No. 9 Ole Miss Baseball Hosts Winthrop to Open 2018
FRIDAY - 4 p.m. SATURDAY - 1:30 p.m. SUNDAY - 12:30 p.m.
PROJECTED STARTERS
Ole Miss: LHP Ryan Rolison 
6-3, 3.06 ERA, 61.2 IP

Winthrop: RHP Zach Peek
5-1, 3.70 ERA, 56.0 IP
PROJECTED STARTERS
Ole Miss: RHP Brady Feigl
2-2, 4.08 ERA, 53.0 IP
Winthrop: Colton Rendon
7-5, 4.19 ERA, 86.0 IP
PROJECTED STARTERS
Ole Miss: RHP James McArthur 
3-6, 4.73 ERA, 64.2 IP
Winthrop: RHP Nate Pawelczyk
7-2, 2.23 ERA, 76.2 IP

Games 1-3
Winthrop (0-0, 0-0 Big South) vs. No. 9 Ole Miss (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
Dates: February 16-18, 2018
First Pitch: Friday: 4 p.m. CT | Saturday: 1:30 p.m. | Sunday: 12:30 p.m.
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Venue: O-U Stadium/Swayze Field
TV: Friday: SECN+ | Saturday: SECN+ | Sunday: SECN+
     Richard Cross, play-by-play
     David Dellucci, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
     David Kellum/Graham Doty, play-by-play
     Keith Kessinger, analyst
Series: Never Met

PROMOTIONS
Friday, February 16
- First 500 students in right field receive and Ole Miss clear fanny pack
- Will Golsan poster giveaway

Saturday, February 17
- Schedule magnet giveaway
- Will Stokes poster giveaway

Sunday, February 18
- Meet the Rebels poster giveaway
- Kids Run the Bases presented by Belles and Beaus
     - Kids are invited to head down to the field following the completion of the game
- Ole Miss Baseball card giveaway
     - First of five pack giveaway

LEADING OFF

  • Ole Miss opens its 118th season of baseball this weekend with a three-game set against Winthrop.
  • The weekend series marks the first matchup between the Rebels and Eagles.
  • Ole Miss also hasn't opened a season against a team from South Carolina since 1968 when they hosted Clemson in Oxford.
  • The Rebels enter 2018 ranked as high as No. 9 in the D1Baseball preseason poll, and are ranked in five of the six polls.
  • The series begins a stretch of eight-straight at home to start the 32-game home season at Swayze Field.
  • Ole Miss returns all but two of its starting position players from 2017, with a large majority of the offensive production returning.
  • On the mound, the Rebels lost only one starter and three other relievers with nine returning this season. Those returners combined for 70 percent (40-of-57) of the games started from a year ago.
  • Of those pitchers, three were Freshman All-Americans last year in Ryan Rolison, Houston Roth and Will Ethridge.
  • Of the non-conference opponents through the first three weekends, two were conference champions a year ago, Winthrop (Big South) and Long Beach State (Big West).
  • The Rebels will play 24 games against NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago.
  • Ole Miss had five Rebels drafted in 2017 -- the 14th consecutive year at least four Rebels were chosen.
  • The Rebels are 16-1 in season openers under head coach Mike Bianco, who enters his 18th season at the helm as the 6th all-time winningest coach in SEC history, and the longest active coach in the league.
  • Ole Miss has won 13 season-opening weekend series during the Bianco era, highlighted by last season's sweep over No. 6 ECU.
  • RHP junior closer Dallas Woolfolk and LHP Ryan Rolison have been highlighted on numerous Preseason all-America teams and watch lists, with the duo each earning all-America honors from four different outlets.
  • Rolison was named to the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Watch List, while Woolfolk landed preseason honors from the NCBWA for Stopper of the Year.

SCOUTING REPORT
Winthrop is led by eighth-year head coach Tom Riginos, coming off a regular season championship in the Big South Conference in 2017. The Eagles went 17-7 in the Big South a year ago and 34-24 overall. Winthrop returns eight of its top 10 batters as well as Big South Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-American Colton Rendon, and Nate Pawelczyk, the Preseason Pitcher of the Year both on the mound.

