No. 8 Ole Miss Baseball Hosts Little Rock

WEDNESDAY - 6:30 p.m.
Ole Miss: LHP Jordan Fowler 
2-0, 2.70 ERA, 3.1 IP
Little Rock: LHP Ethan Daily
0-0, 13.50 ERA, 0.2 IP

Date: Mar. 7, 2018
First Pitch: 6:30 p.m. CT
Location: Oxford, Mississippi
Venue: Swayze Field (10,715)
Dimensions: LF-330, CF-390, RF-330
TV: SEC Network +
     Seth Austin, Play-by-Play
     David Dellucci, Analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
     Richard Cross, Play-by-Play
     Keith Kessinger, Analyst
Series: 17-4, Ole Miss
Last Meeting: March 28, 2017

LHP Jordan Fowler (Ole Miss) | 2-0, 2.70 ERA, 3.1 IP
LHP Ethan Daily (Little Rock) | 0-0, 13.50 ERA, 0.2 IP

• Making his first career start
• Two wins this season in relief of Sunday starter James McArthur
• Has allowed just two hits and one run with 4 Ks in 3.1 IP this season
• Opponent batting average of .154 is 3rd-lowest on the team
• Drafted in 26th round of 2017 MLB Draft by Texas Rangers
• Was 20-2 in high school career, tossing two no-hitters

• The No. 8 Ole Miss baseball team has won three straight after suffering its first loss of the season, 4-3 at Long Beach State.
• Ole Miss and Little Rock will meet for the 22nd time. The Rebels lead the all-time series 17-4.
Mike Bianco's first game as the Rebel head coach was against Little Rock as part of a three-game series to start the 2001 season. The Rebels took Game 1, 5-1, and won the series 2-1.
• The Little Rock Trojans put up a tremendous fight when these two teams met last season, as the Rebels squeaked out a 5-4 win in 10 innings. Michael Fitzsimmons' pinch-hit single served as a walk-off in the victory.
• Through 12 games, the Rebels have outscored their opponents 83-37 with a .301 team batting average and a 2.44 ERA.
•   Ole Miss' weekend rotation of Ryan Rolison, Brady Feigl, and James McArthur each boast an opponent batting average below .215. They've allowed just eight earned runs, 38 hits, and a 57-17 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 51.1 combined innings of work.
•   Closer Dallas Woolfolk highlights a Rebel bullpen that rivals any in the country. Woolfolk leads the SEC and is tied for the NCAA lead with five saves so far this season. He is yet to allow a run.
• Junior Ryan Olenek smacked three doubles in Game 2 against Long Beach State and is among the top 50 players in the nation with five doubles on the year.
• Sophomore Grae Kessinger continues his hot start at the plate with a .362 clip and five extra base hits on the year. His .480 OBP is the best on the team, as are his 17 total hits and 8 RBI. 
• Ole Miss is up to as high as No. 8 (Perfect Game) in this week's national rankings, and is top 12 in four of the rankings that have been relesed so far this week. The Rebels checked in at No. 13 in the season's first RPI rankings.
• The Ole Miss offense had a day in Sunday's Game 3 against Long Beach State. Nine different Rebels had a base hit in the 12-1 win, while 10 Ole Miss players reached home plate. Eight different Rebels drew a walk in the game, while seven had an RBI.

• Split a two-game midweek series at Oklahoma State last week, winning Game 2, 12-6
• Five batters hitting over .300 on the season
• Kale Emshoff leads team with .425 batting average and 10 walks on the season
• Top power hitter is Troy Alexander (.380 BA, 3 HR, 6 2B, 14 RBI)
• Marcus Ragan leads Little Rock with 12 runs scored, as well as 7 SB in nine attempts
• Three Trojans have multiple HR on the year: Alexander (3), Nick Perez (2) and Riley Pittman (2)
• Chase Coker boasts three triples on the season, tying him for 3rd in the nation

Ole Miss owns a 17-4 all-time series lead over Little Rock, including an 11-2 mark in the Mike Bianco Era. The Rebels won the last meeting, 5-4, in 10 innings thanks to a pinch-hit walk-off single by Michael Fitzsimmons. Bianco's first game as the Ole Miss head coach came against Little Rock. The Rebels won 5-1 and went on to take the series 2-1.

Little Rock has two Mississippians on its roster, junior Chase Coker of Batesville and junior Marcus Ragan of Vicksburg. Ragan is also a product of East Mississippi CC, while Coker, as well as junior James Gann, played at Meridian CC. The Trojans' projected starter, Ethan Daily, is a product of Hinds CC. Little Rock freshman Ty Wooton is from Collierville, Tenn., the same hometown as Rebel junior Connor Green.

