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April 24, 2009

SCS.comThis weekend's preview takes us to Oxford, Mississippi for a big inter-divisional matchup in the SEC race as Georgia takes on Mississippi. The Bulldogs have been in and out of the top spot nationally while the Rebels have been hovering around the tenth spot. Georgia has a three game lead in the SEC East and Mississippi is right in the thick of things in the SEC West by only being a half game back of Arkansas. Who will emerge from the weekend feeling even better about their standing in the conference? We will go inside the numbers and make our prediction.

WEEKEND'S TOP SERIES - #4 GEORGIA (32-9 overall, 13-5 SEC EAST) AT #11 MISSISSIPPI (30-11 overall, 11-7 SEC WEST)

Last season, the Rebels came to Athens but left with two losses. The two teams met again at the SEC Tournament and the Rebels took the game 4-1. Two years ago in Oxford, Mississippi took two out of the three. It appears that home field advantage is the key to taking the series between the two schools. Will this be the case this season?

Coach David Perno sees his Dogs come in hitting at a .312 clip with 79 homeruns and 314 RBI. Junior Rich Poythress is having a season to remember as he is hitting .411 with 20 homeruns and 67 RBI. Freshman Colby May is second on the team in hitting at .379 and chipped in 11 homeruns with 37 RBI. Freshman Johnathan Taylor has swiped 19 bases in 23 attempts. The pitching staff has been respectable this season with a 3.89 ERA in 366 innings giving up 158 runs (148 earned) with 341 strikeouts and 148 walks. The rotation for the Bulldogs this weekend will be senior Trevor Holder (6-2, 3.88 ERA), junior Alex McRee (4-0, 2.19), and sophomore Justin Grimm (2-2, 4.12). Junior closer Dean Weaver has eight saves to go with his 1-0 record and 1.07 ERA. Perno has set up Weaver by using senior Will Harvil (4-1, 1.93) and freshman Michael Palazzone (3-0, 4.23).

Coach Mike Bianco has his Rebels in position to host a regional again this season. The Rebels are hitting .307 with 35 homeruns and 272 RBI on the season. They are led by junior Jordan Henry, who is hitting .364 with 26 stolen bases and 22 RBI. He sets the table for the remainder of the lineup as Henry has a .489 on base percentage. On a team that has not hit the ball out of the park, freshman Matt Snyder and senior Jeremy Travis lead the team with six long balls. Coach Bianco will trot out the rotation of sophomore Drew Pomeranz (4-1, 3.59), junior Phillip Irwin (5-3, 3.57), and senior Scott Bittle (4-2, 2.33). As a team, the Mississippi pitching staff has a 4.02 ERA while giving up 27 homeruns and 206 runs (161 earned). The staff has 385 strikeouts with only issuing 129 walks. Redshirt sophomore Jake Morgan has fives saves while posting a 3-1 record and 2.13 ERA.

The all-time series between these two schools is even at 29-29. The Rebels are 6-3 against the Dogs in the last three series in Oxford, while the Dogs have a 5-4 record at home in the last three series. The Rebels have a celebration planned for their new stadium and should have a packed house all weekend long. The Dogs will look to ruin the celebration and trend by taking two from the Rebels.


#8 GEORGIA TECH (27-9, 13-5 ACC Coastal) at #21 CLEMSON (28-14, 12-9 ACC Atlantic)

Conference seeding and regional hosting will be on the line in Clemson this weekend. The Jackets would like to claim one of the national seeds while the Tigers would like to host a regional. Tech leads the Coastal division and Clemson is a game back in the Atlantic. The teams generally do not like each other on the diamond and this will be more of the same. Jackets take two on the road from the Tigers.

#14 OKLAHOMA (30-11, 8-7 BIG XII) vs. #15 BAYLOR (25-14, 10-7 BIG XII)

The Sooners were swept by the Longhorns last weekend while the Bears spilt two with Oklahoma State. The fight is on to stay out of the fourth spot, which may mean going against Texas in Big XII pool play at the conference tournament. Baylor takes the series 2-1.

#26 OREGON STATE (23-9, 8-4 PAC 10) at UCLA (17-20, 9-6 PAC 10)

The Beavers find themselves back in contention after a down season last year. The Bruins are making a stand by going 7-3 in their last 10 games. The teams are battling for the #2 seed in the Pac 10 as Arizona State has a 3.5 game lead over everyone. The Beavers will stay within striking distance by taking two.

SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI (25-15, 9-6 CUSA) at #24 EAST CAROLINA (30-12, 10-5 CUSA)

Each team has dropped their series to conference leader Rice, both will be looking to stay close to the Owls. With Rice playing an out-of-conference series, the series winner could either tie or take the overall lead. The Eagles could use a big series win on their resume after losing two at home to UAB last weekend; however, the Pirates will take two at home and take the C-USA lead.

Other series to keep an eye on

#25 Oklahoma State at #18 Texas A&M, South Carolina at #22 Florida, #29 Georgia Southern at The Citadel, Kennesaw State at Belmont, New Mexico at BYU,

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