Head coach Mike Bianco gathered his team before the fifth inning, and Ole Miss responded with five runs in the fifth inning and four in the sixth. Home runs from Auston Bousfield and Sikes Orvis highlighted the offensive barrage, as the Rebels pounded out 17 hits in a 9-1 win over Georgia State Saturday at Swayze Field.
"I gave them a little pep talk," Bianco said. I was frustrated. I was frustrated that we haven't played better at home. I was frustrated that we hadn't swung it better. I challenged them a little bit, and it's nice when they respond."
Trailing 1-0 entering the bottom of the fifth, Bousfield tied the game at 1-1 with a leadoff home run to left field. After singles from Will Allen and Preston Overbey, Sikes Orvis gave Ole Miss a 4-1 lead with a three-run homer to right center. The Rebels batted around, and Bousfield drove in another run with an infield single to the shortstop.
Ole Miss added four runs in the sixth to extend the lead to 9-1. Bousfield, Allen and Overbey all finished with three hits, while Orvis, Colby Bortles and Errol Robinson also had multi-hit games for the Rebels.
"Coach B brought us up and got onto us a little bit," said Bousfield of the pep talk. "He told us to have some better at-bats. It was nice, first pitch I saw the next inning, I got a good piece of it. It got the offense clicking there in the middle part of the game."
On the mound, Christian Trent allowed one run on three hits with no walks and six strikeouts in 7.0 innings of work. After the second inning, he allowed just one hit and did not allow a base runner to get into scoring position. Josh Laxer closed things out, giving up just one hit with a walk and three strikeouts in the eighth and ninth innings.
"He was terrific," Bianco said. "He pitched very similar to the way Chris did last night. He had a great mix of three pitches and really kept them off balance."
"I felt like I wasn't find my pitches right at the beginning of the game," Trent said. "I had a little bit of nerves with the first game at home. We settled in. Offensively, it was not coming early. We were still getting guys on, but then it was a breakthrough when it finally happened."
With the win, the Diamond Rebels improve to 6-0 on the season and will go for their second weekend series sweep Sunday against Georgia State at 1:30 p.m. at Swayze Field.
Marshall Henderson hit five 3-pointers and scored all 22 of his points in the first half, as Ole Miss and No. 2 Florida went into halftime tied 42-42. It was the most points that the Gators, who led the Southeastern Conference in scoring defense (57.8), had allowed in a half this season.
In the second half, Florida held Henderson to 0-of-6 shooting, including 0-for-5 from the 3-point line, as the Gators held the Rebels to 29 second-half points in a 75-71 win Saturday in Oxford.
"In the second half, we had our chances," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "We gave a winning effort, but you have to make plays to beat what will be the number one team in the nation in a couple of days. You have to make plays. We had our chances. We were up three or four. We had untimely turnovers, dribbling off our leg, not finishing plays and when Marshall does not score in the second half, it limits our options."
"He had similar looks," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. "Maybe we stretched him a little bit in terms of pushing him further out than he was in the first half. I have said this before with him. You're not going to prevent him from shooting the ball. He's just going to shoot it from wherever he gets it, and a lot of times you're at the mercy of whether it goes in or not. In the second half, it did not go in as much as it certainly did in the first half."
Coming out of the under-eight media timeout, Florida scored five straight points to take a 64-59 lead with 4:43 left, and Ole Miss could not cut into the lead the rest of the way, as the Gators made their free throws down the stretch to close out the win.
The shooting numbers and rebounding numbers were comparable, with Florida shooting 44.4 percent from the field, while Ole Miss shot 45 percent. Florida won the rebounding battle, 34-32, but the Gators turned it into a 21-8 advantage in second-chance points.
"You can't keep getting outrebounded," Kennedy said. "We play a possessions game. We shot 45 percent from the floor, and they shot 44 percent from the floor. We have to find someone who can go get hard rebounds. Maybe when those freshmen become sophomores can go get them. Maybe those juniors once they become veterans can go get them. I don't know. It's certainly been an issue for us from day one, and it continues today. We all know what the problem is. We have to keep working on fixing it."
Since a 91-88 win over Missouri two Saturdays ago, Ole Miss has lost four straight entering its last four games of the regular season starting with Alabama at home Wednesday. The rest of the way, Kennedy said, the focus is not on the NCAA Tournament but simply improvement and winning a game.
"I haven't one time said we were an NCAA Tournament team," Kennedy said. "I know that has to be in every sentence and every category. We haven't earned our way into that conversation, so we're not relevant as it relates to that conversation left. This time last year, we weren't relevant either. We still have five basketball games left, and if we can win our share of those five, maybe we earn our way into that conversation."
"We did what we needed to do earlier in conference play. We had a couple of heartbreaking losses on the road. We had two opportunities here at home, and we did not get it done, bottom line. I'm not talking NCAA Tournament with this team. Let's improve. Let's win a game. It's been two weeks since we have a won game, which seems like an eternity. Let's get back focused on Alabama."