Redshirt junior closer Dallas Woolfolk continued his dominant start to the 2018 season, picking up his fifth save to preserve a Game 2 win on the road against Long Beach State. It was his first appearance of more than an inning this season. The Southaven native still hasn't allowed a run this season and has given up just four hits in 5.2 innings of work, striking out seven along the way. Woolfolk leads the SEC with his five saves and is tied for the NCAA lead in that category with just five other pitchers from across Division I.

The Ole Miss offense had a day in Sunday's Game 3 against Long Beach State. Nine different Rebels had a base hit in the 12-1 win, while 10 Ole Miss players reached home plate. Eight different Rebels drew a walk in the game, while seven had an RBI.

Junior Ryan Olenek smacked three doubles in five at-bats in Game 2 against Long Beach State, displaying his trademarked shimmy while standing safely at the top of the diamond. Olenek is No. 48 in the NCAA and No. 7 in the SEC with five doubles on the season. Behind Olenek, Ole Miss is ranked 30th in the nation with 25 two-baggers on the year.

The @OMBSBAnalytics crew couldn't set up their Trackman equipment at Long Beach State, but there's no doubt it would've registered some incredible numbers on Chase Cockrell's blast in Game 3. The Rebel junior absolutely destroyed a home run against the Dirtbags, clearing the entire stadium. It was the Rebels' first pinch-hit home run since DJ Miller's blast on May 5, 2017 at No. 5 Florida.

The deep and talented Ole Miss pitching staff boasts one of the nation's best ERAs. At just 2.30 earned runs per game, the Rebels rank 18th in NCAA Division I and third in the Southeastern Conference.

Junior James McArthur has established himself as one of the best Sunday starters in college baseball, maintaining an ERA of just 0.59 through three starts. That's good for No. 54 in the nation and No. 4 in the SEC. The New Braunfels, Texas, native picked up his first win, throwing five scoreless innings to shut down Long Beach State in Game 3.

Three starts, three wins for Brady Feigl. The redshirt junior out of Chesterfield, Missouri, has been as successful as any pitcher in the country, winning each of his first three starts, one of nine players to do so in the SEC and one of 43 in NCAA Division I to accomplish the feat to open the season. Feigl picked up his third win with the deepest start of his Rebel career, going 7.1 innings before giving way to closer Dallas Woolfolk. Feigl's performance in Game 2 at Long Beach State featured five innings in which he retired the Dirtbags three up, three down.

Ole Miss entered the eighth inning in a tight battle with Austin Peay on Tuesday night, but by the end of that inning, the Rebels had the game. Ole Miss exploded for six runs in the eighth inning, including the first career home run for freshman Tyler Keenan. It was one of three home runs hit by the No. 8 Rebels on the day, including two off the bat of sophomore Thomas Dillard, one of which cleared the entire student section in right field. That blast was so well-hit, that the Austin Peay right fielder didn't even turn around to watch it soar over the fence.

Rebel starter Houston Roth turned in a strong performance through 4.2 innings, until the offensive-minded Governors found their timing with five consecutive base hits. Will Stokes came on in relief, allowing just one hit in 2.1 innings, as well as zero runs. Will Ethridge came on to preserve a 5-4 lead in the eighth inning and ended up with a perfect two-inning save, retiring six straight batters to become the first Rebel not named Dallas Woolfolk to earn a save this season.​​​​​​​

The Rebels flew all the way across the country for their toughest test yet at 2017 NCAA Regional host and defending Big West Champion Long Beach State, and they came out with their third series win of the year.

It was hard enough even getting out to Long Beach. After bussing to Memphis and flying to Atlanta, Ole Miss was delayed sitting on the tarmac for more than two hours at the ATL airport. A four-and-a-half-hour flight followed making for a day of travel approaching 16 hours.

Then Game 1 was rained out on Friday as part of an uncharacteristically cold and rainy weekend in Southern California. When Ole Miss final got going, it was out of sorts, falling victim to the Dirtbags' aggressive baserunning and scrappy small-ball style of play, falling 4-3. The Rebels were challenged vehemently yet again in Game 2, but behind outstanding pitching performances from Brady Feigl and Dallas Woolfolk, they flipped the script in a 4-3 victory.

In Game 3, the Rebel bats finally came alive, exploding for 12 runs on 14 hits in an overwhelming 12-1 victory to improve to 10-1 on the year and secure a third consecutive series victory to start the 2018 campaign.

Murray State stunned Ole Miss early, but the Rebels spoke the final word on Tuesday night.

The Racers jumped out to a four-run lead thanks to a first-inning home run at Swayze Field. From there, starter Houston Roth settled in and kept the Racers off the board for the next four innings.

