Around the Bases: Ole Miss

Baseball is back, folks. U of L is set to begin their 2020 season on Friday with a huge top-25 matchup, taking on the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford, MS. The Cards will start the season as the #1 team in three of the six college baseball polls, with their eyes set on winning the first national title in program history.

The Polls

Poll This Week Final Polls from 2019 1 3
Perfect Game 1 4
Baseball America 2 3
Collegiate Baseball 1 3
USA Today 2 3

In Case You Missed It

Looking at Ole Miss

Louisville opens the 2020 season with a road trip to Oxford, MS, taking on the Ole Miss Rebels. The three game series this weekend is a rematch of last year’s two game stretch at Jim Patterson Stadium, with the Cardinals taking both games (4-3, 10-8) in the series.

Ole Miss would go on to finish 2019 as a top-16 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but ultimately came up short in the Super Regional against fellow SEC contemporary Arkansas.

Despite losing their top four hitters over the offseason, Ole Miss could still have pieces in place to compete in an ultra-stacked SEC. Doug Nikhazy and Tyler Keenan were both named preseason All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball during the offseason, both whom could be the leaders of an Ole Miss team that has 16 freshmen, versus six sophomores, seven juniors, and four seniors. Nikhazy is coming off a 2019 season where he earned Freshman All-American honors on the mound, getting a 9-3 record with 86 strikeouts and a 3.31 ERA. Keenan started all 68 games for Ole Miss last season, hitting .285 with seven doubles, two triples and 15 home runs. Anthony Servideo is the top returning hitter and baserunner for Ole Miss in 2020, hitting .287 with ten doubles and 24 stolen bases last season.

One notable player to watch for is John Rhys Plumlee. The freshman is a two-sport athlete for the Rebels, playing football and baseball and could potentially be a star at both. He was ranked as the #11 prospect in Mississippi (baseball) by Perfect Game, while also being ranked as a top-300 prospect in football by ESPN.

With his college career freshly blooming, Plumlee rushed for over 1,000 yards last season in nine games as the starting quarterback for Ole Miss, and now enters his first year with the baseball team. Louisville could theoretically be playing against him, as well as Jerrion Ealy in both sports, with the Cardinals playing the Rebels this year, and U of L football kicking off the 2021 season in Atlanta against Ole Miss.

It will also be a homecoming of sorts for both head coach Dan McDonnell and Ben Bianco. McDonnell served as an assistant under Mike Bianco at Ole Miss before becoming the Louisville head coach in 2006. Ben Bianco is the son of head coach Mike Bianco, and could potentially be earning playing time at first base with Logan Wyatt departing this offseason.

How to Watch / Listen

All three games at Ole Miss will be broadcast on SEC Network+, available on ESPN apps. Friday’s game starts at 5:00 p.m. ET, with Saturday and Sunday set to start at 2:30 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., respectively.

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