Redshirt sophomore Kaitlin Voll, will
be serving as the Ole Miss women's golf blogger this weekend. She will be
sharing some behind-the-scenes moments as the team opens the spring season at
the AllState Sugar Bowl Classic in New Orleans.
Headed to NOLA!
After a delish and nutrish lunch from
1810, several U-turns later and 307 miles the Lady Rebels pull up in NOLA just
in time to put the Ole Miss Sprinter van in the Mardi Gras parade. This morning
the alarm clock in Katie, Taelor and Alison's room goes off an hour before
breakfast so let's just say it no longer will be a problem anymoreJ
This Saturday we are in our outfit of
champions... LOUD MOUTH! Getting prepared for our practice round and harnessing
the big energy of the city. During the drive I had full intentions of
studying and preparing for tests next week, but decide to try and rap. Not
common I know, but this is what I came up with.
NOLA Rap (Ole Miss Women's Golf Style)
game is so fresh and clean,
The team dominates the green.
needs that cocoa bean
she does her preshot routine.
in Tulane we remain
that it doesn't rain.
got swings like, Morgan/
roll up in our "war vessel",
coach didn't forget Ethel.
other girls try to be like tiger,
just wanna hit that driver.
the pin is what she seeks
can see it all over Alison cheeks.
are on top our peak for the week.
the other girl golf because
watched her hit it into the gulf.
is our assistant Coach,
helps us get our landing approach,
covered up to her chin,
don't blame her, I'm like her identical twin.
aims at the bell tower
hitting it 130 miles per hour
the ball is soaring,
is definitely scoring.
wants to wear pink but we all gotta be in sync
uses it as her marking ink.
suited up in Nike fresh to death
to tee it up and take a deep breath.
better respect the Lady Rebels
we are on that next level.
is just a lil taste,
Cuz i don't got time to waste.
Well that's all I got! I'll keep you Rebel fans updated on the course
and conditions after the practice round today!
Last time out, Ole Miss rallied to get within six, down 76-70, with 1:49 left, but fell 84-70 to No. 18 Kentucky in Oxford Tuesday. It was the Rebels' third straight loss, having lost heartbreakers at Alabama and at Georgia the previous week.
Ole Miss looks to snap its current losing streak and notch a marquee win, as it hosts No. 2 Florida, which has won each of its first 13 SEC games and a school-record 18 straight games after a 71-66 home win over Auburn Wednesday.
"I know that we have the No. 2-ranked team in the country coming into our building in a couple of days, and my hope is that they will be excited about having that opportunity," said head coach Andy Kennedy of his team's mindset entering Saturday's game.
Florida, ranked No. 3 in the latest Ratings Percentage Index (ESPN.com), is not only an opportunity for Ole Miss to boost its RPI, which has dropped to No. 75, but a win over the Gators would give the program its highest-ever win over a ranked opponent.
"They're a very good basketball team," Kennedy said. "The four seniors, they are better collectively than they are when you start breaking them down individually. That's not a slight on them individually, but they are truly a consummate team. It's Billy (Donovan)'s job since I have been a part of the league for eight years, and one of those was a national championship.
"He's maximized this group, and they have developed guys that were 'role players' in the past into all-league-type players. I have been really, really impressed with them as a team. We're going to have to play an 'A' game to give ourselves a chance from an effort and efficiency standpoint. We have to make sure that we take the right approach to have a chance to beat a team of their caliber."
The Gators lead the Southeastern Conference in scoring defense (57.8 ppg) and scoring margin (+12.8). On the glass, where Ole Miss ranks last in rebounding margin (-4.1), Florida ranks third in rebounding margin (+5.8), second in defensive rebounding percentage (70.7%) and fourth in offensive rebounding percentage (37.3%).
"We have to do what we do," said Kennedy of Florida's defensive pressure. "We have to be efficient. We weren't very efficient against Kentucky, and they exposed us. We have to be efficient because I don't anticipate the game being as many possessions based on the way that they play. We have to be efficient offensively."
Four players average double figures for the Gators, led by two of the four seniors in Casey Prather and Scottie Wilbekin, who average 15.7 and 13.6 points per game, respectively. Prather also leads the league and ranks fourth in the nation with a 62.8 field goal percentage. Kennedy said he anticipates Wilbekin to guard Marshall Henderson, who leads the SEC and ranks third in the nation averaging 4.48 3-pointers per game. Henderson also ranks third in the league in scoring at 20.2 ppg.
"He's a terrific on-ball defender," Kennedy said. "Our anticipation would be that he is going to guard Marshall off the ball. He's very, very good at fighting through screens and reading defenses. He has improved his ability to make plays with the ball. In the past, he has always deferred, whether it be to Kenny Boynton or whether it be to Erik Murphy, whoever it may be. Now he's the guy. When the game is on the line, he's going to make plays off the bounce."
