Ole Miss hosts critical series Top-ranked LSU visits Oxford for three-game SEC West set

Published 11:29 am Friday, May 4, 2012

Now in his 12th season as a head coach in the rugged Southeastern Conference, Ole Miss’ Mike Bianco is well aware of how tough and how fickle the league can be.

Just last season, he’s quick to point out, his Rebels were a win away from winning the Western Division. Arkansas won a pair of close games against them in a doubleheader, and Ole Miss wound up missing the SEC Tournament entirely.


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On the air

LSU at Ole Miss

Radio: 1490 AM

Today, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, 2 p.m.

TV: SportSouth

Sunday, 1:30 p.m.

Miss. State at Alabama

Radio: 105.5 FM

Today, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, 2 p.m.

Sunday, 1 p.m.


“We all looked at that one game, but it was any one of the 30. So they’re all super important,“ Bianco said. “You take every one that you can. You can’t look at the scoreboard because somebody will always beat the other team, and you can’t wait for help because it doesn’t ever come. You’ve got to take care of your business and run to the finish line.”

Ole Miss, and the rest of the SEC, is about to start that sprint to the end. The Rebels (29-16, 10-11 SEC) welcome LSU (36-10, 14-7) to Oxford for a three-game series starting Friday night. It’s a big one for both teams.

LSU, already leading the West by three games, can all but clinch the division title with a sweep. Ole Miss, in a herd of seven teams separated by three games, can’t afford another series loss. The Rebels have dropped three of their last four SEC series.

“It’s a close conference. Everybody’s neck and neck. You’ve just got to go out and give it 100 percent and play hard,” Ole Miss catcher Will Allen said. “We know we have the ability, we know we have the guys. We’re in a good situation. If we take two out of three or even sweep, we’re right back there at the top of the SEC West.”

After the LSU series, Ole Miss hits a softer part of the schedule that should make it easier to sew up an SEC Tournament berth. The last two series are against Tennessee and Vanderbilt, both of whom are behind Ole Miss in the standings.

Bianco, though, said he’s not thinking that way, or even that far ahead. In addition to their so-so showing in recent series, the Rebels are just 3-4 in their last seven games overall. That makes a strong showing against LSU important for morale.

“It’s the biggest series of the year because of where it is,” Bianco said. “It’s right in front of us.”