OLE MISS

Ole Miss hit 23 home runs in 62 games a season ago, and no player had more than five home runs. Through 24 games this season, the Rebels have hit 19, led by six from junior first baseman Sikes Orvis.

Orvis led the barrage Saturday with a pair of home runs, his second and third of the weekend, and senior catcher Will Allen also homered, as Ole Miss clinched the series against Missouri with a 7-1 win.

"The guys who drive them out have always been able to do it, but it's more about having the confidence and approach and being aggressive," Orvis said. "Guys are wanting to come out and hit them in the mouth early, swinging hard and swinging early in the count, getting good swing offs and trying to run into balls. All of the stuff that (strength and conditioning coach) Ben (Fleming) made us do has definitely made us stronger, so the guys are starting to drive it out even better now."

"He's feeling good," head coach Mike Bianco said. "I'm proud of him. He's come a long way since his freshman year. This is the guy we knew he could be and expected him to be. Defensively, too, since getting here, he was worked hard with Coach Godwin and worked in the weight room to improve his body. He's having a great year."

Recruited to be next Matt Snyder, a 10th-round draft pick of the New York Yankees in 2012, Orvis knew he had big shoes to fill when he arrived from Orlando, Fla., as Snyder finished his career tied for second all-time in Ole Miss history with 41 home runs and finished third all-time with 173 RBI.

After hitting .232 as a freshman and .237 as a sophomore, Orvis has also upped his batting average to .325, one of six regulars in the Ole Miss lineup hitting over .300, to go along with his team-leading six home runs.

"I heard that earlier in my career," said Orvis of the Snyder comparison. "Last year, I had a little trouble, but it's starting to come back a little bit. They brought me in to do what Snyder did. They're big shoes to fill, but I'm trying to do my best. 

"Obviously, I'm not here to run around the outfield or steal bases. I'm here to drive balls into the gap and over the fence and get people in, and that's what Snyder did for four years. That's definitely what I want to try to do."

In game one of last Saturday's doubleheader at No. 1 South Carolina, junior right-hander Josh Laxer allowed three runs in the ninth, as the Gamecocks rallied to win 5-4 in 10 innings.

On Wednesday, Laxer bounced back and earned the save in a 4-3 win for Ole Miss over Arkansas State. He followed that outing with a five-out save, his third save of the season, to close out a 4-3 win over Missouri in the Rebels' SEC home opener Friday night.

"Coach B sat me down after that game, and he said I went in there and did what he wanted me to do, which was throw strikes," said Laxer, referring to the 5-4 loss at South Carolina. "He told me if I wanted to be the closer for this team that I to have to have a short memory, and that's what I tried to do."

"He was terrific," head coach Mike Bianco said. "I'm really proud of him. He's done that basically the whole year."

Missouri had cut the Ole Miss lead from 4-0 to 4-3 on three-straight base hits in the eighth when Bianco called for Laxer out of the bullpen, the Rebels' fourth different pitcher of the inning. He inherited the would-be game-tying run at first with one out.

Laxer struck out the first batter, and senior catcher Will Allen erased the runner at first throwing him out at second on an attempted steal. He came back out for the ninth and worked a scoreless inning, punctuated by his strikeout of the game.

"I was kind of expecting to go in in the ninth, but I'm learning slowly but surely," Laxer said. "I'm not used to coming out of the pen, but you have to get ready fast. That's what I had to do and I did. I was just happy to come in and get outs for my team."

Ole Miss staked a 4-0 lead after three runs in the first and another in the third. Senior third baseman Austin Anderson hit a two-run home run into the right-field bullpen, and junior first baseman Sikes Orvis followed with a solo shot to nearly the same area two batters later in the first.

Down 4-0, Missouri threatened in the fifth with runners at second and third and no outs, but Ellis limited the damage to one run. For the game, Ellis allowed one run -- unearned -- on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts, as he lowered his earned run average from 0.82 to 0.67. 

"It was his best outing in three or four weeks," Bianco said. "He had good command with all three pitches. He got ahead on a lot of hitters."

"Mental toughness is a lot of it," said Ellis of his ability to strand runners this season, including five against Missouri. "(Strength and conditioning coach) Ben Fleming kicking our butts in the weight room helps a lot with it, and not just trying to throw it by people like last year but being able to make pitches."



Ole Miss hit 23 home runs in 62 games a season ago, and no player had more than five home runs. Through 24 games this season, the Rebels have hit 19, led by six from junior first baseman Sikes Orvis.

Orvis led the barrage Saturday with a pair of home runs, his second and third of the weekend, and senior catcher Will Allen also homered, as Ole Miss clinched the series against Missouri with a 7-1 win.

"The guys who drive them out have always been able to do it, but it's more about having the confidence and approach and being aggressive," Orvis said. "Guys are wanting to come out and hit them in the mouth early, swinging hard and swinging early in the count, getting good swing offs and trying to run into balls. All of the stuff that (strength and conditioning coach) Ben (Fleming) made us do has definitely made us stronger, so the guys are starting to drive it out even better now."

