Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review March 3-10, 2014
Baseball - Ole Miss improved to 14-2 on the season with a series sweep of UALR this past weekend that included the team's fifth walk-off win of the season. - The Rebels moved up to No. 12 (USA Today/Coaches) in the national rankings with the release of the latest national polls Monday. - Freshman infielder Brantley Bell paced the Rebels with a .533 performance at the plate, including the game-tying run and game-winning hit vs. UALR on Friday night. - Junior right-handed pitcher Sam Smith improved to 3-0 on the season with his quality start against UALR on Sunday to clinch the series sweep.
Softball - Ole Miss completed a long, arduous week of softball last week. The Rebels opened the week by splitting a doubleheader in Salt Lake City on Monday, followed by a doubleheader sweep at home Tuesday before opening SEC play Friday at Gainesville, Fla., where the Rebels took one of three against the No. 1 ranked Florida Gators. - Senior pitcher Carly Hummel had a fantastic week. Hummel threw the first perfect game in program history Monday in a 5-0 win over Utah State, and followed that performance with a three-hit, complete game shutout victory at No. 1 Florida. For her work, Hummel became the first Rebel to be named SEC Pitcher of the Week since 2009. - Hummel finished the week with a team-high 20.0 innings of action, throwing a complete game in each of her three appearances. She posted a team-best ERA of 0.70, struck out a team-high 27 batters and walked just two. Her perfect game Monday is the only such performance in the SEC this season, and was just the fifth no-hit performance in Ole Miss history. - Ole Miss' 2-0 victory at No. 1 Florida on Friday was its first win over a No. 1 ranked opponent since 2007, and was just the program's second ever such victory. - Ole Miss has now won its SEC opener each of the past three seasons, including back-to-back seasons with SEC-opening wins over top-15 ranked opponents. The Rebels opened the 2013 season with a 3-1 win at No. 15 Kentucky.
Men's Basketball - Ole Miss knocked off Vanderbilt 65-62 on Senior Day on Saturday. Senior guard Marshall Henderson, who was honored before the game, scored 11 second-half points as the Rebels erased a 12-point second half deficit to knock off the Commodores. - Head coach Andy Kennedy picked up his 170th career win at Ole Miss and moved past Florida's Billy Donovan and Alabama's Wimp Sanderson for the third-most wins in SEC history by a coach in his first eight years in the league at one school. - Henderson extended his own SEC record with a 3-pointer in his 64th-straight game - The Rebels earned the No. 6 seed in the upcoming SEC Tournament. Ole Miss will be looking to defend last year's title as it opens play Thursday vs. the winner of the Mississippi State-Vanderbilt matchup.
Women's Basketball - The Ole Miss women's basketball team advanced to the second round of the 2014 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament with a thrilling 63-62 win over Arkansas in opening round action Wednesday. The win was Ole Miss' first win in the SEC Tournament since the 2010 Tournament. - Ole Miss concluded the 2013-14 season Thursday with a 70-54 loss to Auburn. Ole Miss concluded the season with a 12-20, 2-14 SEC record and advanced to the second round of the SEC Tournament. The loss marked the end of the collegiate careers for Valencia McFarland, Kenyotta Jenkins and Diara Moore. - McFarland concludes her collegiate career as Ole Miss' No. 6 scorer with 1,655 career points. She also landed a spot on Ole Miss' single-season assists list. Her 201 assists in 2013-14 are the third most in a season at Ole Miss.
Men's Tennis - The Rebels split the weekend, downing No. 13 Tennessee 4-1 and then falling to No. 16 Georgia 4-0 on the road. - The Rebels have now won four straight against Tennessee. It also marked the first time this year for the Rebels to come back and win after losing the doubles point. - William Kallberg knocked off No. 21 ranked Hunter Reese of Tennessee to clinch the win. It marked Kallberg's best win of the year and his best since a win over the nation's No. 3 ranked player his freshman year. - The Rebels continue their road swing this weekend at No. 18 Vanderbilt and No. 22 Kentucky.
Women's Tennis - The Rebels split a pair of matches this past weekend, defeating Tennessee 5-2 and then losing to No. 11 Georgia 5-2. The victory over Tennessee marked the Rebels third straight win against the Lady Vols in Oxford. - In the win over Tennessee, freshman Zalina Khairudinova earned her best win of the season, upsetting No. 55 ranked Eve Repic at No. 1 singles. - Khairudinova and Julia Jones are 10-2 on the year overall, 7-2 at No. 3 doubles. - The Rebels continue their five match homestand with a midweek match against VCU Wednesday at Noon. On Friday, the Rebels will host No. 7 Vanderbilt at 3 p.m. followed by No. 22 Kentucky on Sunday at noon.
Men's Golf - The Ole Miss men's golf team competed at the Querencia Cabo Intercollegiate hosted by Southern Methodist University at the Los Cabos Querencia Golf Club in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. - Freshman Ben Wolcott led the team with a three-round score of 220. Wolcott finished in a tie for 18th place, marking his second top-20 finish of the season. - As a team, Ole Miss finished the tournament tied for 10th place with Lamar University. The Rebels posted a three-round total of 898. - The Rebels will be back in action March 14 at the Chris Schenkel Invitational in Statesboro, Ga.
Football - The Ole Miss football team began spring practice on Tuesday and totaled three workouts in the first week before spring break. - Among the new faces to the team this spring are high school early enrollees C.J. Hampton (DB), Kendrick Doss (QB) and Marquis Haynes (DE) and junior college transfers Jeremy Liggins (QB/TE) and Christian Russell (LB). - Also enjoying the spring are Anthony Alford (DB) and Fadol Brown (DE), who are preparing to play this fall after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. - Ten players, assistant coach Tom Allen and team chaplain John Powell are doing mission work in Haiti during spring break. Among the players on the trip are Justin Bell, Serderius Bryant, Ryan Buchanan, Deterrian Shackelford and John Youngblood. - The Rebels will return to the practice fields after spring break on Monday, March 17. - Practices that will be held at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and open to the public are slated for March 22, March 29, April 4 and April 5 (Grove Bowl).
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review Feb. 24-March 2, 2014
Baseball - Ole Miss posted four straight walk-off wins this past week on the way to two wins over ULM and a sweep of UCF. - Junior right-handed pitcher Chris Ellis has not allowed an earned run through three starts, and only one run total in 22.0 innings. - Sophomore left-handed pitcher Christian Trent has not allowed a walk through three starts and 20.1 innings of work. - The Rebels continue to play at home with a midweek game against Memphis and a weekend series against UALR.
Men's Basketball - Ole Miss split a pair of games last week, knocking off Alabama 79-67 at home Wednesday before falling to Texas A&M 71-60 on the road Sunday. - Sophomore Martavious Newby posted his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, as Ole Miss rolled Alabama. Jarvis Summers scored 20 points and sparked a decisive first-half surge to help lift the Rebels to the win. - Senior Marshall Henderson broke Pat Bradley's Southeastern Conference record with his 61st consecutive game with a 3-point shot, breaking the mark on his first attempt from the field vs. Alabama. Henderson now has hit a 3-pointer in 62 straight games and has at least two 3-pointers in 61 of his 62 career games with the Rebels. - The win over Alabama was Andy Kennedy's 169th career win at Ole Miss, which moved him into a tie with Billy Donovan and Wimp Sanderson for the third-most wins by a coach in their first eight seasons in the league at one school. - Summers had a team-high 18 points and Henderson added 16 points in the Rebels' road loss at Texas A&M on Saturday. Ole Miss travels to Arkansas Wednesday before hosting Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Women's Basketball - The Ole Miss women's basketball team closed out the regular season with a 73-71 overtime win over Auburn on Senior Day. - The Rebels' win snapped a nine-game losing streak and gave the Rebels a 9-7 record at the Tad Smith Coliseum this season. - Ole Miss is the No. 14 seed for this week's SEC Tournament held in Duluth, Ga. Ole Miss will face the No. 11 seed Arkansas on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. CT. Ole Miss is making its first appearance in the SEC Tournament since 2011-12.
Track & Field - The Ole Miss men claimed SEC titles in the pole vault and distance medley relay to highlight a seventh-place team performance at the SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by Texas A&M. - Sam Kendricks, a junior from Oxford, Miss., won his first SEC title in the pole vault with a clearance of 18-2 to score 10 team points. It was the second SEC indoor pole vault title in school history (Baker Vinci, 1985), and Kendricks added one more accolade to his list that already included an NCAA outdoor title and three All-America honors. - Ole Miss also won an SEC crown in the distance medley relay, with a squad composed of three freshmen (Robert Domanic, Will Spiers, Sean Tobin) and a senior (Montez Griffin). Tobin ran an amazing anchor leg for the victory in 9:39.54, which nearly broke the SEC meet record of 9:39.06 set by Alabama in 2011. It was the Rebels' first ever SEC title in the distance medley relay. - Other top performances at the SEC meet included Tobin's runner-up finish in the mile and freshman Jalen Miller's third-place effort in the 60 meters. - Ole Miss now awaits for the final declaration of athletes for the NCAA Championships (March 14-15 in Albuquerque, N.M.). Those expected to receive invites include Kendricks (pole vault) and Miller (60 meters).
Softball - Ole Miss traveled west to compete in San Diego for the San Diego Classic I, but rain intervened while the Rebels were in the Golden State and washed out all five scheduled games. - Thanks to a flight cancelation while in Salt Lake City, Ole Miss will play a doubleheader against Utah State and Utah on Monday. - The Rebels also have a home doubleheader against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday, followed by their first SEC series of the year at Florida on Friday-Sunday.
Women's Tennis - The Rebels dropped both opening SEC matches this past weekend falling to No. 23 Auburn and No. 10 Alabama on the road. - Julia Jones went 3-1 in singles and doubles, including an 8-0 win over the 35th-ranked team from Alabama at No. 3 doubles. - Jones and freshman Zalina Khairudinova improved to 9-1 overall, 7-1 in dual matches with both wins at No. 3 doubles this past weekend. They are 2-0 in the SEC. - The Rebels begin a five-match home stand this weekend with Tennessee on Friday at 3 p.m. and No. 12 Georgia Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.
