No. 6 Texas A&M is trying to come out of its week long road trip with a winning record, and next up is a series at No. 19 Ole Miss (27-15) beginning Thursday.
After dropping their past two mid-week games, the Aggies (30-12-1) head into the weekend on a positive note after taking down UT-Arlington, 10-5, on Tuesday.
“Winning the mid-week after going 0-2 the last two weeks is big for us,” Hoehner said. “It’s good for us and hopefully we can make it roll through the weekend.”
Over the past two weeks, the Aggies have come around at the plate as A&M has hit eight homers in the last six games from six different players.
“A lot of people say hitting is contagious,” Hoehner said. “And we had a lot of good at bats last night and I think when you’re hitting good, hopefully that can carry on. When people are feeling confident at the plate, it carries onto the weekend.”
With four weeks left in the regular season, the SEC is as tight as can be. The Aggies (11-6-1 SEC) are currently a half-game behind Arkansas for first in the SEC West and 1.5 games behind Georgia for first overall in the league. Eight teams are within 3.5 games of each other in the fight for first making every game important.
“We always say take it one game at a time,” Hoehner said. “Be even keel whether things are going bad or things are going good and have that same mindset and just keep bringing it every single day. Let the cards fall where they may.”
Ole Miss is at the bottom of the bunch, sitting at 10-9 in SEC play. The Rebels have lost five of their last seven games, but have potential from their juiced junior class.
“Ole Miss has got the No. 1 ranked recruiting class that are all juniors now and they are very, very physical one-through-nine, very left-handed dominant,” Childress said.
The Rebels have some pop, led by hitters Ryan Olenek, Thomas Dillard and Tyler Keenan. Olenek, who leads the team in batting, returned Tuesday after missing four games due to a hip injury.
“I feel like our left-handed pitching matches up really well against their lineup, but we’re going to be at our very best on the mound and slow them down and find ways to score from an offensive standpoint,” Childress said.
With John Doxakis and Asa Lacy undoubtedly penciled on the mound in Thursday and Friday, Childress said game three will remain open, but expects Christian Roa to make his third straight compressed start with Chris Weber coming out of the bullpen at the first sign of trouble.
A&M’s relief staff has fully embraced the all-hands-on-deck approach for game three.
“We all know out of the bullpen that we’ve got to be ready to go come Saturday,” Miller said. “Roa’s getting back and it’s good to have him back, but we know we can’t expect him to go seven or eight innings. We’re ready to go when our time is called.”
The Aggies and Rebels begin their three-game series Thursday at 6 p.m. on the SEC Network. Friday’s game is set for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch with the series concluding Saturday at 2 p.m. The final two games will be aired on SEC Network Plus.