The trip south to Oxford marks the first of five-straight on the road for the Eagles, as they will trek to Spartanburg to take on USC Upstate next Tuesday, and South Carolina the following day. Past that, Winthrop will enjoy eight of its next nine at home. By far three of the toughest tests on the Eagles' schedule come early on with Ole Miss on opening weekend, the Gamecocks in game five, and a midweek at Clemson on Feb. 27.

The Eagles lost only two everyday hitters from 2017, and return five players with clips of .270 or better, highlighted by Mitch Spires' .345 average a year ago. Hunter Lipscomb led the team with 60 RBI in 2017 and is also the leading home run hitter that returns with six. As a team the Eagles hit .279 in 2017 with 84 doubles, 10 triples and 36 home runs. They were 33-of-57 on the base paths led by five steals each from Spires and Matthew Mulkey, who both return.

Winthrop returns all but two of its pitchers from 2017, highlighted by Big South Preseason Pitcher of the Year Nate Pawelczyk, who went 7-2 with a 2.23 ERA. He totaled 76.2 innings and struck out 69 with only 19 earned runs allowed. Colton Rendon, a Freshman All-American, is also back with a team-high 15 starts under his belt coming off a 7-5 season with a 4.19 ERA. Both Riley Arnone (3-2, 3.38 ERA, 48.0 IP) and Dalton Whitaker (4-3, 6.06 ERA, 35.2 IP) led the club with 28 appearances, and are also both to help anchor the staff on the mound. Overall the Eagles amassed a 4.51 ERA in 2017 with 375 strikeouts as a club.

SERIES HISTORY
Ole Miss and Winthrop will be meeting for the first time this weekend at Swayze Field. Ole Miss hasn't opened a season against a team from South Carolina since they faced Clemson way back in 1968.

REBELS PICKED THIRD IN SEC WEST
Ole Miss was picked to finish third in the SEC Western Division according to the league's head coaches. The Rebels received one first-place vote and totaled a point total of 62 in the poll, checking in behind only Arkansas and Texas A&M.

WOOLFOLK TABBED PRESEASON ALL-SEC
The Rebels' junior closer earned a spot on the Preseason All-SEC Team, the lone Rebel on the list. The Southaven, Mississippi, native is coming off a dominant 2017 campaign in which he finished one off the school's single-season record in saves with 12. He led the team in appearances with 26, all in relief, totaling a 2.15 ERA and 3-2 record on the mound. The righty struck out 41 and held opposing hitters to a .200 clip in 37.2 innings of action.

PRESEASON HONORS? NO PROBLEM
Name any preseason All-America team or preseason watch list and junior RHP Dallas Woolfolk and sophomore LHP Ryan Rolison were probably on it. The duo combined for eight different preseason All-America selections, and both landed on preseason watch lists for a pair of prestigious awards. 

WOOLFOLK NAMED TO STOPPER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST
This marks the third-straight year for a Rebel to be on the list for the award given annually to the top relief pitcher in Division I Baseball. Woolfolk enters his junior campaign as one of the top relievers nationally, therefore landing him a spot on the prestigious watch list. He is one of 52 players on the list and one of eight from the Southeastern Conference. The Southaven, Mississippi, native is the third Rebel in as many years to appear on the watch list after now senior Will Stokes was on it last year. In 2016, southpaw Wyatt Short made the preseason and midseason lists' as the closer.

ROLISON NAMED TO USA BASEBALL GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD WATCH LIST
Rolison is the first Rebel to earn the preseason honor since Christian Trent in 2015.Rolison is one of 55 players on the preseason list, and is one of 15 players from the SEC. Of those, nine are pitchers, including Rolison. He joins a strong list of Rebel greats who also landed on the prestigious watch list, including Trent, Bobby Wahl (Oakland A's), Drew Pomeranz (Boston Red Sox), Scott Bittle, Lance Lynn (St. Louis Cardinals) and Cody Satterwhite.