Men's Tennis - The Rebels lost both of their SEC matches last weekend to fall to 2-5 overall and 0-2 in league play. - Ricardo Jorge made his home debut last weekend and went 2-2 in singles and doubles. - William Kallberg rallied to knock off 75th-ranked Becker O'Shaughnessey of Alabama 2-6, 6-2, 6-3. - The Rebels travel to No. 11 Tennessee and Georgia this weekend.
Rifle - Ole Miss hosted the Great American Rifle Conference Championships this past weekend. Senior Melissa Quartarone shot a 591 in air rifle to make the finals, and then her 182.3 total landed her in third place. - Freshman Alison Weisz qualified for the NCAA Championships in air rifle. She became the first freshman in program history to qualify for the NCAAs. She finished the regular season leading the team in air rifle with an average of 586.5. In her last seven matches, she averaged 590.1. Weisz also earned All-Conference Honorable Mention honors in air rifle. She became the first freshman in program history to earn all-conference honors.
Women's Golf -The Rebels kicked off the 2014 spring season at the AllState Sugar Bowl Classic last week. - Ole Miss closed the two-day tournament in 17th place with a three-round score of 894 (294-302-298--894). - Abby Newton was Ole Miss' top individual finishing in 49th place with a three-day score of 222. - Ole Miss will next be in action at the Notre Dame Clover Cup at Longbow Country Club March 14-16. The Rebels host the Rebel Intercollegiate April 4-6 at the Ole Miss Golf Course.
The calendar turned to March, but the walk-off wins continued for Ole Miss, as Will Allen hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning. He hit it to the deepest part of Swayze Field, but it carried over the 390' sign in center for the 5-4 win over UCF Saturday, the Rebels' fourth walk-off win in five days.
"I knew I hit it good and I was on time for it," Allen said. "There have been a lot of well-hit balls that go dead center that didn't go out. It carried well. I saw the guy jump. I honestly didn't know until I saw the beer showers and everybody start cheering. I knew it was either going to be caught for an out or go out, so I was was watching it the whole time."
"The games haven't been our best games," head coach Mike Bianco said. "We kicked some balls, we had some poor at-bats, and maybe we didn't pitch our best, but when the games has been on the line deep in the game, when everything is magnified, we have played really well and played with a lot of confidence."
Allen, who leads the team with a .391 batting average and 17 RBI, has come up with a couple of those big plays. On Saturday, he went 2-for-4 with three RBI, which also included a 2-RBI double in the fifth as part of a four-run inning to give Ole Miss a 4-3 lead. His walk-off home run in the 10th was his second walk-off hit this week. Allen came up with a bases-loaded singles with two outs in the ninth to push Ole Miss to a 4-3 win over Louisiana-Monroe Wednesday.
"I'm definitely seeing the ball well," Allen said. "I'm trying to stick to my approach. I worked with Coach Godwin all offseason and continuing to see pitches up, get good pitches to hit and put your best swing on it. That's really our philosophy one through nine."
"He's swinging so well and swinging so confidently," head coach Mike Bianco said. "He had a big 3-0 double in the big four-inning for us. And then at the end, not a lot of balls go out to center field here. It was a well-struck ball."
Stellar pitching performances once again set the stage for the Ole Miss bats in the late innings. Christian Trent allowed four runs on six hits with no walks and a career-high seven strikeouts in 7.1 innings of work. Through three starts this season, Trent has allowed six runs on 12 hits with no walks and a team-leading 19 strikeouts.
"He did what he's been doing this whole season and put us in a good position to win the ball game," said Allen of Trent. "He throws a three-pitch mix all over the strike zone. He kept them off balance. He settled in after the first. He did what he needed to do. He gave us a lot of solid innings, especially after all the pitchers we used last night."
And then it was Preston Tarkington and Wyatt Short out of the bullpen.
After getting two outs with the bases loaded in the ninth last night, Tarkington inherited a runner at third with one out in the eighth Saturday. He walked a batter, but then he got a fly ball to shallow right, not deep enough to score the runner, and a strikeout to end the inning. UCF got a leadoff single in the ninth, but Wyatt Short retired the next five batters in order, which included a double play to end the ninth and three strikeouts, to send the game to the bottom of the 10th tied at 4-4.
"The mantra of this team has been toughness since day one, since we got in the weight room with conditioning and then on the practice field," Allen said. "We knew we were going to be the hardest working team in the country. With that, you have confidence going into these games. When we're in tight situations like that, we have all the confidence in the world in each other, ourselves, our coaching staff to hang in there and do whatever we can to win ball games."
With John Gatlin's walk-off infield single in the 13th to lift Ole Miss past UCF, 4-3, the Rebels have won three straight games, all in come-from-behind, walk-off fashion, which also included two midweek wins over Louisiana-Monroe.
"During the whole fall, new strength coach Ben Fleming preached toughness and put us through everything that you could imagine to prepare us for these situations," Gatlin said. "Coach Bianco preaches it a lot. Honestly, at this time and in these games, we feel like there's no chance that we're going to lose because we're so prepared for it."
Gatlin was the hero at the plate, but pitching staff also played its part in the win, limiting UCF to three runs on eight hits with seven walks and 12 strikeouts in 13.0 innings of work, highlighted Chris Ellis who got the start and then Preston Tarkington and Josh Laxer out of the bullpen.
"I don't know if we have ever had three walk-off wins a week, and they are games where we are behind and then come back," head coach Mike Bianco said. "The neat thing is it's come from different guy, and I don't mean just offensive heroes. To have those, you got to have some pitching and defensive heroes. There are guys who have difference-makers, and it seems like it's a different guy every night.
"And there's not a bigger one than Gatlin tonight. He's a fifth-year senior, very selfless, and he's a guy who has battled back from injury and hadn't played baseball in over a year. He comes off the bench and has a great at-bat at the end to win it for you."
On the mound, Ellis extended his earned-run scoreless streak to 22.0 innings to begin the 2014 season, as he allowed just one unearned run on one hit with four walks and five strikeouts in seven innings of work. Through three starts, the Birmingham, Ala., native has allowed just 10 hits with nine walks and 14 strikeouts, which included a complete-game shutout last Saturday against Georgia State.
"He didn't have his best stuff and a few too many walks, but we extended some of those innings with some errors," Bianco said. "That's unfortunate. We made him work a little harder than maybe he should have."
Ellis left with the game tied at 1-1 after seven innings. In the eighth, UCF took a 3-1 lead, but Ole Miss answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning to send the game to the ninth tied at 3-3. UCF threatened again in the ninth and 10th, but the Ole Miss bullpen got big outs to extend the game and eventually give Gatlin and the Ole Miss bats a chance in the 13th.
In the ninth, Tarkington inherited the bases loaded with one out and got an infield fly and a strikeout to end the inning. In the 10th, Laxer entered the game with runners at first and second with one out and got a foul out to third and a strikeout to get out of the inning.
"From there, there was no way that my teammates were going to let there be any other result," said Tarkington of his inning-ending strikeout in the ninth. "We were definitely going to come out and win the game after that happened, and especially when Josh Laxer came in and did the job that he did. That was incredible."
"We had a couple of big spots for the bullpen, one by Tark there in the 9th, and certainly Laxer in the 10th," Bianco said. "That gave us a chance to get some momentum back. It looked like with runners on base, we just couldn't find the hit. We made a little harder than we had to, but I'm proud of the way we competed."
After a scoreless inning from Cheyne Bickel in the top of the 13th, Will Allen led off the bottom of the inning with a hit by pitch on a 2-2 count. Preston Overbey advanced the runner to second on a sacrifice bunt. After another out and a walk to Colby Bortles, Gatlin stepped to the plate with runners at first and third, and he delivered with an infield single to third.
"We had so many guys set that up for us," Gatlin said. "It couldn't have been done without everybody getting on base like that. I saw it hop, and I saw him bobble him once, and I figured he must have bobbled it more than once for me to beat it out. I was running as fast as I could. It had been a while, but it felt good."
Down 4-3 to Louisiana-Monroe entering the top of the fifth inning, head coach Mike Bianco turned to his bullpen, and the trio of Matt Denny, Preston Tarkington and Wyatt Short answered the call and combined to put up five zeroes on the scoreboard to give Ole Miss a chance in the bottom of the ninth.
Ole Miss took advantage and plated two runs in the ninth to rally to defeat Louisiana-Monroe by a score of 5-4 Tuesday afternoon at Swayze Field. The Rebels tied the game at 4-4 on an RBI groundout from freshman second baseman Dalton Dulin and then completed the rally with a two-out, walk-off RBI single from junior outfielder Braxton Lee on a chopper hit at the shortstop.
"To have these kind of wins and have the comebacks, you always talk about the offense, which is the obvious thing," head coach Mike Bianco said. "The less obvious and one of the most important ingredients is on the mound. You have to put up some zeroes. We put up a bunch of zeroes, and it started with Denny out of the bullpen. He looked terrific. Preston was really, really sharp. Wyatt Short, for his third outing of the year, looked super dominant."
"In the last inning, we came in and had a lot of energy, especially with Tarky. He threw great, and so did Wyatt Short," Denny said. "It really brought a lot of energy."
Denny came on in the fifth and allowed just one hit with no walks and two strikeouts in three innings of work, which tied his career high. Tarkington followed in the eighth and did not allow a hit with a strikeout in 1.1 innings of work. Short inherited a runner at second with one out in the ninth, but he got a pop-up to short and a swinging strikeout to get out of the inning.
"We have to pound the zone every time we get in there, no matter if we're up seven or down seven," Denny said. "It's one of the things that's our job to come in, especially out of the bullpen, to keep it close."
