Game 3: Ole Miss 8, ECU 6

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For the second-consecutive game, ECU held a lead in the late stages of the game. ECU scored four runs in the top of sixth and appeared to be on its way to salvaging the third game of the series. Ole Miss had other plans, answering immediately with five runs in the bottom half. Ole Miss had to hang on but did so for the opening weekend sweep of a top-10 ranked team. Dallas Woolfolk was dominant out of the pen to get out of a bases loaded jam, striking out five of the six batters he faced. Through the first three games of the season, the Rebels have shown that they are a very difficult team to put away and have a knack for escaping jams.


Player of the Game: Dallas Woolfolk. Cole Zabowski had a great day at the plate, driving in half of Ole Miss' runs and homering in the second inning. However, Woolfolk gets the nod for closing out the game with his Houdini-like escape of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the eighth and scoreless ninth inning. He struck out five of the six batters he faced in the teeth of a very talented ECU order to get the save and secure the series sweep. He was dominant. 


Key Moment: Ole Miss had increased the lead to two runs in the bottom of the seventh, but ECU wasn't going to go quietly. A defensive miscue by Ole Miss in the outfield gave ECU a spark of life, and the bottom of the Pirates' order would load up the bases with the top of the order coming to the plate with no outs. Ole Miss turned to Woolfork out of the bullpen. Strike out. Strike out. Strike out. Crisis averted and series swept. 


Quotable: "I don't know if I've ever seen a more dominant performance," Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. "I don't know if there can be. The situation, the talented team he's facing, and to strike out five out of six in the middle of their lineup is just terrific."

Game 2: Ole Miss 3, ECU 2

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Ole Miss rallied from a two-run deficit in the late innings to knock off ECU 3-2 and clinch the series. Ole Miss was able to get baserunners on throughout the day, but it wasn't until the seventh inning before the Rebels go the big hit to get runners home. Ole Miss escaped a huge jam in the fifth to keep the score 2-0 and the runs finally came shortly afterwards. 


Player of the Game: Andy Pagnozzi. This could have easily been Colby Bortles, as he was responsible for two of Ole Miss' three runs at the plate, but Pagnozzi gets the nod for his stellar 2.2 innings of one-hit baseball out of the bullpen. He entered the game with Ole Miss in dire straights and on the verge of letting the game slip away. He escaped the jam and kept the score at 2-0.


Key Moment: Speaking of getting out of that jam, it was the turning point of the game. If ECU's lead was extended past 2-0, it would have been difficult for Ole Miss to make up the deficit. Pagnozzi needed only two pitches to escape the bases loaded, one out jam in the fifth inning. He forced ECU's three-hole batter Eric Tyler to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. There was some miscommunication on the pitch selection, as a fast ball was called from the dugout. Pagnozzi threw a curveball, but it worked out perfectly for the Rebels. Ole Miss rallied past ECU by putting up three runs over the sixth and seventh innings for the win because Pagnozzi was able to keep the score manageable. 


Quotable: "You feel good when you're going to a guy like Andy (Pagnozzi)," Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. "Freshman All-American and had been in that situation plenty of times last year. That was the big play of the day, come in with bases loaded, one out and get a big double play ball to get us out of the inning. At that point, you're feeling pretty bad. You've missed some opportunities with the walk. We don't cover on a bunt defense and two HBPs give them another run. You're a single away from them really busting the game open. That was huge."

Ole Miss 5, ECU 4

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In a game that had the feel of an SEC Friday night showdown, baserunners were difficult to come by for both teams for most of the game. Ole Miss was able to make a little more of its opportunities for the 5-4 Opening Day win.


Player of the Game: Ryan Olenek. On a typical Friday night where hits were difficult to come by, Olenek was responsible for three of the Rebels' eight hits. He was a one-man wrecking crew in the first inning to tie the game up at 1 for Ole Miss, doubling to left, stealing third, and scoring when the catcher sailed the throw into left field. He was a tone-setter and a catalyst for the Rebels all night. 


Key Moment: With Ole Miss holding on to a 4-3 lead, David Parkinson was over 90 pitches and allowed the leadoff man to reach for just the second time in the game in the seventh inning. Mike Bianco elected to stick with his Friday ace, and Parkinson delivered without allowing the runner to ever reach scoring position. He stuck out T.J. Riles looking for the first out and the Rebels followed it by doubling off the runner on a line drive by Turner Brown. Ole Miss would extend the lead to two runs in the 8th, and Will Stokes would close it out from there. Parkinson faced a tough ECU lineup, but pounded the strike zone and didn't give up much for free. He allowed three runs in seven strong innings while striking out six and walking just one. Of his 99 pitches, 75 were in the zone.


Quotable: "On both sides, all the pitching was terrific against two very good offenses," Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. "(ECU) makes it hard on you. They're terrific, as you know a Cliff Godwin team would be, with two strikes. They just make it so hard. In that big inning with get the first two outs on two pitches and get two strikes on (Spencer) Brickhouse. He hits a double and they got two more two-strike base hits. Tonight it seemed all their damage was with two strikes. They're terrific. We have our work cut out for us."