RETURNING REBELS
Despite losing five Rebels to the MLB Draft -- the 14th consecutive year at least four Rebels were picked -- Ole Miss returns a large portion of its production offensively from last season, including eight of its 10 everyday hitters. Two of the three hitters who batted at least .300 (Nick Fortes, Will Golsan) are back in the lineup, as are six other players who heavily contributed, most of which started routinely. Of those 10 players, 73% of the hits return, as do 78% of the doubles, 53% of the home runs, and 67% of RBI.

On the mound, the production returning is even greater highlighted by a strong pitching staff that ranks among the nation's best. Of the 13 pitchers who appeared last season, only four were lost, who combined accounted for 37 appearances (David Parkinson the lone starter of the departed pitchers). The Rebels return all three Freshman All-Americans (Ryan Rolison, Houston Roth, Will Ethridge), along with experienced starters Brady Feigl and James McArthur, and with a host of other veteran pitchers.

AYE AYE, CAPTAIN
Senior Will Golsan and redshirt junior Brady Feigl were chosen as team captains for the 2018 season. Feigl, an experienced righty, enters his fourth spring as a member of the program, while Golsan has played literally everywhere on the field in his four-year career, and will look to anchor the Rebels from the outfield in 2018.

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
The Rebels welcome a crop of 14 newcomers in 2018 including four JUCO transfers and 10 freshmen. Jacob Adams (Jr. - Crowder College) has been a name thrown around for the second base job, while RHP Austin Miller's name has been tossed around for relief out of the bullpen. Of the 10 freshman, Anthony Servideo (Jupiter, Fla.) is also a name to watch at second base, while both Tyler Keenan (Clayton, N.C.) and Tim Elko (Lutz, Fla.) are competing for starting jobs at the hot corner. Back on the mound, LHP Jordan Fowler's name has been consistently mentioned after he was drafted by the Texas Rangers last summer. Other newcomers to watch include LHP Emanuel Fernandez (Fr. - Lake Worth, Fla.), OF Michael Spears (Fr. - Winter Park, Fla.), RHP Max Cioffi (Fr. - Chicago, Ill.), RHP Colin Coates (Jr. - Southaven, Miss.), UT Golston Gillespie (Fr. - Ila, Ga.), LHP Pierce Smith (Jr. - Marietta, Ga.), OF Carl Gindl (Fr. - Cantonment, Fla.), and RHP Matt Myers (Fr. - Jackson, Miss.).

NATIONALLY RANKED
Ole Miss received a top-20 ranking in all of the major polls, and are ranked as high as No. 9 according to D1Baseball, the second-straight year with a preseason top-10 ranking. Perfect Game slotted the Rebels No. 11, while Baseball America and NCBWA both have them at No. 16. The USA Today poll ranked the Diamond Rebs No. 19, while they received votes in the Collegiate Baseball preseason list. 2018 marks the first year in program history the Rebels are ranked 16th or higher in the top three national preseason polls.

WOOLFOLK SPORTS THE STARS AND STRIPES FOR TEAM USA
At the conclusion of Dallas Woolfolk's 2017 campaign, the now junior was offered an invitation to spend the summer with USA Baseball, where he played as a member of the Collegiate National Team. He became the eighth Rebel to play for USA Baseball while on the Rebels' roster. He is the 10th Rebel to represent his country in international play after head coach Mike Bianco served as pitching coach back in 2013.

TWO CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS ON THE DOCKET
Of the first three weekends of play, Ole Miss will face multiple tough tests with the likes of Winthrop, Tulane and Long Beach State. Both the Eagles and Dirtbags are coming off conference championships, with Winthrop claiming the Big South regular season title, and Long Beach State earning Big West Championship accolades. On top of that, the Rebels also welcome Tulane to town for week two, a program that last visited in 2016 as part of the NCAA Oxford Regional winning 41 games.

ON DECK
Following opening weekend the Rebels will host Memphis on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at O-U Stadium/Swayze Field.


 

 

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