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review Feb. 17-23, 2014
Softball - Ole Miss went 7-0 last week. The Rebels opened the week with a doubleheader sweep on the road at Southern Miss, and closed it out by going 5-0 at the Red and Blue Classic at the Ole Miss Softball Complex. - Senior center fielder RT Cantillo hit .556 for the week to raise her season batting average to .525, which is second best in the SEC. - Junior right fielder Jamie Morgan hit a team-best .556 at the Red and Blue Classic with a team-high five RBI. Morgan is now batting .452 on the year. - Prior to allowing a run in the fourth inning vs. Saint Louis on Sunday, Ole Miss had gone 25 consecutive innings without allowing a run. - Led by seniors Shelby Jo Fenter and Carly Hummel, the Ole Miss pitching staff combined for a 1.03 ERA at the Red and Blue Classic.
Baseball - Ole Miss went 3-1 on the week with a 6-0 home-opening win over Tennessee Martin prior to winning the first two games of a three-game home series against Georgia State. - Junior right-handed pitcher Chris Ellis threw the first complete game of his career with a shutout of Georgia State last weekend. - Ole Miss has posted three shutouts through seven games this season. - Ellis has turned in two shutouts to start the season, while Saturday left-handed starter Christian Trent has allowed only two runs and walked none in two starts and 13.0 innings. - Junior catcher Will Allen continues to lead the Rebels at the plate, hitting .429 with two home runs and 13 RBI through seven games.
Women's Tennis - The Rebels went 2-0 last weekend, shutting out Lipscomb 7-0 and defeating No. 32 Memphis 4-3 to improve to 5-1. They have now won four matches in a row. - Head coach Mark Beyers picked up his 200th career coaching victory with Sunday's win over Memphis. That total includes a 50-8 record as the head women's coach at his alma mater, Armstrong Atlantic State. - Senior Caroline Rohde-Moe and Mai El Kamash both remained undefeated in dual matches at 4-0. - The Rebels have won the doubles point in five of their six matches, and are a combined 13-3 at all three spots. - The Rebels begin SEC play this weekend at Auburn and Alabama.
Men's Tennis - The Rebels went 1-1 last week on the road, downing SMU 4-0 before falling to No. 7 Baylor 4-0. The Baylor match was much closer than the final score indicated, with the doubles point coming down to a tiebreaker at No. 1, and five of the six singles matches going three sets. - Freshman Ricardo Jorge made his debut and went 2-0 in singles and doubles. He clinched the win over SMU at No. 5 singles, and then teamed with Nik Scholtz for an 8-6 win at No. 2 doubles against Baylor. - The Rebels return home this weekend to open SEC play. They will host Auburn on Friday at 2 p.m., followed by Alabama on Sunday at 1 p.m. Fans coming to Friday's match will receive free bucket hats, and on Sunday they will get a Spring Break tank top.
Men's Basketball - Senior Marshall Henderson tied Pat Bradley's Southeastern Conference record with his 60th consecutive game with a 3-pointer on Saturday. - Ole Miss dropped a pair of home games to top-20 teams last week as the Rebels fell to No. 16 Kentucky on Tuesday and No. 2 Florida on Saturday. It was the first time since 1998-99 that Ole Miss had hosted two top-20 teams at home in the same week. - Jarvis Summers scored 20 points, including 14 in the second half, and Marshall Henderson added 22 first-half points, but it was not enough against the Gators. - Summers scored 22 points and Anthony Perez scored 21, but the Rebels' second-half comeback fell short as the Wildcats defeated Ole Miss 84-70 in Oxford on Tuesday night.
Women's Basketball - Junior Tia Faleru averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds last week, and posted back-to-back double-doubles against No. 13/16 Texas A&M and Mississippi State. She now has 15 double-doubles on the year, which leads the SEC and is ranked 18th nationally. - Faleru is approaching the 1,000-point mark, as she is just 66 points away from the milestone. She will need to average 22 points in each of Ole Miss' next three games to reach the feat this season. She will become Ole Miss' 26th 1,000-point scorer. - Valencia McFarland set a new career-high with 29 points in Ole Miss' overtime loss at Mississippi State. McFarland has topped the 20-point mark on 11 occasions this season. She also posted a season-best five triples against the Bulldogs. - Ole Miss will close out the 2013-14 regular season this week. The Rebels will travel to Missouri on Thursday for a televised contest on Fox Sports Midwest/Sport South. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m. CT. Ole Miss will close the season at home against Auburn on Sunday at 2 p.m. Seniors Kenyotta Jenkins, McFarland and Diara Moore will be honored.
Rifle - The Rebels competed in the NCAA Qualifier last weekend in Lexington, Ky. They posted a 4612 aggregate score. Senior MaryAnn Banks led the squad in smallbore with a 574 as the Rebels totaled a 2277. Freshman Alison Weisz continues to lead the Rebels in air rifle, posting a 588 on the day as the Rebels finished with a total of 2335. - The Rebels will find out Thursday when the NCAA team and individual selections are made, if anyone will qualify for the NCAA Championships. Senior Abbey Stanec has made it the past two years. - This weekend, the Rebels will host the GARC Championships for the 10th consecutive year at the Patricia C. Lamar National Guard Readiness Center. Action begins Friday at noon with individual smallbore. Competition continues all day Saturday and concludes Sunday with the finals of air rifle.
Chris Triplett hit a two-run, go-ahead home run and Matt Rose pitched a complete game to lift Georgia State past Ole Miss, 6-4, on Sunday at Swayze Field.
Ole Miss starter Sam Smith allowed nine runs on nine hits with no walks and four strikeouts and left the game with a 4-3 lead in the sixth. Georgia State rallied in the late innings with a pair of home runs, Triplett's in the seventh and then a solo shot in the eighth, to take the series finale.
"It was tough on all the pitchers today," head coach Mike Bianco. "They're very good offensively, and it was a tough day to pitch. Sam really battled, but they got a lot of good swings off today throughout the game. Sam gave us a chance just like he always does on Sunday. He leaves the game with the lead. With nine outs to go, we're not able to hold it. That's tough. And it's more of their doing."
"They were really ready to play today and they came out swinging," senior catcher Will Allen said. "They pitched well. I'm not too sure if we weren't ready, or they were more ready than us. Overall, we have to play better. We have to get some timely hits. If we're not going to be on the bases as much as we usually are, we have to take full advantage when we are on the bases. We have to make pitches. We have to work down in the zone and work ahead. Any advantage, you have to take advantage of it. We had some missed opportunities today."
Triplett, who hit .455 for the weekend, was a double shy of the cycle and drove in three runs to lead the Georgia State offense, which had 14 hits for the game.
On the mound, Rose limited the Rebels to one run after the first two innings, as he went the distance and allowed four runs on eight hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
"He really settled down after we put up three in the first two," freshman designated hitter Colby Bortles said. "He really settled down after that. He started to hit his spots. He wasn't overthrowing like he was in the first couple of innings. He settled down, hit his spots and threw his slider more often and kept us off balance."
"He was busting righties in, away from lefties, mixing it up with a slider and a change-up to both lefties and righties," Allen said. "He has good stuff. He's a really good pitcher. He competed well. Kudos to him for going the whole way. That's very impressive."
Allen and Bortles both had multi-hit games for the second straight game. Allen is hitting a team-leading .429, including .500 for the weekend with a hit in each of the three games. Bortles made his second and third career starts and also hit .500 for the weekend with a pair of 2-for-4 games.
"He's really looked terrific," said Bianco of Bortles. "He had a good fall and I knew he would be in the mix. Since we got back in January and started intrasquad games, he has swung it as well as anybody. He's a guy who can hit it to all fields. He certainly has big-time power. He's not just a big swing-and-miss guy. He will handle some off-speed and will be able to take it the other way. He's going to be a star."
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.
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."
You heard some of them at yesterday's home opener, and here's the complete list of walk out songs. Click on the song to listen to it. Viewer discretion advised. Songs played in venue will be edited. My personal favorite has to be "It Was A Good Day."
The Ole Miss baseball team opened its home slate with a 6-0 win over Tennessee-Martin on Wednesday at Swayze Field. It kicked off a 13-game home stand that continues this weekend with a three-game series against Georgia State. First pitch on Friday is set for 4 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday are both set for a 1:30 p.m. start.
Head coach Mike Bianco met with members of the media recapping the Diamond Rebels' sweep over Stetson and preview their home opener against UT-Martin on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Swayze Field. It's the first of 13 straight home games, including the first home weekend series against Georgia State with the first game on Friday at 4 p.m. at Swayze Field.
Ole Miss outscored Stetson 26-3 over the weekend. The Rebels hit .364 at the plate for the weekend, led by SEC Player of the Week Will Allen, who hit .545 with two home runs and 10 RBI. On the mound, the Rebels allowed just three runs on 14 hits with seven walks and 24 strikeouts.
Sophomore right-hander Jacob Waguespack will get the start for Ole Miss on Wednesday. He made six appearances as a freshman, four in relief and two starts, including one start against Alabama in the SEC Tournament. He posted an 0-1 record with a 3.46 ERA as he allowed six runs -- five of them earned -- on nine hits in 13.0 innings of work.
Former Ole Miss players Brett Huber and Tanner Mathis will be throwing out the first pitch tomorrow.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review Feb. 10-16, 2014
Baseball - Ole Miss went on the road and picked up a sweep of Stetson, outscoring the Hatters 26-3 on the weekend. - Will Allen led the Rebels at the plate, hitting .545 with 10 RBI in 11 at bats and a pair of home runs. - Four Rebels combined for six home runs on the weekend, including two home runs each from Will Allen and Preston Overbey. - Nine players made their Rebel debuts over the weekend, including seven freshmen and two transfers.
Track & Field - Ole Miss athletes broke two school records to highlight another strong weekend for the No. 25 Rebel men's team in the final meets before the upcoming SEC and NCAA Indoor Championships. - On Friday, Sam Kendricks smashed his own school record with one of the best indoor pole vaults in NCAA history at the Don Kirby Elite Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. Kendricks jumped 18-8.25, which ranks him No. 1 in the NCAA, No. 1 among Americans and No. 13 in the world this year, while he moves into a tie for ninth place on the all-time NCAA indoor list. - On Saturday, freshman Sean Tobin ran his first mile as an Ole Miss Rebel and became the first person in school history to break four minutes with his time of 3:59.91 that won the men's late division race at the Husky Classic in Seattle. In addition to breaking the school record, he also moved into the top 25 in the NCAA this year. - Junior Malcolm Davis won the Don Kirby Elite men's long jump (non-invitational division) with a personal-best leap of 24-8.5 that ranks him top 25 in the NCAA this year and No. 11 in the school record book. - Senior Mike Granger and freshman Jalen Miller led the way in the 60 meters. Granger, who is getting back to full health, clocked a season-best 6.67 (converted from 6.65 for altitude) to place third in the final, followed by Miller in fifth at 6.68. Granger moves to No. 21 on the NCAA indoor list this year. - The Rebels also had two milers run strong races in Albuquerque, as junior Daniel Bulmer placed third and freshman Robert Domanic sixth. Their altitude-converted times of 4:01.37 and 4:04.46 rank them second and fourth in school history, respectively.