"He's feeling good," head coach Mike Bianco said. "I'm proud of him. He's come a long way since his freshman year. This is the guy we knew he could be and expected him to be. Defensively, too, since getting here, he was worked hard with Coach Godwin and worked in the weight room to improve his body. He's having a great year."

Recruited to be next Matt Snyder, a 10th-round draft pick of the New York Yankees in 2012, Orvis knew he had big shoes to fill when he arrived from Orlando, Fla., as Snyder finished his career tied for second all-time in Ole Miss history with 41 home runs and finished third all-time with 173 RBI.

After hitting .232 as a freshman and .237 as a sophomore, Orvis has also upped his batting average to .325, one of six regulars in the Ole Miss lineup hitting over .300, to go along with his team-leading six home runs.

"I heard that earlier in my career," said Orvis of the Snyder comparison. "Last year, I had a little trouble, but it's starting to come back a little bit. They brought me in to do what Snyder did. They're big shoes to fill, but I'm trying to do my best. 

"Obviously, I'm not here to run around the outfield or steal bases. I'm here to drive balls into the gap and over the fence and get people in, and that's what Snyder did for four years. That's definitely what I want to try to do."


Rebels25, an Ole Miss Athletics Foundation membership program for fans ages 25 and under, continue its spring of activities for members with a crawfish boil at Friday night's SEC home baseball opener vs. Missouri.

The event starts at 5:30 p.m. in right field of Oxford-University Stadium and will be free admission for the first 50-70 Rebels25 members and eligible, potential Rebels25 members. 

Student admission for the game is free, and discounted $5 baseball game tickets are available for non-student members. Participating members will also receive a Rebels25 stadium cup member gift.

Launched in October, Rebels25 now has over a hundred members. For as low as $25, the Rebels25 program offers Rebel Level membership, double priority points, ticket promotions and exclusive networking opportunities. 

For more information, visit Rebels25.com and GiveToAthletics.com

Studio 18 Live - March 19, 2014 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.

Athletics Director Ross Bjork recaps the 2013-14 men's and women's basketball seasons and shares his thoughts on Auburn hiring Bruce Pearl as men's basketball coach.


Chadwick Top Moments: No. 19

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1997_SEC_Champions.jpgContinuing with 1997, we reveal moment No. 19 in our chronological countdown of the top moments in Ole Miss head coach Billy Chadwick's tenure.  Today, we highlight one of the prestigious team moments that the Rebels encountered that year.

It is well documented how difficult and rugged the Southeastern Conference is; there are no bad teams.  Not only are the teams not bad, the majority of the teams annually rank among the nation's top 25 in the country.  In 1997, the SEC had six teams finish in the top 10 of the ITA national rankings.  In that same year, the Rebels captured the overall SEC Championship  for the second straight year.  

The Rebels posted a 12-2 conference record on their way to becoming champions of the best league in college tennis.  The Rebels led the SEC with three players named to the All-SEC First Team: Johan Hede (third consecutive year), Johan Landsberg, and Sebastien DeChaunac.  The Rebels ended conference play, including the SEC Tournament, on a 10-game winning streak that included wins over No. 30 Florida (4-2), No. 3 Mississippi State (5-2), at No.5 Kentucky (6-1) and No. 2 Georgia (4-2).  The Rebels finished the season 25-4 overall, 12-2 in the SEC.

With three additional moments from 1997 that even further proves the Rebels as one of the top programs in all of college tennis, do not miss out on the remembrance of these great events.  Stay tuned.

Follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis and on Facebook at OleMissMTennis.

Special assistance from Media Relations student Wesley Boock.

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (March 10-16)

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Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
March 10-16, 2014

Track & Field
- Ole Miss finished tied for 24th in the final men's team standings at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M.
- It was the second straight top-25 NCAA indoor finish and third straight top-25 NCAA finish overall for head coach Brian O'Neal's men. The Rebels placed 23rd at last year's indoor meet and a program-best eighth at last year's outdoor championships.
- Junior Sam Kendricks finished runner-up in the pole vault at the conclusion of a world-class duel between the top American and top Canadian vaulter, Akron's Shawn Barber.
- Kendricks matched his own school record and the best mark by an American this year at 18-8.25, but Barber was one bar better at 18-10.25 (a new Canadian national record).
- Freshman Jalen Miller advanced to the final of the 60-meter dash, where he placed eighth to score one team point for the Rebels. He's the first Ole Miss men's freshman to score points in the 60 at the NCAA indoor meet since teammate Mike Granger in 2010.
- The Rebels begin outdoor season this week when they host the Ole Miss Open on Saturday at the Ole Miss Track & Field Complex. Admission is free.

Baseball
- The Rebels went 3-2 in week-five action, taking both games at Southeastern Louisiana before dropping the series at top-ranked South Carolina.
- Auston Bousfield hit the first grand slam of his career to push the Rebels to a 6-4 win at No. 1 South Carolina in the series opener Friday.
- Ole Miss returns home from a five-game road trip to host Arkansas State and Missouri this week at Swayze Field.