"Andy (Kennedy) puts him in a lot of really, really good situations for him," said Florida head coach Billy Donovan of Henderson. "Since I have been in this league, I don't recall a players as fast as he is coming off screens and getting shots off. He is incredible doing that. There are times that you play really, really good defense and it doesn't make a difference. That's probably a tribute to Henderson and his ability to shoot the ball. He is a unique, talented player. The thing that I admire most about him is what a great competitor he is and how much he loves playing. He's certainly a handful to get ready for, but they also have a lot of other good players besides who him are playing well."
After six shutout innings against Stetson in his first Friday start, Chris Ellis followed it up with his first career complete-game shutout, as Ole Miss blanked Georgia State 3-0 Friday at Swayze Field.
The junior from Birmingham, Ala., allowed just five hits with no walks and four strikeouts in nine scoreless innings. Ellis did allow a runner to reach third base and allowed just two runners in scoring position for the game. He was also efficient on the mound, throwing 67 of his 101 pitches for strikes. He also stayed around 90 mph with his fast ball and touched 91 mph in the ninth inning.
"I like having the beer showers after the game and pitching at night and having all these fans out there," Ellis said. "It's a great atmosphere. It makes it a lot easier to pitch."
"The difference today was a great three-pitch mix," head coach Mike Bianco said. "He was able to throw his change-up into the strike zone early on and was able to throw his fastball in, which was a difference-maker in a lot of at-bats. He was terrific. Even the few times that they threatened, he was able to control the running game and make pitches, and he had terrific defense behind him."
Ole Miss staked a 2-0 lead in the second after Will Jamison singled to right to score Sikes Orvis, and then Preston Overbey came around to score on the throw to second. The Rebels added an insurance run in the fourth on a bases-loaded walk to Braxton Lee, but the first two runs were all Ellis needed.
"In the second inning, Jamison got the big hit," Ellis said. "Once you get a lead, it's a little bit easier to pitch. They start pressing for runs. You let the defense work behind you, and we turned a couple of double plays. We were really sound defensively."
"He was lights out today," Overbey said. "It's fun to play defense behind a guy like that."
Georgia State threatened in the eighth after a leadoff single. A ground ball back to the pitcher advanced the runner, but Ellis got a line out and his fourth strikeout to strand the runner at second.
With Aaron Greenwood warming up in the bullpen, Bianco stayed with Ellis for the ninth, and he answered with a 1-2-3 inning to close things out.
"The biggest decision was (Ellis) at 88 pitches and having watched the last at-bat against Prain that you knew he could finish instead of struggle through that eighth," Bianco said. "He gives up a first-pitch base hit, and it looked like he cruised after that, so it looked like he was in pretty good control."
"After I finished the eighth, Coach Bianco came up to me and wanted to know if I wanted to finish," Ellis said. "Of course, the competitor in you wants to finish."
For our 28th moment, we will cap this week off by highlighting a major team accomplishment for coach Billy Chadwick during his rise and transformation of the Ole Miss Tennis program.
In 1994, the Rebels became the first team in Ole Miss Tennis history to finish a season ranked in the top 10 in the national polls. During this historic season, Ole Miss received many honors league and nationwide. The Rebels qualified more players for the NCAA than any other team in the country, led the league in players selected to the All-SEC team (3), and finished tied for 10th in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll.
As the No. 25 ranked doubles team in the country, Joakim Appelqvist teamed with Ali Hamadeh to claim the Rolex Region III Doubles Championship as well as the SEC Doubles Championship. All while a familiar and recurring name, freshman Mahesh Bhupathi, was named National ITA Rookie of the Year and joined Appelqvist and Hamadeh on the All-SEC team.
In addition, the All-American, Appelqvist reached the Final Four of the NCAA Championships, further than any men's tennis player in the state of Mississippi had ever reached at the time.
The Rebels finished the season with an overall record of 17-8 and were a constant name inside the top 15 throughout the year. The Rebels posted five shutout wins in SEC play; most notable was the blanking of No. 4 Kentucky 7-0.
Appelqvist also helped lead the Rebels to the NCAA Region III Championship, while being recognized as one of the great student-athletes in the league. Appelqvist was an ITA Academic All-American and joined Ivan Trevino as an SEC Academic Honor Roll selection.
Mahesh Bhupathi caught the eyes of the entire tennis world as a true freshman. However, just as we are only getting started on our countdown, Bhupathi was only getting started on leaving his mark as one of the most decorated tennis players in Ole Miss history.
Stay tuned for No. 27 next week as Bhupathi and the Rebels take their game and the program to an even higher level.
Video courtesy Ben Love, Publisher, TigerSportsDigest
2013 World Championships,
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mary ashton nall,
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Meet The Rebels Day,
Mississippi State Basketball,
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