2017 Ole Miss Baseball Walk Out Music

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With the 2017 Ole Miss Baseball season beginning tomorrow at Swayze Field (4 p.m. CT vs. No. 6 East Carolina), check out the always much-anticipated walk out music list. Which song is your favorite? Let us know on Twitter by tagging @OleMissBSB and using the hashtag #RebWalkOuts.

#1 DJ Miller: "Pimp Juice" by Nelly
#2 Ryan Olenek: "In The Name Of Love" by Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha
#3 Bryce Blaum: "Smoke A Little Smoke" by Eric Church
#4 Tate Blackman: "Again" by Kevin Gates
#6 Thomas Dillard: "Ordinary Life" by The Weeknd
#7 Nick Fortes: "No Problem" by Chance the Rapper
#8 Will Golsan: "Buy The World" by Mike Will Made It
#9 Kyle Watson: "Kickstart My Heart" by Motley Crue
#10 David Parkinson: "Are You Ready" by AC/DC
#11 Chase Cockrell: "Kings Of Summer" by Ayokay
#12 Greer Holston: "Church Clap" by KB
#13 Cooper Johnson: "Intoxicated" by Martin Solveig
#14 Cole Zabowski: "Sweet Emotion" by Aerosmith
#15 Grae Kessinger: "Hands In The Air" by Miley Cyrus
#17 Will Stokes: "Hell Of A Night" by Dustin Lynch
#18 Connor Green: "The Outsiders" by Eric Church
#19 Andy Pagnozzi: "Peanut Butter Jelly" by Galantis
#20 Will Ethridge: "Godzilla" by Blue Olster Cult
#22 Ryan Rolison: "The Buzz" by Hermitude
#24 Dallas Woolfolk: "Bad Company" by Five Finger Death Punch
#25 Colby Bortles: "Come And Get It" by Selena Gomez
#26 James McArthur: "Never Go Home Again" by Cody Johnson Band
#27 Bryan Seamster: "Can't Stop" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
#28 Jackson Tavel: "Wrong Side Of Heaven" by Five Finger Death Punch
#29 Andrew Lowe: "Black Beatles" by Rae Sremmurd
#31 Jason Barber: "Feel Good Inc." by Gorillaz
#32 Michael Fitzsimmons: "Go Harder" by Future
#33 Sean Johnson: "The Hum" by Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike vs. Ummet Ozcan
#35 Trace Tyre: "Sunset" by Kid Ink
#36 Thomas Spinelli: "Gimme Three Steps" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
#38 Korey Bell: "God's Gonna Cut You Down" by Johnny Cash
#39 Brady Feigl: "Slow, Loud and Banging" by Chamillionaire
#40 Houston Roth: "Slow Ride" by Foghat
#42 Tim Rowe: "Don Omar" by Danza Kuduro
#43 Carson Klepzig: "Save A Horse [Ride A Cowboy]" by Big & Rich
#65 Parker Caracci: "Blue Collar Boys" by Frank Foster

Four Rebels Invited to the NFL Combine

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Four Rebels will head to Indianapolis to take part in the NFL Combine in hopes of bolstering their draft stock and adding to Ole Miss' already strong NFL presence. Quincy Adeboyejo, Fadol Brown, Evan Engram, and D.J. Jones will have the opportunity to shine in front of the of all the NFL front offices and scouts that will be present on March 3-6.


Engram, after leaving the Senior Bowl as one of the top performers of the event, will  be a hot name at the Combine as he continues to up his draft stock. That's not to say Adeboyejo and Jones didn't take advantage of their all-star game appearances. At the Combine, Adeboyejo's 40-yard dash time will be interesting as few are faster when he gets going. 


Brown's biggest reason for missing out on the all-star game circuit was the foot injury that held him out for some of the season. When he became healthier later in the season, no one could question his impact or athleticism. That athleticism gives him a chance to really turn heads in the Combine setting.


In general, the SEC dominated the list of combine invitees. The conference combined for 68 invites, the most of any conference. 


For the Rebels that did not receive invites, Ole Miss will hold a pro day in April to give them a platform to impress. Of course, it also gives the four that did receive invites a chance to improve on their performances. 

Rebels Focus on Defense on Signing Day

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Ole Miss' defense needed a shot in the arm after a 2016 season to forget. It began by retooling the defensive staff, bringing in Wesley McGriff to take over the defense along with new hires on the defensive staff. It continued on Wednesday when the Rebels signed a class with an obvious eye towards revitalizing the Landshark defense. 


Of the 21 recruits in Ole Miss' 2017 signing class, 14 are on the defensive side of the ball. Eight of those 14 are ranked as four-star prospects, so Hugh Freeze and company succeeded in adding talent and depth to that side of the ball.


"We addressed a lot of needs that we have. That's what signing day should always be about," Freeze said. "Defense was the priority of the class, to get it fixed."