Men's Basketball
- Ole Miss knocked off Mississippi State 78-66 in the second round of the SEC Tournament Thursday before falling to Georgia 75-73 in the quarterfinals on Friday.
- Senior Marshall Henderson and junior Jarvis Summers each scored 21 points as the Rebels rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit to beat Mississippi State. Henderson hit seven 3-pointers on an SEC Tournament record 19 attempts in the game.
- Henderson and Summers combined for 45 points, but the Rebels fell to Georgia 75-73 in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals.
- Henderson finished his Ole Miss career with a 3-pointer in an SEC record 66-straight games and ranks third on the Rebel career list with 267 3-pointers.

Men's Tennis
- The Rebels split their weekend matches, downing No. 23 Vanderbilt 4-1 and then falling in a close match to No. 15 Kentucky 4-1, to conclude their four-match SEC road trip 2-2.
- Nik Scholtz rallied to knock off the nation's No. 10 ranked player, Tom Jomby, of Kentucky, handing the Wildcat just his second loss of the season. It marked the first ever meeting between the two players. Scholtz was also leading 16th-ranked Gonzales Austin of Vanderbilt when play was stopped after the Rebels clinched the match. Scholtz is 4-0 at No. 1 singles with six unfinished matches on the season.
- Freshman Ricardo Jorge won his match against Vanderbilt at No. 5 singles in straight sets to set up his teammate's match-clinching win. Jorge improved to 4-1 at No. 5 singles.
- The Rebels begin a five-match home stand Wednesday, hosting No. 5 Southern California at 2 p.m. at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center.

Women's Tennis
- The Rebels went 2-1 last week, downing VCU 6-1, falling in a very close match to No. 11 Vanderbilt 4-3 and then defeating No. 24 Kentucky 4-2 to end the week. The Rebels (8-5, 2-4 SEC) have now won six-straight against Kentucky.
- Freshman Zalina Khairudinova picked up two ranked wins last week, beating 73rd-ranked Cindy Chala of VCU and 63rd-ranked Georgina Sellyn of Vanderbilt. Khairudinova also won in straight sets Sunday to clinch the win against Kentucky. She improved to 5-3 at No. 1 singles.
- Khairudinova and junior Julia Jones improved to 12-3 overall in doubles, 9-3 at No. 3.
- Sophomore Mai El Kamash became the first 20-match winner of the season, with her comeback win at No. 4 singles against Kentucky.

Rifle
- Freshman Alison Weisz shot a 587 to finish 16th in air rifle in her first ever NCAA Championships.
- She ended the year with a team-leading 586.5 average in air rifle, including a career-best 594 at Memphis, one off the school record. She averaged 589.7 in her last eight matches.
- Weisz became the first freshman in the history of the program to qualify for the NCAA Championships as well as earn all-conference honors.

Softball
- Ole Miss opened with a midweek, road doubleheader at ULM and closed it out with a tough three-game series at home against No. 9 Alabama, finishing 1-4 for the week.
- Redshirt-freshman second baseman Alyssa Invergo led Ole Miss at the plate throughout the week with a team-high seven hits, highlighted by a double, a pair of home runs, a team-high six runs and a team-high tying four RBI.
- After dropping the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader at ULM, Ole Miss rebounded in a big way to dispatch the Warhawks 11-1 in five innings, including 10 runs in the final three innings of the game.
- Ole Miss will remain in Oxford this week when it hosts Louisiana Tech on Wednesday, followed by a three-game series against Arkansas beginning Friday. The Rebels and Razorbacks' game Sunday will be featured on Fox Sports at 3 p.m. CT.

Women's Golf
- The Ole Miss women's golf team picked up its first top-five finish of the spring, taking fourth at the 2014 Clover Cup in Mesa, Ariz. Sophomore Abby Newton led Ole Miss carding a three-day score of 221 (76-72-72--221). The Rebels' top-five finish was their first since taking runner-up honors at the Tar Heel Invitational last fall.
- The Rebels had two eagles on the weekend. Juniors Stani Schiavone and Taelor Rubin both carded eagles on the weekend. The pair both nailed eagles on No. 15 at the Longbow Golf Course in Mesa, Ariz.
- Ole Miss hits the links in Maui, Hawaii, next week. The Rebels will play Kapalua Bay at the Anuenue Spring Break Classic hosted by Hawaii. Ole Miss will then return home to host the 2014 Rebel Intercollegiate at the Ole Miss Golf Course April 4-6.

Men's Golf
- The Ole Miss men's golf team competed at the Chris Schenkel Invitational hosted by Georgia Southern University at the Forrest Heights Country Club in Statesboro, Ga.
- Junior Blake Morris led the team with a three-round score of even-par 216. Morris finished in a tie for 15th place, marking his sixth top-20 finish of the season.
- As a team, Ole Miss placed eighth, finishing ahead of SEC-foes No. 28 Kentucky and Florida.
- The Rebels will return to action April 7 at the Old Waverly Collegiate Championship in West Point, Miss.

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