Feb. 23, 2017
The Last Meeting
February 26, 2012
Matchup: No. 8 Ole Miss (4-0) vs. No. 23 UNCW (3-0)
Date: Feb. 24-26
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Venue: Swayze Field
Will Kollmeyer play-by-play
David Dellucci, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
David Kellum/Eli Savoie, play-by-play
Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Series: Ole Miss leads 3-0
Last Series: Feb. 24-26, 2012
Ole Miss won all three games
Friday, February 24, 4 PM
» First 500 students in right field receive a FREE Ole Miss Hat
Sunday, February 26, 12 PM
» Meet the Rebels Poster Giveaway
» Kids Run the Bases Presented by Belles and Beaus. Kids are invited to come down on the field following the completion of the game.
- Ole Miss is 4-0 for the eighth time under head coach Mike Bianco.
- Ole Miss and UNCW played the only series between the two programs exactly five years ago (Feb. 24-26, 2012); the Rebels swept the Seahawks by outscoring them 18-9 over three gams.
- Ole Miss leads the SEC in turning double plays with five.
- Will Golsan tops the conference with four doubles and ranks third in the nation.
- Sophomore Ryan Olenek is the reigning SEC Player of the Week.
- With 634 victories at Ole Miss, head coach Mike Bianco is tied with Auburn’s Hal Baird for seventh on the SEC’s all-time wins list.
- Four freshman pitchers combined for 19 strikeouts in Tuesday's win over Arkansas State.
- The Rebels swept No. 6 East Carolina last weekend, their first three-game sweep of a top-10 team since April 24-25, 2010 (No. 5 LSU).
- A new Swayze Field three-game series attendance record was set when 33,070 watched Ole Miss sweep East Carolina on opening weekend.
- Attendance for Opening Day was 12,117 which set a single-game record for Swayze Field.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
FRIDAY, 4 P.M.
UNCW - Alex Royalty, So., RHP, 1-0, 5.40 ERA, 5.0 IP
Ole Miss - David Parkinson, Jr., LHP, 1-0, 3.86 ERA, 7.0 IP
- Earned the win on Opening Day versus No. 6 East Carolina, allowing three runs on six hits while tying career highs for innings pitched (7.0) and strikeouts (6)
- Was strong and consistent throughout the spring and fall to earn the No. 1 slot in the rotation.
- Became the No. 2 weekend starter midway through the season last year
- Held the lowest ERA among Rebel starting pitchers in 2016
- Made 22 appearances, including nine starts, and logged 68.0 innings last season
- Transferred to Ole Miss in 2016 after spending one season at Florence-Darlington Technical School
SATURDAY, 12 P.M.
UNCW - Josh Roberson, Jr., RHP, 0-0, 1.80 ERA, 5.0 IP
Ole Miss - James McArthur, So., RHP, 0-0, 4.15 ERA, 4.1 IP
- Allowed two runs on three hits versus No. 6 ECU (no decision)
- 2016 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American (Collegiate Baseball)
- Pitched in 15 games, making 12 starts last year (primarily in midweek games)
- SEC Freshman of the Week (April 25, 2016) after pitching 11.2 scoreless innings in two appearances over the week
- Went a career-long 7.0 scoreless innings against Memphis with seven strikeouts and surrendering only four hits (April 19, 2016)
- Tied with Sean Johnson as the tallest person on the team (6’7”)
SUNDAY, 12 P.M.
UNCW - Logan Beehler, R-So., RHP, 0-0, 2.45 ERA, 3.2 IP
Ole Miss - Brady Feigl, R-So., RHP, 0-0, 7.20 ERA, 5.0 IP
- Made his first career start against No. 6 ECU, lasting 5.0 innings (no decision)
- 2016 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American (Collegiate Baseball)
- Made 26 appearances out of the bullpen in his debut season, the second-most outings on the team and most by a freshman
- Recorded 39 strikeouts to rank second among Rebel relievers in 2016
- Career-long outing is 5.1 innings of relief against Mississippi State (April 2, 2016)
- Redshirted the 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery
SCOUTING THE SEAHAWKS
UNCW enters the weekend undefeated and ranked as high as No. 23 in the national polls (NCBWA). The Seahawks hosted George Mason, VMI and Appalachian State on opening weekend, hitting .310 as a team and averaging over seven runs per game. Senior Casey Golden had a big weekend, going 6-for-12 with four runs, two home runs and four RBI. UNCW earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament last season after going 41-19 and winning the Colonial Athletic Association regular season title. Returning from the 2016 squad are Preseason All-Americans Nick Feight and Brian Mims. Feight was the 2016 CAA Player of the Year after totaling 24 doubles, 21 home runs and a nation-best 91 RBI, all school records. Mims led the Seahawks with a .371 average last year, belting 14 homers and scoring 71 runs. With 840 career wins, Mark Scalf is coaching UNCW for the 26th straight season.
