Ole Miss baseball: Scouting Utah

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#1 seed Ole Miss has to face #4 seed Utah on day one of the Oxford regional, a task more difficult than it sounds.

The Ole Miss baseball team was awarded a regional host position on Monday for the NCAA tournament. The last time the Rebels hosted a regional was in 2014, when the Ole Miss made it to Omaha. The Rebels are looking to replicate that magic, but it will a tough road this year. Ole Miss faces the Pac-12 champion Utah Utes on day one of the regional on Friday.

Pitching 

This is where Utah will get you. They have a star in Jayson Rose who will pitch against the Rebels on Friday. Rose went 8-5 this season with a 2.62 ERA. Rose is an ace if I have ever seen one. This will be a tough match-up for Ole Miss.

Rose brings the heat with his fastball, working in the 90-93 range. He has a nasty curve that can strike you out, as well as a really good changeup. His off-speed pitch is the one to watch for this weekend.

Rose is a little slow the plate with his pitches, so the Rebels could take advantage of that and run on Rose when needed.

Related Story: Ole Miss could face #3 Miami in Super Regional rematch.

Rose can go deep into a game as well. He threw 103.0 innings this season, and struck out 102 batters, good for 39th in the nation. He threw 115+ pitches on 5 different occasions this season, as well as throwing 130 in his last outing.

Rose does not break under pressure either, his WHIP this season is a low 1.17. He also has a K/BB of 2.27.

Once you get beyond Rose, the Utes only have three other pitchers with a sub-5.00 ERA. So if the Rebels can continue their hot hitting and knock Rose out of the game early, this could be a barn burner for the Rebs.

Look for the Utes to bring in reliever Dylan Drachler if needed. Drachler has a 3.18 ERA in 22 appearances and his opponents only hit .197 on him.

Looking at the amount of runs given up per game, Brady Bramlett has the edge here. The Utes give up 3.07 runs when Rose is pitching, while Ole Miss only gives up 1.93 runs when Bramlett is on the mound. A lot of this is because of the poor fielding from the Utah defense, which 66 errors this season.

The Rebels have hit elite pitching all season, defeating future first rounders Kyle Funkhouser, Clarke Schmidt, Robert Tyler, Jordan Sheffield, and Jared Poche this season.

Advantage: Utah. On the starting mound, I give Utah the advantage here. Rose is a great #1 starter and can go deep into the game. In the bullpen however, I give the Rebels the advantage. If Ole Miss can get into that Utah bullpen and have a solid outing from Bramlett, then this advantage won’t mean much.

Ole Miss is 15-1 since 2005 in regionals they host.

Offense

Utah does not have the power hitter the Rebels are used to seeing, with Dallas Carroll leading the team in home runs with 7. The Utes as a team hit only 27 home runs this season. Carroll has a wide and low stance at the plate, allowing him to lay back on pitches and really put some power into every swing.

Cody Scaggari is the best hitter on this Ute squad, hitting .328 in 49 games this season. As a team, Utah hit .281.

DaShawn Keirsey and Kody Davis are legit threats on the base paths. If either one get on base, the Rebels will have to keep them in check. Keirsey had 11 stolen bags this season and Davis had 10.

Keirsey has a very straight up, stiff batting stance at the plate. He gets out in front of pitches and pulls the ball to the right field a lot. If Olenek can stay on his toes, the Rebels should be able to stop the hitting prowess of Keirsey.

Advantage: Ole Miss. Utah is the worst team in this regional offensively. Ole Miss has been hitting the ball very well this season. headlined by 14 home runs from OF JB Woodman and a .362 average from C Henri Lartique.

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Fielding

On the defensive side of this Utah team, I really like outfielders DaShawn Keirsey and Josh Rose. Keirsey and Rose has accounted for 190 putouts and only 2 errors between the two. Keirsey has an arm in center field that the Rebels do not need to try and test.

In the infield, the Utes struggle. Dallas Carroll, Cody Scaggari, and Kody Davis accounted for 26 errors on the left side of the infield this season. 1B Hunter Simmons only had 5 this season.

The Utes give up 1.07 unearned runs a game with Rose on the mound, and Ole Miss looks to continue that trend.

Advantage: This is really a wash, but I will give the advantage to Utah, but only slightly. The Rebels do have 2 fewer errors on the season than the Utes do, but the Utah infield has not struggled as much as infielders Colby Bortles and Tate Blackman have for the Rebels.

Where to watch 

The Oxford regional starts on Friday, June 3rd. The first game is scheduled for 3:00PM CT, with the second game coming in a 7:00PM.

Game 1: #3 Boston College -vs- #2 Tulane / 3:00PM CT – WatchESPN

Game 2: #4 Utah -vs- #1 Ole Miss / 7:00 PM CT – Watch ESPN