Men's Basketball - The Rebels dropped a pair of last-second buzzer beaters on the road last week falling 67-64 at Alabama on Tuesday, and 61-60 at Georgia on Saturday. - Senior Marshall Henderson has hit a 3-pointer in 58 straight games, just two shy of Pat Bradley's SEC record of 60 straight games. - The Rebels host a pair of top-20 ranked teams in No. 16 Kentucky and No. 3 Florida at home this week. That marks the first time since 1998-99 that Ole Miss has hosted two top-20 teams at home in the same week.
Women's Basketball - Tia Faleru set a new career-high in points and rebounds with 31 points and 16 rebounds in Ole Miss' loss to Kentucky on Thursday. Faleru's 31 points is the most for a Rebel this season and the most points for an Ole Miss player since the 2010-11 season. - Faleru recorded her third double-double in the last four games with her 31 points and 16 rebounds and has an SEC leading 13 double-doubles on the season. - Valencia McFarland had 21 points vs. the Wildcats, her third consecutive game in double figures and her 10th game of 20 or more this season. The senior point guard also played her third consecutive game of 40 minutes, and has played the entire game in seven of Ole Miss' last nine games. - The Rebels will host Texas A&M on Thursday for its annual Tickled Pink at the Tad Pad game. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. and will travel to Starkville to close the week for a Sunday afternoon matchup against Mississippi State at 2 p.m.
Softball - Ole Miss went 2-3 last week at the College of Charleston Classic in Charleston, S.C., with wins over Kansas and Western Carolina and losses to Fordham, DePaul and College of Charleston. - Junior third baseman Allison Brown led Ole Miss last weekend with a team-high batting average of .563 (9-16). - Brown tied a pair of program single-game records Saturday night vs. Western Carolina when she notched four hits and four runs on her 4-4 night that also included two RBI. - Senior first baseman Londen Ladner had a team-high nine RBI at the tournament, highlighted by a grand slam vs. WCU. - Senior pitcher Shelby Jo Fenter allowed just one earned run in Charleston in 11.0 innings of work with 11 strikeouts.
Rifle - The No. 12 ranked Rebels lost to No. 11 Murray State 4649-4610 last Saturday. - Senior Melissa Quartarone posted a season-high 592 in air rifle to lead the Rebels. The mark was two off her career best. - Freshman Alison Weisz posted a 590 for her fifth score in the 90s in the past seven matches. - The Rebels head to Lexington, Ky., this weekend for the NCAA Qualifier.
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco and selected players met with members of the media on Monday to talk about the 2014 season and the Rebels' upcoming season-opening series at Stetson that begins on Friday afternoon in DeLand, Fla.
Senior catcher Will Allen, who started 56 games at catcher two season ago before moving to designated hitter last season with the arrival of Stuart Turner, the 2013 Johnny Bench Award winner.
Senior third baseman Austin Anderson, who was third on the team in batting average (.310) and started all 58 games played at shortstop last season.
Junior right-hander Chris Ellis, who played in the Cape Cod League this past summer and Bianco announced as the Rebels' Friday night starter this season.
The Ole Miss baseball team opens the 2014 season one week from today on Feb. 14 with the first game in a three-game series at Stetson. The Rebels' home opener is Feb. 19 against Tennessee-Martin, followed by a three-game weekend series against Georgia State (Feb. 21-23).
Ole Miss baseball media day is set for Feb. 10, so stay tuned to @OleMissBSB, @OleMissBlog, @WMBunt and @austinkmiller for updates.
The Ole Miss softball team opens the 2014 season this weekend with a five-game, three-day tournament on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast. Ole Miss begins play in the tournament today against Western Kentucky at 1:30 p.m. CT. The Rebels' home opener is Feb. 21 against Bowling Green, their first of five games in the three-day Red & Blue Classic.
After a rainout on Friday, the Ole Miss baseball team opened fall practice on Saturday with its first inter-squad scrimmage.
Senior right-hander Aaron Greenwood and junior right-hander Sam Smith got the starts for the Blue team and Red team, respectively, and the 10 pitchers between the two teams combined to allow just two runs.
Scoring for the scrimmage was broken down into three categories -- runs, bunting and energy -- and while the Blue team won the runs part, 2-0, it lost both the bunting and energy parts.
The bunt contest was situational before each half inning, with a batter at the plate and runner at first, and the energy part was based on communication, running on and off the field between half innings, running down to first base and overall energy.
Individually, senior catcher Will Allen and junior first baseman Sikes Orvis delivered back-to-back RBI's for the Blue team in the bottom of the first, and then it was all pitching and defense.
Head coach Mike Bianco was impressed with junior right-hander Hawtin Buchanan, who worked two scoreless innings, and freshman middle infielder Errol Robinson, who showed good range and a strong arm at second base and shortstop.
Another defensive standout was junior outfielder Braxton Lee, a junior college transfer from Pearl River, who threw out a runner at the plate. Behind the plate, Allen threw out a base runner at second. And to close things out, junior right-handers Josh Laxer and Scott Weathersby worked the final two innings for the Blue team and Red team, respectively.
1st intra-squad in the books! ENERGY was off the charts! That is the way the R.E.B.S. play fast! Pitching and defense was great!
Left-handed pitcher Matt Denny and
right-handed pitcher Scott Weathersby both represented Ole Miss in collegiate
summer baseball league all-star games Wednesday night. They are among several members of the
Rebel baseball team participating in summer league ball during the offseason
before returning to Ole Miss in the fall.
Weathersby plays for the Southern
California Catch of the California Collegiate League. He was named to the South
Division All-Star team and picked up the win, as the South All-Stars defeated the North All-Stars, 3-2. Weathersby worked a perfect fifth inning with a strikeout.
The junior right-hander is 4-0 with a
2.08 ERA. He also has 23 strikeouts against six walks in 24.1 innings over
seven games as both a starter and reliever. His best outing came against the Academy
Barons on July 8 when he allowed just one hit with no walks and six strikeouts
in five scoreless innings.
The sophomore left-hander is 2-1 with a
2.66 ERA, which included a 16-inning scoreless streak. He also has 21
strikeouts against eight walks in 23.2 innings over five starts. His best outing came against the Herndon
Braves on June 29 when he worked six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits
with no walks and five strikeouts.
Another Ole Miss player who has impressed
this summer has been junior right-hander Chris Ellis, who plays for the Cotuit
Kettleers of the Cape Cod League. He ranks ninth in the league in opponents'
batting average and 10th in earned run average.
Ellis is 2-2 with a 2.05 ERA. He also has
20 strikeouts against nine walks in 30.2 innings over six starts, while
limiting opposing hitters to a .212 batting average. Among the six starts, he
tossed six shutout innings on three separate occasions.
Spread the word and help former Ole Miss baseball player Rick Carone in his fight against cancer. Rick is currently battling stage IV pancreatic cancer. Rick is a single father of two.
You can visit, "like" and share the Team Carone Facebook page to show support for Rick, whether it's through a post, a private message or donation. When you purchase a Hard Core Fighter Shirt, 100 percent of the proceeds will go to Rick to aid in his fight against cancer.
Rick played on the 1993 Ole Miss baseball team, then was taken in the 19th round of the 1993 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox. He played four years of professional baseball in the White Sox organization. Rick was roommates with David Dellucci for a time and is also good friends with Mickey Callway, both baseball standouts at Ole Miss.
LAS VEGAS -- Former Ole Miss Rebel and current Colorado Springs Sky Sox left-hander Drew Pomeranz made his major league debut with the Colorado Rockies on September 11, 2011.
Less than two years after being selected by the Cleveland Indians with the fifth overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, he had made it, and he described being called up that fast as a very fortunate situation.
"The way my career went, getting up there so quick, I was fortunate to get a taste of that and learn the things I need to refine for when I go back up there to be ready," Pomeranz said.
"I'm trying to knock out a lot of the stuff I need to work on here (at Colorado Springs) while I have the opportunity because it's hard to work on things up there (in the major leagues). It's hard to work on things and concentrate on getting those guys out."
The Rockies acquired Pomeranz in a trade that sent Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians, and less than two months later, he made his debut, starting four games in September, then moved into the rotation last year.
He made 22 starts in the majors, posting a 2-9 record with a 4.93 ERA and 83 strikeouts against 46 walks in 96.2 innings. He also made 10 starts with Colorado Springs, which is where Pomeranz has pitched so far this year.
"I needed to work on being with three pitches and being more efficient," Pomeranz said of what he needed to work on this year.
Those three pitches -- fastball, curveball and change-up -- Pomeranz said he felt he has had pretty much every outing this year for Colorado Springs, compared to last year in which he said a lot of times he had a fastball, maybe a curveball, just depending on the day.
So far, so good for Pomeranz.
The Memphis, Tenn., native is tied for second in the Pacific Coast League (AAA) in wins with a 7-1 record to go along with a 4.35 ERA in 78.2 innings over 14 starts. He also leads the league in both strikeouts (93) and strikeouts per nine innings (10.64) against 32 walks.
"I'm trying to work on a lot of things down here. I've been feeling great. I'm not so much worried about the stats or how well I'm doing. It's more about how I feel, and I've felt probably the best I have felt in a while out there this year, so I'm pretty excited about that."
Despite the high strikeout numbers, Pomeranz said he is still working to be more efficient.