Ole Miss and UNCW have only met for one series, and it took place exactly five years ago (Feb. 24-26, 2012). The Rebels and Seahawks played a three-game set at Swayze Field with the home team claiming the sweep on the second weekend of the season. Game one featured a pitcher’s duel with Bobby Wahl tossing 7.0 shutout innings in a 2-0 Ole Miss victory. The Rebels won the second game by two runs as well, 6-4, before breaking out the bats for a 10-5 tally in the series finale. Brett Huber, the Rebels’ all-time saves leader and current director of operations for the program, closed out two of the games for Ole Miss to add to his saves total.
REBELS VERSUS RANKED OPPONENTS
Already winning three games against a top-10 team this season, Ole Miss has never been intimidated when it comes to facing tough opponents. The Rebels faced 10 different ranked opponents last season, winning 12 games which included series victories over No. 2 Louisville, No. 8 LSU and No. 21 Arkansas. The Rebels also topped No. 2 Texas A&M, No. 4 South Carolina, No. 5 Mississippi State and No. 18 Coastal Carolina, which went on to win the national championship, in games last year.
Four freshmen dazzled on the mound, and 16 hits at the plate led No. 8 Ole Miss to a 16-4 thumping of Arkansas State Tuesday night at Swayze Field. The young quartet of Will Ethridge, Houston Roth, Ryan Rolison and Greer Holston combined for 19 strikeouts, the most by an Ole Miss pitching staff since April 10, 2015 (6-5 win in a 16-inning game at No. 1 Vanderbilt) and the most in a nine-inning game since Feb. 22, 2008 (school record 21 vs. Minnesota). Making his debut, Ethridge mowed down the Red Wolves. He recorded 10 strikeouts, the most by an Ole Miss freshman since Justin Cryer accomplished the feat in 2007 and the most in an Ole Miss debut this century. Roth, another freshman making his first appearance as a Rebel, struck out five over 2.0 scoreless innings of work. Rolison and Holston closed out the contest with one inning apiece, keeping ASU off the scoreboard.
GOLSAN GETS GOING
Junior Will Golsan has gotten off to a fast start this season, leading the team in multiple offensive categories: hits (8), runs (8), doubles (4), RBI (5) and slugging percentage (1.000). The Columbus, Mississippi, native ranks in the SEC’s top 15 of all four categories, leading the conference in doubles and third in runs scored. With three doubles against Arkansas State on Tuesday, not only did Golsan increase his season total to sit atop the SEC, but he also moved up to third in the country with four doubles. He’s shown his versatility in the field as well, starting in his third different position in as many seasons. Golsan won the starting nod at second base following the beginning of his freshman season before moving to first base last year. This season, Golsan has found his home in right field to better showcase his athleticism.
THE 17TH SEASON OF THE BIANCO ERA
The 2017 season is the 17th year of Ole Miss Baseball led by Mike Bianco, the program’s all-time wins leader. With 634 wins at Ole Miss over the past 16+ seasons, Bianco is the winningest and longest active coach in the Southeastern Conference. He ranks seventh on the SEC’s all-time wins list, tied with longtime Auburn coach Hal Baird. Bianco is also on pace to leapfrog former Vanderbilt coach Roy Mewbourne, who sits in sixth, this season; Mewbourne produced 655 wins in 24 seasons.
HOW SWEEP IT IS!
As the only top-10 matchup in the country on opening weekend, the Rebels knew they had a tall task in facing No. 6 East Carolina and former Ole Miss assistant Cliff Godwin. However, behind a mix of newcomers and veterans, Ole Miss swept the Pirates in three close games. Freshmen Thomas Dillard and Cole Zabowski along with veterans Will Golsan and Ryan Olenek hit over .400 throughout the weekend to lead the Rebels at the plate. Meanwhile, the bullpen limited ECU to two runs over a combined 10.2 innings. The sweep marked the first time the Rebels defeated a top-10 opponent in three straight games since April 24-25, 2010 versus No. 5 LSU.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
Swayze Field provides the best atmosphere and some of the biggest crowds across the country for college baseball games. The Rebels have won over 70 percent of their home games throughout the past 28 seasons. The combination of winning baseball plus an electric fan base makes Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field a bucket list item for any sports fan. A 2016 survey conducted by D1Baseball.com proved it as Division I baseball coaches ranked Swayze Field top 10 nationally in six different categories, including prettiest setting, best traditions, best overall stadium and most intimidating cracking the top five. Last year, the Rebels averaged 8,502 fans per game, including five contests with the attendance over 10,000, to rank second nationally. In total, 291,714 fans watched Ole Miss Baseball at Swayze Field, which was also the third-highest total attendance in the country. Both marks set season attendance records. With single-game and series records already broken this season, Ole Miss has averaged 9,964 per game to rank second in the nation.
