February 2017 Archives


With Ole Miss beginning spring practice, the focus begins to turn to the 2017 football season. Coincidentally, the SEC released the schedule for 2017 Football Media Days today as well.

Ole Miss will be featured on the final day of the four day event, with head coach Hugh Freeze being the penultimate coach to take the podium on July 13. 

Media Days will take place July 10-13, held again at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham - Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala. Auburn and South Carolina are also taking the podium on the final day with Ole Miss. 

A more detailed daily schedule with full television information, rotational breakdown and student-athletes attending will be available later this summer.

The SEC Network and ESPN will once again be on site to bring SEC Media Days to a national audience.

MONDAY, July 10

Arkansas - Bret Bielema

LSU - Ed Orgeron

Tennessee - Butch Jones


TUESDAY, July 11

Florida - Jim McElwain

Georgia - Kirby Smart  

Vanderbilt - Derek Mason

Miss. State - Dan Mullen



Alabama - Nick Saban

Kentucky - Mark Stoops

Missouri - Barry Odom

Texas A&M - Kevin Sumlin



Auburn - Gus Malzahn

Ole Miss - Hugh Freeze

South Carolina - Will Muschamp

Game 3: Ole Miss 8, UNCW 6

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The Rebels just keep winning. Another top-25 team leaves Oxford with three losses after a weekend with Ole Miss. Ole Miss was dominant throughout the weekend, spending 21 innings of the 27 with a lead. The only time Ole Miss trailed was in the top half of the 8th inning of Saturday's game. Of course, that was followed by Ole Miss' big rally to grab the lead right back in the bottom half. Needless to say, it was a very impressive weekend for Ole Miss.

Key Moment: Ole Miss grabbed the lead with a five-run third inning and spent most of the game in control. Both teams added a run in the fifth, but UNCW's opportunity to make it a game came in the sixth inning. A single and a walk surrendered by Brady Feigl led to Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco going to reliever Andy Pagnozzi. Pagnozzi escaped the inning by leaving the bases loaded, but it was the second out that was the most remarkable. Grae Kessinger saved a run by using all of his vertical jump to snag a line drive. Getting out of that jam kept the Rebel lead at five runs. UNCW didn't go down without a fight in the ninth inning, but the Ole Miss lead was too large to completely overcome.

Player of the Game: Grae Kessinger. In particular, Kessinger's glove. The freshman was making plays all day at shortstop. In the fourth, he kept the lead off man from reaching by making an incredible play going into the hole to his right. Then in the sixth, he changed the complexion of the inning by going way up when he took away a line drive RBI base hit. If that ball gets over his head - like it would for most shortstops - the Seahawks' ninth inning rally may have been enough to change the outcome of the game.

Number of the Game: 7. Ole Miss is 7-0 on the young season. This is the fourth time under Mike Bianco that the Rebels have started 7-0. What's most impressive about these seven though is that six of them were against nationally ranked teams. Wins like that plus the brutal SEC slate makes it almost a certainty that Ole Miss will have one of the top RPIs in the nation. 

Quotable: "When it was hit, I thought 'I better jump really high,' Grae Kessinger said about grabbing the line drive. "It all worked out. Pitchers are throwing well. I was just trying my best to make a play."

Game 2: Ole Miss 8, UNCW 4

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Sure, this season is only six games old. However, it's apparent that it's not easy to put this Ole Miss baseball team away. They're young, but they have a knack for winning like a much older team. Just ask ECU and UNCW. Today, the Rebels had opportunities to swell their lead throughout the game but just couldn't get the hit to do so. It seemed like that would cost Ole Miss the game when the Seahawks took the lead for the first time this weekend with a three-run home run in the eighth. The bottom of the eighth proved that was not the case. The Rebels had another rally in them.

Key Moment: Nick Feight lifted a pitched over the left field wall for a three-run home run to give the Seahawks a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning. No big deal. Ole Miss would just answer right back. Ole Miss placed a five-spot on the board in the bottom of the eighth. Kessinger walked, was bunted over, and scored on a Tate Blackman single. The Rebels weren't settling for a tie game. They were going to do what they had failed to do earlier. Break the game open. Freshman Bryan Seamster barreled up a 3-2 pitch for a two-run homer to break that tie and bring on showers in right field. From there, the Rebels added two more runs of insurance. That's how you answer a three-run homer by an opponent. By throwing up a five spot in the bottom half of the same inning. 

Player of the Game: James McArthur. The win stat for pitchers isn't a good stat. Just look at what McArthur did today. He threw a brilliant six innings, keeping a no-hitter into the sixth inning. He struck out a career-high 11 batters in a dominating performance. He didn't get the win because the bullpen lost the slim lead, but that won't be the case most times he pitches like that. 

Number of the Game: 2. Seamster had one plate appearance and one hit coming into Saturday. You could say the second hit of his career was in a little bigger moment than his single against Arkansas State. It was the huge hit that clinched the series and kept the Rebels undefeated. 

Game 1: Ole Miss 7, UNCW 2

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Last weekend, Ole Miss had to come from behind for all three wins in the series sweep. Tonight against UNC Wilmington, the Rebels jumped ahead in the second inning and never looked back. Ole Miss used four in the second while adding another run in the fifth and two more in the eighth to open the series with a 7-2 Friday night win. UNCW threatened in the seventh by adding two runs, but Dallas Woolfolk entered and shut the door on a bigger inning. Ole Miss' pitching was dominant throughout the game, allowing just three hits while fanning 10 batters against a very good Seahawk offense. 

Player of the Game: David Parkinson. The junior sat down the first 12 batters he faced and by that time, the offense had supplied five runs. He had all four of his pitches working for him for most of the game, working six innings and allowing just one run. Outside of the seventh inning where he was pulled and allowed the one earned run, UNCW managed only one runner in scoring position. He once again pounded the strike zone, throwing 60 of his 95 pitches for strikes. 

Key Moment: UNCW's starting pitcher Alex Royalty walked three batters in the second inning. Ole Miss made him pay for it. An RBI-walk from Cooper Johnson, an RBI-single from Grae Kessinger, a Ryan Olenek sac fly, and a Will Golsan RBI-single supplied the Rebels with a 4-0 lead that would never be relinquished. 

Number of the Game: 3. On Friday nights against quality opponents, taking advantage of opportunities is obviously key. The Rebels had a runner reach third with less than two outs three times Friday night. All three times, Ole Miss brought him home. On the other hand, UNCW never managed a hit with runners on base (0-for-10). 

Quotable: "David (Parkinson) was terrific, especially early," Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. "He got some help with them chasing his fastball, but his fastball had a lot of life tonight. He mixed four pitches into the strike zone much like he did last weekend and worked both sides of the plate. He looked like he was in control."

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."

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