"I still struggle some with that, especially because I have been striking a lot of guys out this year, and tend to have a higher pitch count," he said of his efficiency. As of late, I have been trying to be more efficient and pitch deeper into games."
The former Rebel said he watched some Ole Miss baseball this past season, adding that "maybe this year they were going to do it."
Recounting some of his memories in the red and blue, he was quick to mention his complete game with a school-record 16 strikeouts on two days' rest against Western Kentucky in the 2009 NCAA Regional, but also the 2009 NCAA Super Regional, "those Virginia games," "not winning that Virginia game." More than that, however, he said he took away from his three years in Oxford.
"I learned a lot of things about myself," he said. "I made the decision to go to college, instead of signing out of high school. Like I tell a lot of people, it was the best decision I ever made. I improved so much. Growing up and being surrounded by that kind of program, you learn a lot about yourself."
When asked about a possible return to the majors, his answer was simple.
"It's going to be great," he said. "I can't wait."
A face of the program for the better part of four years, Tanner Mathis was one of four seniors to play their last game in an Ole Miss uniform. But he certainly leaves behind a legacy.
"It's always disappointing when it ends," head coach Mike Bianco said after Sunday's loss to William & Mary. "We've had four great seniors. One is sitting right next to me in Tanner Mathis, who had a tough beginning of the year. He played so well down the stretch in his final year."
The Lake Charles, La., native started all but one game over the the past three years and finished his career with a .326 batting average. He also ranks among the top 10 players in program history with 790 at-bats (7th), 103 walks (9th) and 164 runs scored (ninth).
"I had a great career," Mathis said. "Four great years here. I hit leadoff probably 85 percent of my career. And this is what I thought it would be. Coming to Ole Miss as a freshman not sure what to expect and ending it as a senior, it was everything I wanted my college baseball experience to be."
Mathis was drafted in the 27th round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros but turned down the offer in order to return for his senior season. He swung the bat well down the stretch as he reached base in each of the last 24 games and raised his average 59 points to finish the year with a .280 batting average.
In the Raleigh Regional, he was 6-for-12 with four runs scored. He led the team with 34 walks and 46 runs scored on the year, and ranked second with a .409 on-base percentage, while striking out just 18 times in 225 at-bats.
"He's held his head high," Bianco said of Mathis after Saturday's win against Binghamton. "A kid that comes back his senior year, it doesn't quite turn out the way he thought it was going to be, or how any of us thought it was going to be.
"But certainly you tell how much better the offense when he's swinging and doing what he does best, and that's getting base hits and getting on base."
The other three graduating seniors on this year's team were impressive in their own right.
Pitcher Tanner Bailey was a regular out of the bullpen and finished with a 4-2 record, 2.74 ERA and .261 opponents' batting average in 42.2 innings.
Third baseman Andrew Mistone was second on the team with a .317 batting average, a team-leading .330 in SEC play, and third on the team with 35 RBI.
Pitcher Brett Huber leaves as the school's all-time saves leader with 38. This year, he led all pitchers with a 1.54 ERA, to along with a 3-2 record, 12 saves and .181 opponents' batting average in 23.1 innings.
"They became some of my best friends," Mathis said of his senior teammates. "I have only known Mistone for two years, and Bailey for three. Me and Bailey actually lived together this year in a house, and me and Mistone roomed together almost every weekend. And knowing Brett for the four years I have been here, we've been through everything together."
Mathis also left with some words for the underclassmen who will return for the Rebels next year.
"And for the younger guys on the team, I just want them to soak it all in next year and remember this feeling next year whenever they're playing in a regional and super regional in Oxford," Mathis said.
He didn't have his best stuff. It didn't matter. He hadn't pitched in two weeks. It didn't matter. In the words of his coach, Bobby Wahl gutted it out on Saturday to win his 10th game of the season and kept Ole Miss alive in NCAA Tournament play.
"Fortunately for us, we had a big leaguer on the mound," head coach Mike Bianco said. "And I don't know if we had another guy that could win that game. Bobby, although he certainly didn't have his best stuff with a long layoff, again dealt with a blister on his finger, but just really gutted it out."
Wahl said he wanted to give the team a chance to win, and he did just that. The junior right-hander from Springfield, Va., allowed two runs, scattering eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts in seven innings.
"I feel that in any big game, I love to take the ball and give the team a chance to win," Wahl said. "And like coach (Bianco) said, I didn't have my best stuff today, but the only thing you can do in that situation is just give your team a chance to win."
With the win, Wahl, now 10-0, became the first 10-win pitcher for the Rebels in a season since Cody Satterwhite in 2006, just the third under Bianco and ninth in program history.
He has started 16 games, leaving the game without a lead just once. He also holds a 2.06 ERA and has limited opposing hitters to a .197 average on the year.
"The year that Bobby's had and as inconsistent as maybe we have played throughout the year, he's been about the most consistent thing on this team," Bianco said. "And so, just a terrific, terrific year for him."
Bianco said he didn't consider anything but giving Wahl the ball on Saturday.
"After not pitching last week and the way we played yesterday, and I knew the pressure would be on today," Bianco said. "I knew that the kids would feel it today. And you have got to win today to move on.
"We gambled a little bit, it didn't turn out the way we liked. It wasn't the way it was supposed to be, but I guess when it's all said and done, I'm not sure if we had another guy that could have won today, so I'm glad we had him."
Austin Anderson missed out on a career 5-for-5 day, but finished 4-for-5 on the day, which tied his career high for hits. He also delivered a two-out, RBI single in the seventh to give Ole Miss a 4-2 lead, as the Rebels went on to win 8-4.
"He's been terrific," head coach Mike Bianco said. "And he's been as consistent as anybody the entire season. There have been games like this where he has been really hot, and he can carry us. But we need him. We need all of the bats."
The junior from Sorrento, Fla., is hitting .455 since the start of the LSU series, including 5-for-9 in the Raleigh Regional this weekend. In all, he is 15-for-33 in his last at-bats and now hitting at a .322 clip. He has also struck out just 13 times in 209 at-bats on the season.
"Coach B(ianco) just tells me to be aggressive," Anderson said. "I've seen the ball a little better as of late. It's just being aggressive and hitting the fastball early in the count. It's probably the best pitch you're going to see. Being aggressive and swinging early in the count."
He missed practice on Thursday with the stomach bug, but it didn't show on Saturday. He singled, then scored on an RBI single in the first. He doubled in the third, singled and stole a base in the fifth, then drove in a run with a single in the seventh.
In his last plate appearance, in the eighth, he hit a ball hard at the Binghamton first baseman, which was ruled an error, but it scored two more runs to take the lead out to 8-2.
"You can't find the hole all the time," Anderson said. "I was just excited two runs got in on the error."
What happened vs. William & Mary: William & Mary staked a 4-0 lead, scoring four runs on four walks and two errors in the fifth. On the mound, sophomore left-hander Jason Inghram allowed just two runs for the Tribe, scattering eight hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
"They played very clean baseball," head coach Mike Bianco said. "Inghram just filled up the zone the whole day. They played error-free, made all the plays. They made all the pitches to get out of innings. We just had the one inning that we couldn't get out of, and that was basically the ball game. It was one certainly we thought that got away."
Junior right-hander Mike Mayers got the start of the mound for Ole Miss and allowed four runs on three hits with six walks and three strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work.
"I felt fine warming up," Mayers said. "I went out there and struggled to find my fastball command, obviously. And in that one inning, it didn't matter what I did. I tried a few things, tried to fix it up. As a veteran, it's my job to fix it up and figure out, and get out of that big inning."
Ole Miss got a run back in both the sixth and seventh innings. The Rebels threatened again in the ninth, bringing the would-be game-winning runner to the plate with runners at first and second, but junior catcher Stuart Turner flied out to left to end the game. Ole Miss was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, leaving 10 runners on base.
"We didn't have a ton of runners in scoring position, but the few opportunities we did, we weren't able to keep the big hit, the big double," Bianco said. "A couple of times, a ground ball and a sac fly."
"We just weren't able to bunch enough hits."
Greenwood out of the bullpen:Junior right-hander Aaron Greenwood came on in relief for Mayers and worked four scoreless innings, giving up four hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
He and junior left-hander Jeremy Massie, who retired the last William & Mary batter, also helped save the Ole Miss bullpen, as the Rebels look to play its way through the losers' bracket, which means four straight wins in three days.
"Aaron did a terrific job," Bianco said. "I'm proud of him. He had a little discomfort out there. He kind of stepped funny off the mound. He was having some pain in his hip. That's one of the first visits that we went out there for. He showed a lot of guts today and really competed well. Then Massie comes in and gets out of the ninth inning.
"But they're going to have pitch again if we get all the way though. Maybe, even Mike again. But that was big today. He gave us an opportunity."
Wahl to pitch tomorrow: Junior right-hander Bobby Wahl will get the start on the mound against the loser of tonight's North Carolina State-Binghamton in an elimination game at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday.
"You knew he going to pitch at some point," Bianco said of Wahl. "It wasn't by design that he was going to pitch an elimination game. But I don't think you feel comfortable now. Now, you just win pitches, win outs, win innings and starting grinding from here on out over the next three days and try to make a run."
Final word: "We play a little better defense, Mike throws a few more balls in the zone, or we bunch a few more hits together, and it's certainly a different feeling. We just didn't play very well in all three phases. I think they played than we did in all three phases of the game." -- Head coach Mike Bianco
"I don't think you really decide until the sites and brackets are announced and who you are going to play," head coach Mike Bianco said of the decision. "One of the things that we have said all week is the reason it's happening, It's not necessarily as much Bobby as it is Mike.
"Mike is as good as most guys' Friday night guy or ace. Having him makes the decision a lot easier because you have got to win the first game. So you have got to pitch a guy that can win you the first game, and we feel Mike is as good as most guys' Friday night guy and gives us a great opportunity to win on Friday."
Mayers enters the contest with a 5-5 record, 2.98 ERA and .231 opponents' batting average. He has 70 strikeouts against 31 walks in 87.2 innings of work. It will be his third career NCAA Tournament appearance, having made a start and relief appearance in the College Station Regional last year.
