Rebels look to rebound against tough Tide staff

OleMissLogoBy Parrish Alford

Daily Journal

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Ole Miss will try to hold its share of the SEC West lead this weekend against an Alabama pitching staff that’s been pretty strong with its starting rotation.

After a solid offensive weekend against Missouri that included timely hitting and five home runs, the Rebels’ best hitters were held in check Tuesday in a 5-3 neutral site loss to Southern Mississippi.

Game times are 6:30 tonight, 6 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 on Sunday.

A fast start for No. 13 Ole Miss (21-5, 4-2 SEC) has included steady play by veterans like Auston Bousfield, Austin Anderson, Will Allen and Sikes Orvis.

Allen is currently hitting .343, 112 points higher than where he finished 2013.

“We have a strong group of guys in the middle, veteran players who have been here and played in the SEC for two, three or four years,” he said. “Coach (Cliff) Godwin has really worked with us on approach and mechanics, and when you put in all that work, it gives you all the confidence in the world.”

Those four and many more were hitless against the Golden Eagles. The Rebels had just four hits on the night, two each from newcomers Braxton Lee, the regular left fielder, and Dalton Dulin, a spot starter at second base.

Ole Miss shares the early SEC West lead with Mississippi State and Auburn.

“It was disappointing, but it’s one of those things you have to learn from, flush it and get ready for the weekend,” Allen said.

Opponents are hitting just .189 against The Crimson Tide (16-8, 3-3 SEC) which goes into the weekend with a 2.05 team earned run average.

Spencer Turnbull, a native Mississippian, is the Tide’s No. 1 SEC starter.

The former Madison Central star was not the pitcher of record in the Tide’s 17-9 win in the series opener at Arkansas.

He wasn’t at his best, but it was a scoreless game when Turnbull left after three innings having allowed three hits and three walks.

The Crimson Tide bullpen would go on to allow nine runs over the final six innings, but that was much better than the 17 allowed by Arkansas.

That Alabama offense, though, could generate just one run the rest of the weekend as Arkansas won 2-1 and 1-0 to take the series.

Turnbull had a no-decision in a start against Ole Miss last year. He allowed two runs on six hits and four walks in Oxford.

parrish.alford@journalinc.com

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SCHEDULED STARTERS

Tonight: Ole Miss RHP Chris Ellis (4-0, 0.67) vs. Alabama RHP Spencer Turnbull (2-1, 0.28)

Saturday: Ole Miss LHP Christian Trent (3-0, 3.16) vs. Alabama LHP Justin Kamplain (2-2, 3.21)

Sunday: Ole Miss RHP Sam Smith (3-1, 2.04) vs. Alabama LHP Jon Keller (4-0, 1.64)