With the combination of the No. 1 recruiting class, returning veterans and a top-10 team coming to town, the start of the 2017 season was highly anticipated by Rebel Nation. The Ole Miss faithful came out in record numbers throughout the weekend, starting with Opening Day. A single-game Swayze Field record of 12,117 watched Ole Miss knock off No. 6 East Carolina 5-4 in game one. The following day, 11,494 fans saw the Rebels clinch the series with another one-run win; that crowd was the third-highest in Swayze Field history. Closing out the weekend, Ole Miss brought out the brooms for an 8-6 victory in front of 9,459. The three-day total of 33,070 set another Swayze Field record for attendance during a series, breaking the previous mark of 29,646 for the 2009 NCAA Super Regional.
The Rebels showed resilience throughout opening weekend, rallying from behind in all three games versus No. 6 East Carolina. Three times after the Pirates plated runs in the top half of an inning, Ole Miss immediately responded by scoring in the bottom half of the frame. In the season opener, a leadoff home run put ECU on the board first, but the Rebels responded with a run of their own. Three innings later, the Pirates scored two runs to take a 3-2 lead before Ole Miss countered with a pair of runs to regain a 4-3 advantage. Trailing 2-0 in game two, the Rebels got out of a bases-loaded game with a groundball double play before scoring three runs over the next two innings to claim the one-run victory. In the series finale, ECU plated four runs in the top of the sixth to take a commanding 6-2 lead; however, Ole Miss answered with a big five-run inning to flip the script to 7-6. The Rebels added an insurance run to win 8-6 and capture the sweep.
OLENEK NAMED SEC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
After helping lead the Ole Miss baseball team to a sweep over No. 6 East Carolina to begin the 2017 season, sophomore center fielder Ryan Olenek was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Week. Hitting .462 throughout the weekend, Olenek earned a weekly award for the first time in his young Rebel career. Olenek spent most of his freshman season as the Rebels’ starting right fielder, but he was called upon to move to center field this year following All-American J.B. Woodman getting selected in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft. He also moved to the top of the order on opening weekend. However, filling the shoes of an All-American and becoming more of a prominent piece of the lineup did not faze Olenek. Starting all three games in center field, Olenek went 6-for-13 with two doubles over the weekend, recording at least one hit in each game. Batting second in the season opener, he ripped a double down the first base line for the Rebels’ first hit of the season before coming around to score the first run of the 2017 campaign as well. The Winter Springs, Florida, native went 3-for-4 with a double to lead the team in a 5-4 victory. Batting in the leadoff spot for the first time in his career, Olenek put together another multi-hit game and plated one run in Saturday’s 3-2 win. Wrapping up the weekend, the Rebels trailed by four in the middle of the sixth of Sunday’s season finale. Ole Miss bounced back in the bottom half of the frame, and Olenek placed the cherry on top of a five-run inning. The sophomore smacked the game-winning two-run double that gave the Rebels the lead for good to complete the sweep.
OLE MISS DEBUTS
Eleven Rebels made their debuts on opening weekend: IF Bryce Blaum (pinch runner, Feb. 18), IF Chase Cockrell, (designated hitter, Feb. 17), OF Thomas Dillard (left field, Feb. 17), RHP Greer Holston (relief pitcher, Feb. 19), C Cooper Johnson (catcher, Feb. 17), IF Grae Kessinger (shortstop, Feb. 17), C Carson Klepzig (pinch runner, Feb. 19), LHP Ryan Rolison (relief pitcher, Feb. 19), OF Tim Rowe (pinch hitter, Feb. 19), OF Bryan Seamster (pinch runner, Feb. 17) and IF Cole Zabowski (first base, Feb. 17). Five newcomers earned starts on Opening Day: Cockrell, Dillard, Johnson, Kessinger and Zabowski.
ON THE HORIZON
The Rebels will close out their eight-game homestand by hosting Memphis on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at Swayze Field. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. Following the midweek contest, Ole Miss will hit the road for the first time this season to participate in the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic (March 3-5). Competing in one of the most prestigious regular season tournaments in the country, the Rebels will face three Big 12 teams in Baylor (March 3), Texas Tech (March 4) and TCU (March 5) at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.