"Having Bobby in the rotation with me is a huge benefit to our team," Mayers said. "I enjoy the pressure, and obviously the bigger the game, the bigger the pressure. Right now, game one is the biggest game of the year."
Mayers will be opposed by William & Mary sophomore left-hander Jason Inghram. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder earned third team All-CAA honors and enters the contest with a 8-6 record, 3.46 ERA and .242 opponents' batting average. He has 96 strikeouts against 23 walks in 96.1 innings of work. Ole Miss is 10-14 against left-handed starters on the year.
"We know we're facing a lefty," junior catcher Stuart Turner said. "We have faced a lot of them this year. We kind of struggled with them a little bit. We like facing them now. So many (teams) threw them at us. I think we have made the adjustment. We're going to be ready for it."
Turner makes big difference: Stuart Turner earned All-SEC and All-American honors this past week. He was named an All-SEC First Team and Defensive Team selection on Tuesday, then a second team All-America selection on Thursday.
He leads the team in batting average (.381), doubles (15), home runs (5), RBI (50), on-base percentage (.452) and slugging percentage (.433). His .381 average ranks second in the SEC, and defensively, he has thrown out 21-of-41 runners on steal attempts.
"He's a difference-maker, as we've talked about all year," Bianco said. "People see the numbers and the catcher, and the batting average, the RBI, and certainly he's a force in our lineup. But the reason he's a true difference-maker is defensively, he's as good as they come.
"He's the best catch-and-throw guy that we have ever had. He's great with the pitchers, great receiver. He's going to block all the balls, of course. He can really get rid of the ball, very accurate, very strong arm and really defends the steal. To have that guy game in and game out for nine innings behind the plate has been a big difference for us."
This will be the first NCAA Tournament appearance for Turner, and he said it's been just a lot of excitement since the selection show Monday.
"You come here, you want to make a region, win a regional, play in a super regional, win a super regional," Turner said. "That selection show was the first time I had been through that.
"Just to hear our name and hear where we're going, just to officially start the Road to Omaha, it's been a great ride so far. This regular season has been great. Ready to get it started now, and get ready to go to the postseason."
Fresh start for Bousfield:Sophomore center fielder Auston Bousfield is 1-for-32 in his most recent at-bats, dating back to game three of the Mississippi State series. Head coach Mike Bianco said the message to Bousfield has been to just stay positive.
"He's obviously had a tough couple of weeks," Bianco said. "But he's a guy that's our guy, a guy that's been there all year long. Baseball's a tough game. There are times where you don't feel good. There are times where you don't have success. And mentally, it can really cripple you. You just got to stay positive.
"One of the good things about this is there really is a break. A lot of times when you're slumping, you talk to kids and say, 'Hey, turn the page, act like you're batting .000 now, let's start over.' But you can really do that in the postseason. You can really start anew, regardless if you're a position player or a pitcher."
Bousfield said he remains confident as he works on things, specifically shortening his swing, hitting the ball to the right and staying inside the ball.
"It's alright," Bousfield said of his confidence. "You really just got to keep playing for your team more than anything. The guys need me out there on defense. If I can't help with the bat, I always feel like I can help on defense. I got to keep working, and I'll get out of it eventually."
Bianco said Bousfield will be fine, noting his work in batting practice this week.
"This week, watching him take batting practice, he's looked terrific," Bianco said. "He swung it great today here on the field."
Junior shortstop Austin Anderson missed Thursday's practice after getting sick with a stomach virus overnight. Bianco said he would be "shocked" if he didn't play tomorrow.
"It would be a lot of fun, but first, we have to care of our game against William & Mary." -- Bobby Wahl, on possible matchup with North Carolina State left-hander Carlos Rodon
"I hope to see that. It will be a fun one, if it ends up happening." -- Carlos Rodon, on possible matchup with Bobby Wahl
"I wouldn't call it small. It's more true, especially down the lines. Even with the wind blowing in, (Tanner) Mathis and (Will) Jamison hit a ball out today... It's a little more fair for the hitters. It's not as big as our park, but not as small as some others, very average." -- Mike Bianco, on Doak Field's dimensions (320-370-400-380-330)
"It's going to be a good atmosphere. Last year, we had a great turnout at the Vanderbilt games. This year should be, hopefully, more. We'll see. We have got faithful Wolfpack fans out there. They're very active, very loud. You see them on the third-base line making noise, heckling a little bit, which I like, so we'll see how it goes." -- Rodon, on atmosphere for the Raleigh Regional
The Ole Miss baseball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament on Monday when it was announced the Rebels would be the second seed and face third-seeded William & Mary at the Raleigh Regional hosted by North Carolina State on Friday. They will play at 1 p.m. CT in game one of the regional, and it can be watched on ESPN3. Ole Miss will then either face host and first-seeded North Carolina State or fourth-seeded Binghamton in the second game of the tournament on Saturday.
The Raleigh Regional is paired with the Eugene Regional with host and national No. 8 seed Oregon, second-seeded Rice, third-seeded San Francisco and fourth-seeded South Dakota State.
WHAT HAPPENED VS. ALABAMA: For the third time in the SEC Tournament, Ole Miss scored first with three runs in the second, then battled back to tie the 5-5 in the seventh, but fell to Alabama 7-5 in 10 innings. With the loss, the Rebels were eliminated from the SEC Tournament.
Alabama scored two runs in the fourth, then three in the fifth to take a 5-3 lead. Ole Miss tied the game at 5-5 in the seventh, as junior catcher Stuart Turner delivered a 2-out, 2-RBI single to left after the Rebels loaded the bases on three straight 2-out walks.
Senior right-hander Brett Huber entered the game with runners at second and third and one out, then got two swinging strikes against Alabama shortstop Mikey White, who then delivered the big hit, a 2-RBI single up the middle through the drawn-in infield to give Alabama a 7-5 lead.
OLE MISS AWAITS NCAA TOURNAMENT ANNOUNCEMENT: The Field of 64 will be announced on May 27 at 11 a.m. CT on ESPNU. Ole Miss finished the season 37-22 with a No. 18 RPI and No. 8 strength of schedule, which includes series wins against Arkansas and Mississippi State.
WAGUESPACK IN HIS SECOND CAREER START: Freshman right-hander Jacob Waguespack got the start on the mound, his second of the season, and retired the first nine Alabama batters in order, including three strikeouts.
He gave up two runs on two hits with two walks and a career-high three strikeouts in a career-long 3.2 innings of work, as he left with a 3-2 lead.
"I'm proud of his effort," head coach Mike Bianco said. "We challenged him. We knew that he would throw the ball in the strike zone without fear, and that's why we went with him. He deserved it. He's pitched well every time out. And as he mentioned, he's getting stronger and stronger. He's going to be a good."
Waguespack, who dealt with an elbow injury for much of the season, had made five appearances and allowed four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 9.1 innings prior to Thursday's start.
"Like every guy on the staff, whenever you're called upon, you try to do your job, whether it's out of the bullpen, or whenever coach wants to start me," Waguespack said. "I'm just looking to contribute and get better every day."
BIANCO CONFIDENT IN BULLPEN: In the first two games of the SEC Tournament, the Ole Miss bullpen allowed one run on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 6.1 innings. Against Alabama, it allowed five runs -- four earned -- on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 6.1 innings.
"Besides today for a couple of innings, a couple of pitches, I thought we pitched really well," Bianco said. "We gave ourselves an opportunity the first two games. We gave up two earned runs in 19 innings, and then today another 10-inning game. We hurt ourselves win an error one inning.
"Scott (Weathersby) fell behind a little bit in his stint, but I thought besides him, we pitched pretty well today. So that's good going forward. That's been the Achilles' heel the last three or four weeks. Hopefully, we shored that up this week and got back to where we were with the bullpen a month ago."
Massie allowed just one hit with a walk and two strikeouts in 3.2 scoreless innings against Kentucky and Alabama. Greenwood took the loss against Arkansas, but allowed just one run on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts.
GETTING WAHL BACK ON SCHEDULE: Junior right-hander Bobby Wahl did not pitch for Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament this week. In his last start, May 18 against LSU, he gave up six runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 2.2 innings.
"Bobby would have pitched tomorrow, would have started tomorrow," Bianco said. "We talked about it prior to the game. Now, we'll just have to figure out what we want to do, as far as maybe a simulated bullpen, simulated game to let him throw a little bit.
"He needed the rest as well. Unfortunately, we didn't stay here long enough for him him to pitch. For him personally, I don't think it's going to be a bad thing next week. Not pitching for him, I don't think is going to be a bad thing at all."
Bianco in SEC Tournament elimination games:Head coachMike Bianco has advanced to 11 SEC Tournaments in his 13-year tenure at Ole Miss. He is 9-9 all-time in SEC Tournament elimination games, including a 4-1 win against Kentucky on Tuesday. With a 1-1 record this year, he is 20-19 all-time in SEC Tournament games.
Rebels sweep in regular season: Ole Miss and Alabama met for a three-game series in Oxford with the Rebels winning all three games.
Bobby Wahl and Aaron Greenwood combined for a two-hit shutout in game one, as Ole Miss won 6-0. The Rebels clinched the series with a 5-2 win in game two, then Tanner Mathis delivered a bases-loaded single in the 11th to sweep the series with a 4-3 win in the series finale.
Waguespack to make second career start:Freshman right-hander Jacob Waguespack will start for Ole Miss against Alabama. The 6-foot-6, 215-pounder from Prairieville, La., dealt with an elbow injury for much of the season and made his season debut April 16 against Southern Miss.
Waguespack has made five appearances, including one start, and allowed four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 9.1 innings. In his one start, he took the loss against Southern Miss, as he gave up two run on four hits in three innings.
Another turn for Mississippi native Turnbull: Jacob Waguespack will be opposed on the mound by Spencer Turnbull, a sophomore right-hander from Madison, Miss.
Earlier this year, he took a no-decision in a 4-3 loss to Ole Miss, as he allowed two runs on six hits with four walks and two strikeouts in six innings. He pitched in relief against the Rebels in 2012 and took the loss, as he allowed four runs on four hits a strikeout in 0.2 innings.