Linebacker, in particular, is a position group where it's obvious that the Rebels improved greatly on Wednesday. Ole Miss signed five linebackers, highlighted by four-star recruits Josh Clarke, Breon Dixon, and Mohamad Sanago. 


"Linebacker was a place we needed to improve," Freeze said. "Time will always tell, but I think we have quality individuals there, first ... I know we have length. That's something we haven't had enough of."


Ole Miss also added four four-star recruits in the defensive secondary in D.D. Bowie, Javien Hamilton, and C.J. Miller, and Kam'ron White. While they're athletic, they also possess a vital, yet often overlooked trait for defensive backs: ball skills.


"I've come to the conclusion that if kids are picking the ball on Friday nights, they're probably not going to intercept it on Saturday nights," Freeze said.


On the other side of the ball, the Rebels return many of the snaps from last season. Therefore, the need wasn't as great in this recruiting cycle. The Rebels still added some depth to the quarterback room behind Shea Patterson in Jordan Ta'amu and Alex Daniel.


The offensive class was highlighted by four star recruits Tony Gray on the offensive line and Braylon Sanders at receiver. Both will join position groups that return impressive amounts of talent. 


"We met a lot of needs," Freeze said. "We're excited to go to work with these young men that have chosen our program."

The Senior Bowl always offers players a chance to improve their draft stock by performing well against some of the best players in the nation. Evan Engram took advantage of that opportunity. NFL Network's draft expert Mike Mayock named Engram as one of the 10 standouts from the last week in Mobile.

Mayock expects the Ole Miss TE to be at least a second round and to impress at the NFL Combine. 

Know the Opponent: Texas A&M

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Know the Opponent: Texas A&M (10-8, 2-5)

KenPom ranking: 64

Best win: vs. No. 50 Virginia Tech

Worst loss: at No. 93 Mississippi State


Texas A&M on Offense: The Aggies are a slow, yet efficient offense. Their 18 seconds per possession ranks 265th in the nation, but they are one of the best teams in the nation at making shots inside the arc. Nearly 60 percent of A&M's points come from 2-point shots, the 22nd most in the country. Texas A&M doesn't do much damage from 3, shooting just 33 percent. The three players that account for the largest percentages of shots when they're on the court are all at least 6-9. Tyler Davis leads the Aggies in scoring and can draw fouls at a high rate. 


Like Ole Miss, Texas A&M has struggled with turnovers. Both teams have about 30 percent of possession end with a turnover. A&M hasn't taken advantage of free throws this season, shooting 64 percent from the line. 


Texas A&M on Defense: It's very difficult to score inside the arc on the Aggies. A&M ranks sixth in the nation in opponents' shooting percentage on those shots. They send shots back at the 12th highest percentage in the nation. Teams often have to rely on hitting deep shots, which A&M has not defended well at times. The Aggies 3-point percentage ranks 226th in the nation. 

Rebels Impressing at East-West Shrine Game

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NFL eyes are always set on college all-star games, so they provide an opportunity for players to greatly increase their stock. At the East-West Shrine Game, Quincy Adeboyejo and Tony Bridges are taking advantage of that opportunity. Adeboyejo, in particular, has been stealing the show. 


NFL.com's Mike Mayock on Adeboyejo: "He's about 6-foot-3 and he's got length. He's got a little more suddenness than what I saw on tape. He's shown an ability this week to catch the ball in traffic."



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    Tiffany J. Moore said:

    This is amazing with what he have done so far! Hope that he'll achieve more in the future!

    in post Evan Engram Hauls in Midseason Accolades

    Fiftyyears fan said:

    How can you have five straight top 25 recruiting classes and look as bad as Ole Miss has this year. Easy lack of coaching fundamentals. Look at Mason at Vandy, nothing but 2 and 3 star recruits out of high school and he developers players that want to win. Hugh freeze has 3, 4 & 5 recruits and he expects them to win because of what they were in High School. Mr. Freeze you have not been teaching the fundamentals of football or winning in life. Mr. Freeze you have quit on your players because you have some false expectations of what they are instead of what you can develop in them. Either do your job or quit. Oh yea, please quit running your smoke and mirrors offense, everyone has figured it out. Run a physical offense that can open up holes for your running backs and then your pass attack want require 12 are 14 four and five star receivers. Mr. Freeze you have problems and you need to know that you are not smarter than the rest of the coaches in the SEC.

    in post Rebels Unable to Send Senior Class Out on a High Note

    Karen Holden said:

    Not every pass can be caught. Too low, too short whatever. Not every Kelly pass is perfect. Records were broken by receivers also. But they sre not going to catch every ball thrown. The loss to Auburn was not one players fault. You win or lose as a team.

    in post Late Mistake Spoils Chad Kelly's Historic Performance

    Trent browning said:

    Hey I was just wandering if these are the only 2 olemiss players signing. If there are more signing please respond to me ASAP. Also wondering if neil everett will sign any autographs. Thank you very much

    in post Heisman House Tour Heads to Oxford for Ole Miss-Georgia

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