Rebels Ready for Five Games in Six Days
March 6, 2017

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MIDWEEK MATCHUP
Matchup: No. 14 Ole Miss (7-4) vs. Georgia State (6-4)
Dates:
March 7-8
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Venue: Swayze Field
Capacity: 10,323
Television: SECN+
    Richard Cross (Tues.)/Will Kollmeyer (Wed.), play-by-play
    David Dellucci, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
    David Kellum, play-by-play
    Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Series: Ole Miss leads 2-1
Last Series: Feb. 21-23, 2014
        Ole Miss won 2 of 3
        Oxford, Miss.

PROMOTIONS
Tuesday, March 7, 6:30 PM
» Boy Scout and Girl Scout Night - All Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts receive free admission.
» Beat GSU buttons to the first 200 fans
» Kids Night! Kids 12 and under get in FREE
» $1 Hot Dog Night

Wednesday, March 8, 3 PM
» Kids Day! Kids 12 and under get in FREE
» $1 Hot Dog Day

QUICK HITS
- Ole Miss and Georgia State last met on a weekend in 2014, with the Rebels winning the series at home.
- GSU is the second of four Sun Belt teams the Rebels will face in midweek contests this season.
- Ole Miss pitching leads the SEC in fewest hits allowed (75), strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.17) and strikeouts per nine innings (11.1); the strikeout categories rank top 10 nationally.
- The midweek series begins a stretch of five games in six days for the Rebels, all at Swayze Field.
- Ole Miss is averaging 9,237 fans per game at Swayze Field, ranking second in the country.
- Colby Bortles was named to the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic all-tournament team.
- Freshman Will Ethridge has tallied 16 strikeouts in 8.0 innings and is holding hitters to a .077 batting average.
- Leading the team with a . 387 batting average, freshman first baseman Cole Zabowski has recorded a hit in nine of the 10 games he’s played in this season.
- Tate Blackman is hitting .476 over his past six games, recording team highs in hits (10) and runs (6) during that stretch.

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
TUESDAY, 6:30 P.M.
Georgia State - Brandon Baker, Jr., LHP, 0-1, 5.68 ERA, 6.1 IP
Ole Miss - Ryan Rolison, Fr., LHP, 1-0, 4.26 ERA, 6.1 IP
NOTING ROLISON:
- Has made five appearances this season, all in relief
- Pitched 2.2 innings and recorded six strikeouts vs. No. 10 Texas Tech (March 4), both career highs
- Earned the win in his first career appearance, pitching one inning vs. No. 6 East Carolina (Feb. 19)
- Rated as the No. 10 freshman prospect in the nation (D1Baseball.com)
- As a senior in high school, recorded 108 strikeouts in 58.0 innings to earn USA TODAY’s Mr. Baseball in the state of Tennessee, also earning first team All-USA honors
- Won a gold medal at the 18-and-under World Cup as a member of Team USA
- Drafted in the 37th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres

WEDNESDAY, 3 P.M.
Georgia State - TBA
Ole Miss - Will Ethridge, Fr., RHP, 1-0, 2.25 ERA, 8.0 IP
NOTING ETHRIDGE:
- Retired all six hitters he faced, striking out four, in 2.0 innings of relief vs. No. 1 TCU (March 5)
- Earned the victory in his first game as a Rebel, striking out 10 over 5.0 innings vs. Arkansas State (Feb. 21)
- His 10 strikeouts were the most by an Ole Miss freshman since 2007 and the most by a Rebel in a debut this century
- Rated as the No. 33 freshman prospect in the nation (D1Baseball.com)
- 2016 Louisville Slugger first team High School All-American (Collegiate Baseball)
- Posted a 23-5 record with a 1.65 ERA, 119 strikeouts and 21 walks in 148.0 innings throughout his high school career
- Drafted in the 35th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners

SCOUTING GEORGIA STATE
The Panthers enter the midweek series with a 6-4 record following a victorious weekend. GSU took two-of-three from Northern Kentucky at home following a midweek setback to No. 17 Georgia Tech. At the plate, junior Romero Greer is hitting .531 on the year to lead the Sun Belt Conference and rank in the top 10 nationally. Ryan Blanton paces the team in nearly every other offensive category, including runs (10), RBI (10), triples (2) and home runs (2). On the mound, junior southpaw Brandon Baker will start Tuesday. He has made two starts already, logging 6.1 innings and posting a 5.68 ERA. Boasting a winning percentage of .541, Greg Frady holds the school coaching record in his 11th season at the helm of the GSU baseball program. He earned his 500th career victory on Saturday, a 12-4 win over Northern Kentucky.