This season, the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder is second on the team with 13 starts and 77.1 innings pitched this season. He holds a 4-3 record with a 3.61 ERA, .295 B/AVG, 1.46 WHIP and 41-to-30 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Turnbull has also thrown two complete games this season, including a four-hit shutout against Auburn.
Bianco, on availability of Bobby Wahl:"Bobby threw a little bit off the mound today. He could probably throw tomorrow in an emergency. It's not health-wise. We got to be careful with him. We want to do what's right for him and for the program. And as much as we want to have success here, we're going to have to win the following day as well, so somebody else has to pitch.
"We've really pushed him over the last couple of weeks, as far as short rest and throwing one inning on Friday, then coming back on Sunday, then coming back on two days' short rest. I think we got to get closer to what his normal routine is."
Bianco, on 10 different ineups over last 13 games: "Part of it, I think is trying to find the right matchup... The top five have been pretty solid the last few games with Mathis, Anderson, and then Turner, Mistone, Boz... You just try to find the right matchup for that pitcher that day."
Ole Miss Lineup (career vs. UA SO RHP Spencer Turnbull)
"I have always thought I had the potential to go out there and pitch in the SEC," Smith said. "That's why I came here. I just hadn't showed it yet. I think I have done that."
Smith took a no-decision in Wednesday's 4-1 loss to Arkansas, but he continued his success on the mound, giving up just one run on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts in six innings. In the third, he retired three batters in order after back-to-back singles to start the inning, then pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth.
"My defense helped me out a lot," Smith said. "Andrew Mistone made some really good plays. It helped a lot I was able to fill up the zone with all my pitches. I got my slider in the second or third inning. That was a good pitch for me. I was able to locate that well. I was able to keep them off balance, and that was big for me."
His six innings of work tied a career high, most recently against Mississippi State, in which he picked up his third win of the season. He gave up three runs -- one earned -- on eight hits with two strikeouts, as Ole Miss won 10-8.
"I was getting pretty tired, but I was still able to throw all my pitches for strikes," Smith said of pitching six innings. "I think as long as I could do that, I was fine. I felt OK."
Over his last seven starts, dating back to April 14 against Alabama, Smith has allowed just 10 runs, eight of which were earned, in 35 innings.
"Coach (Carl) Lafferty has worked a lot with me in the bullpen," Smith said. "We have been working on a lot of things. My defense has really what has given me the most confidence. I'm not scared to go after people and let them hit the ball because they have made some great plays for me."
Smith said he feels like he has been pitching about the same, just doing a better job throwing pitches for strikes and keeping the ball down. He also credited Wahl and Mayers, and their approach on the mound.
"Those guys compete harder than anyone I have ever seen," Smith said of Wahl and Mayers. "I try to model my competitiveness after them. They're fun to watch. I think a lot of what I need to work on was runners in scoring position, two outs and making big pitches to get out of the inning. I think I have been doing a better of job of that."
It will be his second career start against the Razorbacks, as he took a no-decision in a 6-4 win against Arkansas in 13 innings earlier this season. He allowed one run on three hits with a walk and strikeout in five innings.
The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder remains unbeaten with a 3-0 record to go along with a 3.28 ERA, .281 B/AVG, 1.40 WHIP and 29-to-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In his last six starts, he has allowed nine runs, seven of which were earned, in 29 innings.
Like junior right-hander Mike Mayers on Tuesday, Smith will be pitching on four days' rest, having pitched 3.1 innings against LSU this past Friday, giving up two runs on four hits with three strikeouts and two walks, as Ole Miss lost 5-4.
Astin settles into starter role: Sam Smith will be opposed on the mound by junior right-hander Barrett Astin for Arkansas.In his last outing, a start against Auburn this past Thursday, he took the loss, as he allowed three runs on nine hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in 6.1 innings.
"He threw Thursday (against Auburn)," Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said Monday. "He's probably, obviously, our freshest starter. Give him about five days rest."
The 6-foot-1, 200-punder has pitched in 16 games, including 12 as a starter, and holds a 4-4 record with a 2.02 ERA, .246 B/AVG, 1.18 WHIP and 56-to-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has bounced between the weekend rotation and bullpen, settling into the rotation where he has made nine starts. In those starts, he has allowed 15 runs, 12 of which were earned, in 45.2 innings.
He pitched in relief in a 6-4 loss to Ole Miss in 13 innings earlier this season, as he allowed one run on four hits with a strikeout. He also made a relief apperance against the Rebels in 2012, and two relief appearances in 2011.
The Arkansas pitching staff leads the nation with a team ERA of 1.90. The bullpen is a combined 10-7 with 17 saves and a 1.76 ERA
Ole Miss Lineup (career vs. UA JR RHP Barrett Astin)
"On short rest, the talking point after the game is how terrific Mike Mayers was," head coach Mike Bianco said. "I don't know if we have another guy who can do what Mike just did. It probably worked out better than we imagine; he was terrific today."
Kentucky threatened in the top of seventh, loading the bases, but junior left-hander Jeremy Massie got out of the inning with an infield fly popup and a groundout. In all, Massie allowed one hit with one walk in 1.2 scoreless innings.
"Jeremy Massie came in with a tough position with the tying run at the plate," Bianco said. "They get a swinging bunt, but he was super composed and gets the pop up and ground ball to get out of (the 7th inning)."
Offensively, the Ole Miss offense pounded out 11 hits, including four doubles, as eight of the nine starters recorded hits during the game. The top four in the order were 4-of-14 with two doubles and two RBI. The Rebels scored a run in the first and third, then two in the sixth.
"It was nice to watch guys continue to swing after coming off the last two games at LSU where we swung it pretty well," Bianco said.
Ole Miss advances to play No. 3 seed Arkansas tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. CT. The game will be televised on CSS and will be streamed online on ESPN3.
MAYERS ON SHORT REST: Mike Mayers made his second-straight start on four days' rest after throwing 105 pitches in a 7-1 loss to LSU this past Thursday and 94 pitches in a 3-0 win against Mississippi State the previous Saturday.
"I felt fine," Mayers said. "I think people make a bigger deal on short rest. You grew up, and nobody ever cared about rest. In the big leagues, you throw 200-plus innings. I stayed on the same routine I have been on the last two weeks.
"It was one of those days. My fastball command was there. I really pride myself on fastball command and pitch off of that. When my fast ball command is there, coach Mike Bianco does the rest, and Stu(art) Turner does a great job behind the plate."
PITCHING PLAN GOING FORWARD: Mike Bianco did not announce a starter for Wednesday's game against Arkansas. He Bianco said on Monday junior right-hander Bobby Wahl won't start Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, but may work out of the bullpen.
"We'll have to see," Bianco said of the pitching plan. "We'll go back. (Sam) Smith threw a little short work today. We'll talk to Coach Lafferty and see how that went prior to the game and look at that. There are some things running through our head, and how we are going to use Bobby this week.
"It has more to do with health and setting up for next week, and remaining sure you can win the next game."
ANOTHER FAMILIAR FOE IN ARKANSAS: Ole Miss and Arkansas met in a three-game series in March in Fayetteville with the Rebels winning two of three to open Southeastern Conference play. Ole Miss won the series opener 7-1, then Arkansas evened the series with a 10-1 win in game two. In the series finale, Ole Miss won 6-4 in 13 innings.
"I thought we got them at a good time," Bianco said of the earlier series against Arkansas. "(Ryne) Stanek wasn't pitching as well. Dominic (Ficociello), he was playing in the series, but certainly hurt. It was good timing on our part.
"You don't finish third in this league unless you're very, very good. Of course, they're outstanding on the mound. They have one of the best pitching staffs in the country, so it will be a good challenge for our offense."
Ole Miss also played Arkansas in last year's SEC Tournament, where it won 2-0 and eliminated the Razorbacks.
ASTIN TO START FOR ARKANSAS: Junior right-hander Barrett Astin will get the start for Arkansas. In his last outing, a start against Auburn this past Thursday, he took the loss, as he allowed three runs on nine hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in 6.1 innings.
"He threw Thursday," Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. "He's probably, obviously, our freshest starter. Give him about five days rest."
He pitched 2.2 innings of relief against Ole Miss earlier this year, giving up one run on four hits with a strikeout. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder enters Wednesday's contest with a 4-4 record to go along with a 2.02 ERA, .254 B/AVG, 1.22 WHIP and 63-to-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Mayers to make second-straight start on four days' rest:Head coach Mike Bianco announced Monday that junior right-hander Mike Mayers will get the start against Kentucky. It will be his second-straight start on four days' rest. He enters the contest with a 4-5 record to go along with a 3.21 ERA, .229 B/AVG, 1.20 WHIP and 66-to-30 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder threw 105 pitches in a 7-1 loss to LSU this past Thursday, giving up five runs on seven hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in six innings of work. He threw 94 pitches the in a 3-0 win against Mississippi State the previous Saturday, as he worked seven scoreless innings, giving up two hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
Mayers will be making his third career start against Kentucky, the second of the season. He won each of the two previous meetings, both matched against Kentucky starter Jerad Grundy, as he allowed a combined six runs -- four earned -- in 13.1 innings. Earlier this year, he allowed three runs -- one earned -- on one hit with three walks and eight strikeouts in six innings.
Wahl 'day-to-day in his workload': Mike Bianco said that the availability of junior right-hander Bobby Wahl is another thing they will talk about today. He said Wahl won't start Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, but may work out of the bullpen.
"We want to pitch him, we need to pitch him, but we have to be careful and make sure he's really feeling good when the regional rolls around," Bianco said of Wahl.
Bianco in SEC Tournament openers, elimination games: Mike Bianco has advanced to 11 SEC Tournaments in his 13-year tenure at Ole Miss. He is 6-4 all-time in SEC Tournament openers.
With the new tournament format this season, the first round is single elimination before double elimination will begin with the final eight teams, including the top four seeds. Bianco is 8-9 all-time in SEC Tournament elimination games, including a 2-0 win against Arkansas and 11-2 loss to LSU last season.