Ole Miss plated one run in the fourth before exploding for four runs in the fifth to take the lead. Sophomore Thomas Dillard ripped one down the right field line to clear the loaded bases and tie the game at four. Chase Cockrell then sent Dillard home on a single to right to give the Rebels the lead.

Murray State tied it up in the seventh and reclaimed the lead in the eighth. A Ryan Olenek single scored Grae Kessinger in the bottom half of the eighth, setting up for a thrilling finale. Dillard singled to start the inning before the Racers loaded the bases on a pair of walks. Coach Mike Bianco sent Anthony Servideo on to pinch hit, but the freshman didn't have to swing the bat, as a wild pitch allowed Dillard to score the game-winning run, 7-6, and push Ole Miss to 8-0 for the fifth time in school history.

The Rebels kept their perfect season alive with a 3-0, weather-affected weekend against Tulane. The two sides got to the fifth in Friday's opener before rain set in and pushed the resumption of that game to Saturday, forcing a doubleheader. The Rebels outscored the Green Wave 20-8, and used a bevy of strong performances to do so.

Starter Ryan Rolison picked up where he left off from a week ago with a nine-strikeout performance as the bullpen held off a late 3-run rally in the eighth to seal a 5-4 victory. In game two, Brady Feigl was solid with six Ks in six innings, as Grae Kessinger and Ryan Olenek led the way from the top of the order with a combined four RBI. In Sunday's finale that was also played under overcast skies and chilly temperatures, James McArthur was once again efficient with just one earned run allowed off 5.1 IP, but freshman Jordan Fowler was again the beneficiary earning his second victory in relief. At the plate, Thomas Dillard and Cooper Johnson both went yard, while Will Golsan drove in a pair in a big at-bat to start a rally in the sixth.

Behind big outings from Nick Fortes and Grae Kessinger, the Rebels survived a ninth-inning scare to take down Memphis, 8-6, in their first midweek of the season. The duo combined for seven of the team's 13 hits, highlighted by Fortes' two home runs and six RBI. Kessinger had a career-high four-hit performance.

Houston Roth garnered his first career start on the mound and earned the victory, while Austin Miller, Greer Holston, Will Stokes and Dallas Woolfolk finished it out to hold of the Tigers' three runs over the final two frames.

Following his dominating performance on opening night, Rebel Baseball LHP Ryan Rolison was named SEC Pitcher of the Week. The southpaw threw 5.0 scoreless innings with a career-high 12 strikeouts in a 7-3 season-opening win. He led all SEC pitchers on the weekend with his 12 strikeouts, which were the most for any Ole Miss pitcher in the past two years, and the most in a season-opener since 2008 (Lance Lynn). The conference honor marks the second of Rolison's young career, after he picked up SEC Freshman of the Week honors on April 24 last season. He's the third pitcher in the last two seasons to earn pitcher of the week, after David Parkinson (March 13) and James McArthur (May 1) did it in 2017.

The Rebels were as advertised in opening weekend, sweeping Winthrop behind the arms of a strong pitching staff, and scattered production at the plate from old and new faces alike. At the plate, Ole Miss tallied 17 runs on 30 hits as nine different Rebels had multiple hits on the weekend. Eight of the 30 were extra-base knocks, all of which came from eight different players.

On the mound, the Rebels were charged with only one earned run allowing only 16 hits and five total runs. Starters Ryan Rolison, Brady Feigl and James McArthur combined for no earned runs allowed and 25 strikeouts, allowing only 11 hits in the three combined starts. The bullpen was effective as well, combining for 14 Ks in 11 innings with only five hits surrendered.

Ole Miss will play at least nine games on national television in 2018. The Rebels will play on SEC Network five times, and three times on ESPNU, with one other game featured on SEC Network's Bases Loaded Coverage. Five games away from Swayze Field will be on national TV, and the Rebels' premier facility will be featured a trio of times to a national audience. In addition, all other home games will be available through WatchESPN and the ESPN app as part of the SEC Network + digital steaming platform.

Ole Miss is up to as high as No. 8 (Perfect Game) in the national polls. The Rebels' strong showing on the West Coast saw them vault 10 positions from No. 19 to No. 9 in the USA Today/ESPN poll. The Rebels have held strong at No. 9 in the D1Baseball poll, while also coming in at No. 12 in the Baseball America poll for the second straight week. In the first RPI release of the season, Ole Miss checked in at No. 13.

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.

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.

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.

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.

It's no secret that sophomore LHP Ryan Rolison is highly touted in the 2018 MLB Draft conversations, and the publications have proved it, slotting the Freshman All-American very high in draft projections. D1Baseball tabbed Rolison the No. 2 overall draft prospect, while Perfect Game ranked him No. 7.






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