FACING THE SUN BELT
Georgia State will be the second of four Sun Belt teams that Ole Miss will face this season. The Rebels already took down Arkansas State (Feb. 21) at Swayze Field in the first game of a home-and-home series. Following midweek matchups with the Panthers, the next Sun Belt foe that will come to Oxford is Little Rock (March 28). Then, in the Rebels’ final midweek games of the season, ULM will make the trip northeast for a pair of contests (May 2-3).

ON THE MOUND
The Ole Miss pitching staff has been efficient on the mound this season, leading the SEC in several categories: fewest hits allowed (75), strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.17), strikeouts per nine innings (11.1) and WHIP (1.06).

Stat National Rank SEC Rank
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio         4.17 6th 1st
Strikeouts/9 Innings 11.1 9th 1st
WHIP   1.06 13th 1st
Walks/9 Innings 2.66 24th 2nd



BORTLES NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
In one of the most prestigious tournaments in the country, senior Colby Bortles was named to the all-tournament team for the 2017 Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic. The Oviedo, Florida, native managed the hot corner all weekend long, while hitting .300 at the plate. Against No. 10 Texas Tech, Bortles helped turn a quick double play with the bases loaded to keep the Red Raiders off the scoreboard. The next day, facing No. 1 TCU, he belted a two-run blast over the railroad tracks of Minute Maid Park for his team-leading third home run of the season.

RELAX REBEL NATION
After getting off to a 7-0 start to begin the 2017 season, Ole Miss hit a rough patch last week. The Rebels dropped a midweek game to Memphis before falling to three ranked teams at the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic in Houston, Texas. While a four-game skid may cause some to go into panic mode, losing streaks are part of a long baseball season. In fact, Ole Miss lost four straight at one point in each of the past seven years. In six of those seasons, the Rebels still managed to make the NCAA Tournament, including the 2014 team that made it to the College World Series. The 2005 and 2006 Ole Miss squads, two NCAA Super Regional teams, also battled through four-game losing streaks.

THE YEARLY GAUNTLET
For the third straight weekend, Ole Miss played multiple games against ranked opponents. The Rebels are 6-3 versus ranked teams this season, which includes sweeps of both No. 6 East Carolina and No. 23 UNCW in three-game series at Swayze Field. Last season, the Rebels won 12 games against ranked teams which included series victories over No. 2 Louisville, No. 8 LSU and No. 21 Arkansas. Ole Miss 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. In 2015, the Rebels made the NCAA Tournament after having the nation’s No. 1 strength of schedule.

THE FRESHMEN
With 15 freshmen as part of the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, some of the newest young Rebels are making an impact right away. Ole Miss has started four freshmen in the majority of the early games: Thomas Dillard (LF), Cooper Johnson (C), Grae Kessinger (SS) and Cole Zabowski (1B). Zabowski and Dillard boast two of the top batting averages on the team at .387 and .310, respectively. Meanwhile, Johnson and Kessinger have provided great defense at two of the most important positions on the field.

TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE
Last year, Ole Miss had the luxury of having two closers in lefty Wyatt Short and right-hander Will Stokes. The duo combined for 18 saves in 2016 with Short in the primary role, closing 11 games. After drafted by the Chicago Cubs, Short took his talents to the professional level, and it appeared as if Stokes would become the lone closer on the staff in 2017. However, another Rebel has emerged to join Stokes in the back end of the bullpen. Sophomore Dallas Woolfolk, who’s fastball ranges from 93-95 mph, has been unhittable late in games this year. The Southaven, Mississippi, native has allowed just one baserunner in 8.1 innings spanning five appearances. Along with tallying 11 strikeouts and zero walks, Woolfolk also boasts three saves. Stokes is right behind with two saves as well, and the Rebels’ five saves are tied for a conference best.

GOLSAN GETS GOING
Junior Will Golsan has gotten off to a fast start this season, leading the team in hits (13), runs (9), doubles (4) and total bases. The Columbus, Mississippi, native ranks 12th in the SEC in 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. He also celebrated a birthday on March 6.  

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 9,237 per game to rank second in the nation.

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 637 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, passing longtime Auburn coach Hal Baird earlier this season. 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.

ON THE HORIZON
Following the midweek series with Georgia State, Ole Miss will host Furman (March 10-12) in the final non-conference weekend series before the start of SEC play. All three games will be broadcast live on SECN+ and can be heard on the Ole Miss IMG Sports Network.


 

 

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