance of getting senior right-hander Aaron Greenwood back in his bullpen.
The senior right-hander had emerged as the No. 16-ranked Rebels’ most consistent reliever when he was sidelined earlier this month with an abdominal strain.
He went to the injury list with a scoreless streak of 191⁄3 innings.
No. 17 Kentucky (27-14, 9-9 SEC) is in third place in the Eastern Division, a game behind South Carolina and three games behind Florida.
Ole Miss (30-12, 10-8 SEC) has dropped three of its last four games. The Rebels have lost series to South Carolina, Alabama and LSU, teams which are also vying for what will likely be four SEC host spots. The Rebels do not play Florida.
“The two things that will be factors this weekend is not necessarily their RPI, it’s their record, which is good but not great, and their strength of schedule,” Bianco said. “I’m not a computer genius, so I don’t know how it figures out, but the rest of the way, I think just about everybody we play has an RPI under 50.”
After this weekend Ole Miss has SEC home series against Arkansas and Georgia then closes at Texas A&M.
Georgia currently sports a simulated RPI of 55, Texas A&M of 53. Arkansas is at 46.
Greenwood last pitched against Auburn on April 4, a career-long 42⁄3 innings with three hits and no walks that helped keep the Rebels in position to win 8-5 on Austin Anderson’s walk-off home run in the 13th.
Greenwood’s status took a turn for the better after a bullpen session on Monday followed by minimal soreness.
“He threw really well, much better than the normal guy that doesn’t pitch for a couple of weeks. I’m talking command-wise, the way he threw all his pitches,” Bianco said.
Tonight: Ole Miss RHP Chris Ellis (5-0, 1.72) vs. Kentucky LHP A.J. Reed (7-1, 2.15)
Saturday: Ole Miss LHP Christian Trent (5-0, 2.18) vs. Kentucky LHP Dylan Dwyer (5-1, 3.40)
Sunday: Ole Miss RHP Sam Smith (5-2, 2.32) vs. Kentucky RHP Andrew Nelson (1-4, 4.44)