Bianco also won the 2006 SEC Tournament without facing elimination, winning four straight, capped by a 9-3 win against Vanderbilt 9-3 in the final. He is 19-18 all-time in SEC Tournament games.
Mathis stays hot at the top: Senior outfielder Tanner Mathis has reached base in 18 straight games and has raised his average 51 points to. 272 during that span. He was 7-for-10 with four walks in three games against LSU this past weekend.
Mathis has started all but one game and leads the team with 32 walks and ranks second on the team with a .408 on-base percentage.
"All of them have swung the bat great," Bianco said of the top and middle of his lineup. "(Austin) Anderson, (Tanner) Mathis, (Stuart) Turner, (Andrew) Mistone, they just continue to get hotter and hotter as the postseason gets closer. You need a handful of guys in the middle or at the top of the lineup to produce runs."
Familiar foe in Kentucky: Ole Miss and Kentucky met in a three-game series in April in Oxford with the Rebels dropping the series 2-1 to the Wildcats. Kentucky rallied to win the series opener 3-2 on the ESPNU Thursday Night Game of the Week. Ole Miss evened the series with a 11-5 win in game two, but was unable to complete a ninth-rally in a 5-4 loss in the series finale.
Ole Miss and Kentucky also met in last year's SEC Tournament opener with the Wildcats winning 2-0. Matt Snyder went 4-for-4 at the plate, while Bobby Wahl allowed just two runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
Where Kentucky is now: Kentucky, picked third in the SEC Eastern Division in the preseason poll, began the season ranked as high as No. 8 in one poll. The Wildcats began the season 22-6, winning 14 of their first 16 games before the start of SEC play.
Kentucky started SEC play with three straight series wins against Florida, Mississippi State and Georgia before dropping three straight series to LSU, Tennessee and South Carolina prior to its series against Ole Miss.Since its series win at Ole Miss, Kentucky is 4-7, including series losses to Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Missouri.
Including nonconference games, Kentucky is 8-18 (5-16 in SEC play) since its 22-6 start and has fallen out of the polls. The Wildcats enter the SEC Tournament with a No 38 RPI, No. 25 strength of schedule and a 13-17 record against the RPI Top 50. Kentucky head coach Gary Herderson said they need a significant run, if not win the SEC Tournament to make the NCAA Tournament.
Grundy faces Ole Miss for the third time: Senior left-hander Jerad Grundy gets the nod on the mound for Kentucky, his third career start for Ole Miss. He took the loss in each of the two previous starts, as he allowed a combined 15 runs in 10.1 innings. Earlier this year, he allowed nine runs on 12 hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 5.2 innings, as Ole Miss won 11-5.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder enters Tuesday's contest with a 6-5 record to go along with a 4.75 ERA, .286 B/AVG, 1.36 WHIP and 60-to-20 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Ole Miss is 9-13 against left-handed starters this season.
Grundy, a 26th-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in the 2012 MLB Draft, started the season in the weekend rotation and won five of his first six decisions, including wins against Florida and Mississippi State.
He then suffered three straight losses to Georgia, LSU and Tennessee, followed by a no-decision against South Carolina and a loss to Ole Miss and was removed from the weekend rotation. In the two midweek starts since, against Wright State and Indiana, Grundy is 1-0 with a 1.64, allowing just two runs on nine hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in 11 innings.
"He ran into a rough four-game stretch in the middle of the year," Kentucky head coach Gary Henderson said of Grundy. "We moved him out of the rotation, and he was able to relax and get back to being himself, which is what we saw for the last year and a half. He's pitched much, much better the last two or three times out than he had the previous four."
What's at stake for Kentucky:
I think so. RT @kyletucker_cj: @aaronfitt UK, off losing 2 of 3 at Mizzou & with just 11 SEC wins, gotta win SEC tournament to get in NCAA?
The much anticipated list of walk out songs is here. Click on the song to hear it. Viewer discretion advised. Songs played in venue will be edited. My personal favorite has to be Mistone's with the Latin flavor.
With Valentine's Day rolling in on February 14th, I Love Ole Miss week is the perfect way to show your affection for the Ole Miss Rebels. There are nine events in a five day span that are great opportunities for you to take part in cheering on the red and blue, including the home openers of Rebel Softball and Baseball. At five different events, you will be able to score a sweet I Love Ole Miss T-Shirt. Below is a schedule of events, so mark your calendars!
Softball vs. LSU 5PM Home Opener Dollar Dogs and Popcorn for Fans I Love Ole Miss T-Shirts for First 100 Fans Fans who donate gently-used sports equipment for the Geaux Play Program will receive two free general admission tickets to the baseball home opener on February 15th.
Women's Basketball vs. MSU 7PM Free I Love Ole Miss T-Shirts to All Fans Buy 1 Get 1 Free Facebook Voucher Russian Bar Trio at the Half 5 Rebel Rewards Points Date Night Package Giveaway *1 Dozen Roses *2 Tickets to Baseball, Men's Basketball, and Women's Basketball Games *Gift Certificates to Malco Cinema *Couples Massage *Dinner at Irie *and much more
Women's Tennis vs. Oklahoma State 2PM Iris Verboven Collectible Poster I Love Ole Miss T-Shirts to First 100 Fans 1 Rebel Rewards Point
Baseball vs. TCU 4PM Season Opener Tanner Mathis Collectible Poster 1 Rebel Rewards Point
Baseball vs. TCU 1:30PM I Love Ole Miss T-Shirts to first 500 fans 1 Rebel Rewards Point
Men's Basketball vs. Georgia 7PM Roll Out Banners for first 1000 fans Russian Bar Trio at the Half 1 Rebel Rewards Point Sunday
Women's Tennis vs. Washington 11AM Enter to win an iPod 1 Rebel Rewards Point
Baseball vs. TCU 12PM Free Ole Miss Koozies 1 Rebel Rewards Point
Women's Basketball vs. South Carolina 1PM 1 Rebel Rewards Point
When you step into Oxford University Stadium/ Swayze Field you can almost immediately tell that there is something different about this place. The first time I was able to walk through the stadium was in 2003, as a student manager. For two years I came to work everyday at Swayze field. I was lucky enough to come back to Ole Miss Athletics in 2008 and see that Swayze had not only grown in popularity, but also in size. As a manager, I remember the detail Coach Bianco always showed when it came to aspects of the program, a characteristic he still has today. Even though the field is named after legendary coach Tom Swayze I believe the case could be made that Coach Bianco is the legal guardian. As a manager you begin to meet all types of people that love Ole Miss and in particular Ole Miss baseball. I remember the first time I met the late Ernie LaBarge, founder and long-time operator of the bullpen club. His love for Ole Miss baseball was unparalleled. The things he did for the baseball program are still shining through today. As the program continues to grow, so does the luster and aura of Swayze field.
Every year I get dozens of calls, texts, and e-mails from fans asking what the new walkout songs are going to be for the players entering the season. Below is the first draft of songs. As you know most players do not end the year with the same songs they begin with. My personal favorite has to be "Return of the Mack." Be sure to comment with your favorites.
1 Preston Overbey: Rockstar by Ludacris and Kid Rock
2 Alex Yarbrough: Moment of Clarity by Jay Z
3 Austin Knight: 5 Seconds by Canton Jones
4 Will Jamison: Opposite of Adults by Chitty Bang
6 Blake Newalu: Bust a Move by Young MC
7 Senquez Golson: Everything by Young Jeezy
8 Austin Anderson: Jump by Kris Kross
9 Austin Bousfield: Blow Up by J. Cole
10 Chris Ellis: Still Fly by Drake
11 Zach Kirksey: Without Me by Eminem
12 Tanner Mathis: Nonfiction by Mike Stud
13 Taylor Hightower: Whatever you like by T.I.
16 Chase Reeves: Explosive by Dr Dre
17 Casey Mulholland: Not without a fight by Pillar
18 Tyler Roach: Juicy by Notorious B.I.G
19 Bobby Wahl: I'm on It by J. Cole
20 Josh Laxer: Square Dance by Eminem
21 Hawtin Buchanan: The Next Episode by Dr. Dre
22 Jake Overbey: Somebody watching me by Yo Gotti
24 Sikes Orvis: Let it fly by Maino
25 Andrew Mistone: Danza Kuduro by Don Omar
27 R.J. Hively: Suffering by Rebelution
28 Mike Mayers: Halloween Theme Song
29 Sam Smith: OOH AHH by Grits
30 Will Allen: Strong Tower by Kutless
31 Tanner Bailey: Lights by Elle Goulding (Bassnectar Remix)
32 Dylan Chavez: For whom the Bell Tolls by Metallica
33 Matt Snyder: Sound of Madness by Shinedown
34 Jon Andy Scott: Levels by Avicii
37 Blair Wright: Seven Nation Army Remix by The Glitch Mob
38 Brett Huber: Knock Knock by Mac Miller
40 Scott Weathersby: Bulls Intro Remix by Pretty Lights
43 Kody Sepulveda: Only God Can Judge Me by Tupac
44 Aaron Greenwood: Return of the Mac by Mark Morrison
46 John Gatlin: (Hitting) Toy Soldiers by Eminem (Pitching) Red Nation Intrumental by The Game
*We have all edited versions of the songs for in-stadium use. If you are going to youtube the songs you may get unedited versions. USER BEWARE! Follow me @B_Hud
It's something Ole Miss fans have known for years, but many on the national level are quickly catching on that Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field is the place to be in the spring to truly experience college baseball.
Swayze Field was ranked the second best college baseball stadium and atmosphere in America on Wednesday, paying tibute to the support Ole Miss baseball has received in the last decade. That's a testament to the work that head coach Mike Bianco and company have put in to build Rebel baseball into a player on the national secene.
More importantly, it's a testament to a fan base that has grown rabid in its support of its baseball program and come out to do its part to make Swayze Field one of the best places to be for a weekend of college baseball in America. From Sweet Caroline to the Love Is Gone to a guy in a mask in left field with his own theme song, there's no shortage of entertainment and some unique traditions in Oxford in the spring.
Read about it here to see the programs O-U Stadium and Rebel baseball stacked up with (and in many cases suprassed).